JapanGov Weekly

Monday, April 17, 2017

Press Occasion on the Telephone Talk with President Trump of the United States

Cabinet Secretariat, Sunday, April 09, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at the Prime Minister's Office.

In regard to his telephone talk with the Honorable Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister said,

"I have just held a summit meeting over the telephone with President Trump. While the President had a tight schedule with our talk taking place right after the U.S.-China summit meeting, we were able to have a frank exchange of views on Syria and North Korea for approximately 45 minutes.
I stated that I highly valued the strong commitment that President Trump has been making to the peace and security of the U.S. allies and the world. Concerning North Korea, we fully shared the view that Japan and the United States are paying very close attention to China's response, that it is important for Japan and the United States to cooperate in dealing with the issue of North Korea and to work together closely, and that solidarity among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea is essential."


Press Occasion on North Korea’s Missile Launch

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, April 05, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at the Prime Minister's Office.

With regard to North Korea's missile launch incident, the Prime Minister said,

"Today, North Korea once again conducted a ballistic missile launch. This is a grave provocation to our security and a clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and it is totally unacceptable. The Government of Japan strongly condemns it. Following this press occasion, I will immediately hold a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC).

Further acts of provocation are a conceivable possibility. The Government of Japan will take every measure to protect the lives and assets of the people in all potential circumstances, while working closely together with the United States and the Republic of Korea."


Press Occasion on the Situation in Syria

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, April 07, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at the Prime Minister's Office.

In regard to the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, the Prime Minister said,

"Many innocent civilians became the victims of chemical weapons in Syria once again. The entire international community was deeply shocked to witness the horrible tragedy where even young children were killed. The act is extremely inhumane and also violates United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
The Government of Japan supports the determination of the U.S. Government that it will never allow the spread and use of chemical weapons. We understand that the United States took the action in order to prevent further aggravation of the situation.
While the threat of weapons of mass destructions has become increasingly serious in East Asia as well, Japan highly values President Trump's strong commitment to maintenance of the international order and to the peace and security of its allies and the world.
Japan will steadily continue to play its role for the peace and stability of the world while cooperating with the international community including the United States."


Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the fifth meeting in 2017 of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy at the Prime Minister's Office.

At the meeting, discussions took place on revitalizing consumption and social security reform.

Based on the discussions, the Prime Minister said,

"First, we had a discussion on revitalizing consumption. Influences on changes in consumption trends include young people's income instability and changes in consumption structure. We heard the views of private sector members that along with continuously expanding disposable income, latent demand should be actualized.

To that end, in addition to requesting the business community to continue to implement improvement of employment conditions, we will revitalize consumption by advancing workstyle reform, such as by increasing the minimum wage and submitting a bill to realize equal pay for equal work.

Second, we had a discussion on social security reform. We heard the views of private sector members that in regions where per capita medical costs are high, there is a trend for nursing care costs to also be high, and that along with advancing health promotion and preventive healthcare, integrated reform of medical and nursing care should be carried out. In response, Minister Shiozaki stated that he would fundamentally strengthen insurer functions and prefectural governance through data utilization and incentive reforms.

In 2025, members of Japan's baby-boomer generation will all be over 75 years old, and it is expected that medical and nursing care needs will undergo major changes. That is just eight years from now, and we must ensure that each patient in every region can receive appropriate medical and nursing care in an appropriate place.

As the first step toward achieving this, the formulation of regional medical schemes, including the prospective number of hospital beds required in each region, was completed in all prefectures by the end of March, thus clarifying the future vision.

Next comes the stage of implementation, and we must determine the schedule and measures toward realizing these schemes. In doing so, it is important to advance measures based on utilizing data to the maximum extent possible, making measures sustainable and effective over the medium and long terms, and ensuring that this becomes a model for other Asian countries.

Centered on Minister Shiozaki and taking into consideration the views of the private sector members, I would like you to consider and implement with a sense of urgency effective measures such as the horizontal roll-out of best practices of municipalities, and measures for the smooth conversion of hospital beds to meet needs."


Ministerial Council on Renewable Energy, Hydrogen and Related Issues

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the first meeting of the Ministerial Council on Renewable Energy, Hydrogen and Related Issues at the Prime Minister's Office.

During the meeting, discussion took place on measures to accelerate the introduction of renewable energy and to realize a hydrogen-based society.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

"Japan will be the first in the world to realize a hydrogen-based society. I request that relevant ministers formulate the basic strategy within this year so that the Government can work as one to achieve this.

In particular, I would like you to create a framework to accelerate the establishment of hydrogen stations, in order to promote the use of fuel cell vehicles to a scale of over 40,000 by 2020, and also conduct comprehensive inspections that take into consideration comparisons of overseas regulations and domestic gas stations, so as to streamline regulations on hydrogen stations.

The key to building international hydrogen supply chains, from production through to transport and consumption, is hydrogen power generation that creates large-scale and stable hydrogen demand. Toward the building of supply chains and the full-scale introduction of hydrogen power generation, I ask that you formulate a common scenario that will form the basis of collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

In regard to renewable energy, we will promote its introduction even more strongly than before. I would like the relevant ministers to work together to steadily implement the action plan determined today."


Visit to Fukushima Prefecture

Cabinet Secretariat, Saturday, April 08, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Fukushima Prefecture.

