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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 29, 2020 (PM)

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

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

REPORTER: At the Monetary Policy Meeting held today, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided to maintain the current large-scale monetary easing measures, and its assistance to support the financing of firms in response to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). At the same time, the BOJ also revised downward its projections from the July Outlook Report with regard to the price increase rate and GDP growth rate for this fiscal year. What is the Government’s view on these decisions taken by the BOJ?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OKADA: We understand that, in response to the impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the BOJ decided to continue its measures to support financing mainly of firms and maintain stability in financial markets. The Government hopes that the BOJ will continue to implement necessary measures accordingly, such as the response to COVID-19, as they have to date, to overcome deflation and achieve sustainable economic growth under collaboration between the Government and the BOJ.
REPORTER: Today the cumulative number of infected persons in Japan exceeded 100,000. Could I ask for a comment from the Government on how it views this figure?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OKADA: Although the epidemiological situation in Japan in terms of the number of new cases had remained stable for a time, since October, there has been a slight upward trend. In terms of clusters of infection, which are a factor in increasing the number of cases, it has been assessed that the characteristics of each cluster are becoming more diverse and the cases are being widespread, as we have seen new cases emerging such as at restaurants or workplaces in addition to entertainment districts in local cities. Regarding future countermeasures, while taking into consideration the emergency proposal from the subcommittee (on COVID-19 countermeasures), the Government intends to provide information that is easy to understand for the public, such as the scenes with high risk of infection and tips to enjoy dining while reducing such risks, and work on securing testing and medical-treatment structures. Furthermore, the Government has submitted a draft bill to the current Diet session concerning the development of structures to implement vaccinations against COVID-19 and relevant matters, and intends to secure sufficient vaccines for the entire population of Japan by the first half of next year. The Government believes that it is possible to continue socioeconomic activities while minimizing the development of severe symptoms and deaths as much as possible, by efficiently implementing our countermeasures based on experiences. Prime Minister Suga also mentioned in his policy speech that we must avoid an explosive outbreak seen in other countries at all cost. We are therefore asking the people of Japan to thoroughly implement basic infection prevention measures for avoiding the 3Cs (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact setting), and also other measures including avoiding environments where people have to raise their voices, wearing masks when in public spaces indoors, observing social distancing, and taking care to fully ventilate enclosed spaces. In this way, we seek to balance the prevention of the spread of infections and socio-economic activities.
REPORTER: […] Tomorrow will mark the second anniversary of the ruling by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Korea, ordering Japanese companies to pay compensation to the plaintiffs in a case that concerned former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. To date, no substantial progress has been made towards resolving this situation, while the seizure of the assets of Japanese companies and other measures are being taken. Could you tell us the Government’s view of the current situation and what efforts will be made with a view to achieving a breakthrough in the impasse?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OKADA: As has been stated on repeated occasions to date, the ruling by the Supreme Court of the ROK and related judicial measures concerning former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula are a clear breach of international law. It is extremely regrettable that even though, as you noted, two years have now passed since the ruling by the Supreme Court of the ROK, the situation has not been resolved. The Government will therefore continue to strongly press the ROK to present a solution that is acceptable to Japan. As you are probably aware, I understand that Japan-ROK Director-General level talks were recently held. I hear that a press announcement is due to be made shortly, so I would ask you to refer to that announcement for further details. My understanding is that during the talks a frank exchange of views took place on various issues, including that of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula.
REPORTER: […] As you have yourself noted, two years have now passed without any progress being made on this issue. To date Japan has pressed the ROK to take actions to remedy this breach, but it appears to be the case that such an approach has not led to any resolution. Could you tell us if the Government intends to take a different approach, or seek out a new method of resolving this issue?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY OKADA: That is related to actual diplomatic exchanges and I would like to refrain from touching on the details. However, while asserting our recognition that the cause of the issue lies with the ROK, what the Government must continue to do is to call strongly on the ROK to swiftly present a solution that is acceptable to Japan.

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