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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 27, 2020 (PM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

REPORTER: […] In Hokkaido, the number of patients is increasing as more than 40 new cases were confirmed for five consecutive days as of yesterday, with Sapporo City reporting record high infections. Also, Okinawa has continued to record the nation’s highest number of newly confirmed cases per 100,000 last week. How does the Government see the current infection situation in Hokkaido and Okinawa vis-à-vis the Go to Travel Campaign?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: We are aware that more than 40 new cases were confirmed in Hokkaido for five consecutive days, and that yesterday, Sapporo City confirmed 46 new cases, its highest number ever. The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare confirmed with Hokkaido Government , that no cluster of infections was directly related to the Go to Travel Campaign. We are seeing the increase of new cases in response to the emergence of sporadic cluster infections in places such as dining venues with staff who entertain guests , in particular Sapporo City. We are aware that last week, the Governor of Hokkaido stated during his press conference that, the prefecture’s alert level is currently in Stage 1, the lowest of the five stages of alert , and the situation does not require heightening, taking into account the impacts on the medical treatment structures and other considerations. With regard to the number of infections in Okinawa that you have just mentioned, 38 new cases were confirmed on October 22, and the one-week average exceeded 30 cases according to the information I have at hand, while it is slightly outdated. The number of cases is rising in Yaeyama and Miyakojima, along with the main island. All in all, while the factors increasing infections and those decreasing infections are still counterbalanced with each other nationwide as a whole, some areas are experiencing such increasing trends, as I mentioned. Therefore, taking into consideration such trends, the Government considers it necessary to engage in socioeconomic activities, while thoroughly implementing measures to prevent infections and respond to the situation faced by the medical treatment structure.
REPORTER: Japan has set a long-term target to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 26% compared to the FY2013 level by FY2030 . Will this mid-term target be revised now that the Prime Minister pledged yesterday to reduce GHG emissions to net-zero  by 2050? If so, could you please tell us the schedule for this?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: The Government will review the FY2030 reduction target in a manner that is consistent with the revision of the ideal energy mix, and aims for aspiring figures to reflect further ambitious efforts . This month, the Government has begun discussions for revising the Strategic Energy Plan , including the handling of the energy mix. We also started working on revising the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures  in September of this year and aim to have it revised before COP26 in November of next year. We will move forward with these discussions, taking into account the new target of realizing carbon neutrality by 2050 announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.
REPORTER: […] During today’s telephone talk with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres , I understand the Prime Minister stated that towards COP26, Japan intends to accelerate the “virtuous cycle of environment and growth” through innovation, and to continue to lead the international community in order to realize a decarbonized society in line with the Paris Agreement . Could you please share with us the actions that Japan will take to lead the international community? How will Japan engage or coordinate with the United States, which has notified its withdrawal from the agreement, or China, which has pledged to aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Prime Minister Suga held a telephone talk with UN Secretary-General Guterres from around 8:45 a.m. for approximately 10 minutes today. This telephone talk was held at the request of Secretary-General Guterres, who wished to talk with the Prime Minister regarding the 2050 carbon neutrality initiative he announced in his policy speech. During the talk, Prime Minister Suga stated that he had declared that Japan will aim to realize a decarbonized society by reducing GHG emissions to zero as a whole by 2050  in his policy speech. Prime Minister Suga also announced that Japan will participate in the Climate Ambition Alliance, which is promoted by Secretary-General Guterres. In return, Secretary-General Guterres stated that he sincerely welcomes, highly appreciates, and fully supports the courageous decision presented in the speech . Prime Minister Suga also stated that towards COP26, which is to be held next fiscal year, Japan intends to accelerate the “virtuous cycle of environment and growth” through innovation, and to continue to lead the international community in order to realize a decarbonized society in line with the Paris Agreement. Secretary-General Guterres expressed his reassurance and appreciation for Japan’s leadership. In addition, Prime Minister Suga stated that human security is threatened by COVID-19 and that Japan will continue to cooperate with the UN to promote Universal Health Coverage and to support the global response to COVID-19.  Prime Minister Suga and Secretary-General Guterres confirmed that they will continue to work together . Thus, they held a very meaningful exchange of views. Climate change is a global issue that must be addressed by the entire international community. It is first and foremost important to steadily execute the Paris Agreement. The United States remains the world’s second largest emitter of GHGs. It is also a country that has introduced and employs a variety of cutting-edge technologies produced through innovation in the environmental sector. Japan intends to continue to make proactive efforts to tackle climate change in cooperation with the United States and other countries.

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