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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 30, 2020 (AM)

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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: […] Yesterday, a Director-General level consultation was held with the Republic of Korea and, I believe, both sides confirmed that the two governments will communicate with each other on the issue of the liquidation of assets of Japanese companies pertaining to the lawsuit brought by former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. At the same time, I assume that both sides maintained their respective positions and the situation has not been changed. How does the Government view the outcome of these talks? In addition, it appears that at this consultation, both sides exchanged their views on issues such as export controls on semiconductor materials and on the discharge of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Could you tell us about the Government’s intention to approach from the Japanese side by visiting the ROK at this timing, barely a month and a half after the inauguration of the Suga administration?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SAKAI: This consultation was held as a follow-up of the exchange made between the leaders of both countries at the Japan-ROK Summit Telephone Talk, which was held recently. The Government sees the consultation as meaningful to the extent that an in-person dialogue between the Director-Generals in charge was held for the first time since this past February and both sides exchanged their candid views on various issues between the two countries, in particular, the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. In his policy speech, Prime Minister Suga stated that in order to restore sound Japan-ROK relations, we strongly urge the ROK, based on Japan's principled positions, to take appropriate actions, and the Director-General level consultation held yesterday was a part of such efforts. You also asked about the timing of this consultation. It was held based on the agreement between the two leaders to communicate with each other at an official level at the recent Japan-ROK Summit Telephone Talk. Taking the opportunity of the resumption of cross-border travel between the two countries through Business Track, it was held at such a timing. Also, the summit telephone talk was held on the request of the ROK and, while the consultation was at an official-level, the Japanese side visited Seoul in return.
REPORTER: […] The total unemployment rate for September, which has been announced today, stands at 3.0 percent. It is the second month for the unemployment rate to stay at the level of 3.0 percent or over. In addition, the ratio of active job openings to applicants for regular employment stood at 1.03, declining for nine consecutive months. These figures show, I believe, the severe situation surrounding employment. I ask for the Government`s view on these figures and the measures that you plan to implement.
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SAKAI: The Government recognizes that the situation surrounding employment shows, as you have noted, a severe situation. We consider it necessary to continue to monitor closely, or even more closely, the impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on employment such as the increasing number of regions where the ratio of active job openings to applicants for regular employment has dropped below 1.0. In order to protect employment and ensure business continuity, the Government will continue implementing various measures, including the Sustainability Subsidy (Subsidy Program for Sustaining Businesses) of up to 2 million yen, as well as the Employment Adjustment Subsidies and the provision of interest-free unsecured loans up to a maximum of 40 million yen. In terms of support for people who have unavoidably lost their jobs, we will provide careful and attentive support that responds to the situation in which the jobseekers find themselves.
REPORTER: […] You have just referred to Employment Adjustment Subsidies. Could you tell us about the state of considerations concerning the extension of such special measures beyond the end of this year? Also, if the measures are extended, it is being reported by some press outlets that the Government would include the fiscal resources for such measures into the third supplementary budget. Could you please share the Government’s views on that point?
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SAKAI: As you are already aware, the duration of those special measures has been extended to the end of December this year. The Government would like to decide accordingly whether to extend beyond the end date, based on the latest employment situation and other relevant factors. With regard to the third supplementary budget, the Government has not started detailed considerations. However, it is the Government’s policy to continue to monitor economic developments in Japan and overseas, including the economic impact of COVID-19, and take the necessary measures without hesitation.

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