The Prime Minister visited a livestock farm in Naraha Town, Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture. The Prime Minister then attended the "Reconstruction Gathering" in Tomioka Town, Futaba District and said in his address,

"I am delighted that the 'Reconstruction Gathering 2017' in Tomioka Town is being held today on such a grand scale. I want to express my heartfelt respect for the hard work that everyone involved has put in to realize today's gathering.
It has been six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. At last evacuation orders have been lifted in Tomioka Town, too, with the exception of difficult-to-return-zones. This is the first step toward full-fledged reconstruction.
It is now possible to walk through Yonomori for cherry blossom viewing. What was taken for granted in the past has become possible again for the first time in seven years. I am overjoyed. While no more than about 30% of the blossoms are in bloom still, I hope that by this evening a few more will have blossomed.
Today, I was able to walk to this point with the Mayor. I really wish that I could walk along the rows of cherry trees out to the end. I believe this is also the true wish of the people of Tomioka. We will pool our efforts to make the people's wish come true as soon as possible. The Government will work with everyone here to further accelerate reconstruction. I want to conclude my remarks with the promise that we will exert every effort for reconstruction so that the people of Tomioka can again feel glad that they were born here and they live here. Congratulations on this splendid gathering today."

Subsequently, the Prime Minister visited a shopping area in Namie Town, Futaba District, and conversed with an Obori-soma-yaki ceramics business. Afterwards, the Prime Minister visited a robot and drone class in Minamisoma City.

After his visit, the Prime Minister said,

"In Fukushima Prefecture, on April 1, almost all of the areas where evacuation orders were issued due to the nuclear accident saw those orders lifted, with the exception of difficult-to-return-zones. I was able to hear about how people have moved forward one step at a time, working hard to overcome various difficulties through today.
Raw milk shipments have started again in Naraha, and in Tomioka, the restoration of the rows of cherry trees was being celebrated. In Namie, shopping areas are beginning to regain their vitality. Children are the future of reconstruction. Here in the Odaka area of Minamisoma, the elementary school has reopened, and children were learning how to operate drones and robots.
In 2020, a portion of events related to an international robotics competition will be held here in Minamisoma. I want to make it so that robots become synonymous with Minamisoma.
We will continue to work to achieve the reconstruction of Fukushima and the reconstruction of Tohoku by making maximum efforts towards securing housing, 'nariwai,' or occupations and livelihoods that sustain people's daily lives, town development, and psychological care, while paying close attention to those affected by the disaster."

In addition, the Prime Minister said the following about the way forward for support efforts.

"The lives of many people were greatly affected and changed by the nuclear accident in Fukushima. The Government will collaborate with people in local municipalities, including Fukushima Prefecture, to offer support tailored to the situation of each person. In difficult-to-return-zones, we will also steadily move forward in a step-wise fashion with efforts from reconstruction hubs. Concerning the issue of the statements made by Minister Imamura, the minister has already apologized, and I also want to offer my sincere apology as well.
We will continue to move forward with reconstruction while paying close attention to the feelings of the people of Fukushima and those affected by the disaster. This policy of the Abe Cabinet has not changed at all. There can be no revitalization of Tohoku without the reconstruction of Fukushima. Furthermore, there can be no revitalization of Japan without the reconstruction of Tohoku. The Government will continue to exert every effort for reconstruction under that basic policy."


Japan-Sri Lanka Summit Meeting and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hosted a summit meeting and other events with the Hon. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, at the Prime Minister's Office.

The two leaders attended a salute and guard of honor ceremony, followed by a summit meeting. Thereafter, the leaders attended a signing ceremony and held a joint press announcement.


Meeting with the King and Queen of Spain and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, April 06, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with His Majesty King Felipe VI of the Kingdom of Spain and Her Majesty Queen Letizia of the Kingdom of Spain at Akasaka Palace State Guest House, and then attended an exchange of signed documents.

Lastly, the Prime Minister hosted a dinner banquet and said the following in his address,

"I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, who are visiting Japan as state guests.

Tokyo became the first location in Japan to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom this year, as if to warmly greet the visit of Their Majesties. I am very pleased to welcome Their Majesties during such perfect timing as the full bloom of the cherry blossoms.

In Japan, from childhood we learn in textbooks that more than 460 years ago, Saint Francis Xavier brought Christianity to Japan and the Keicho Mission led by Tsunenaga Hasekura visited Spain.

In my home prefecture of Yamaguchi, St. Xavier Memorial Park is located at the site of the first church in Japan, where St. Xavier himself once resided, and there is also a commemorative monument in the park.

They say that Japan is the second most popular country for flamenco after Spain. Passionate flamenco dancing captivates the people of Japan. There are more than 650 flamenco dance schools in Japan, where more than 80,000 people are passionately learning about the allure of flamenco.

Recently, dishes cooked "al ajillo" have been experiencing a major boom in Japan. The other day, I had the opportunity to stop over in Madrid on my way home from South America and feasted upon delicious al ajillo dishes and the world's best paella.

We had a discussion about where to stop to refuel the plane on the trip back to Japan from Argentina. Because everyone wanted to eat delicious food we decided to stopover in Spain, where we ate al ajillo dishes.

When we speak of Spain, it is a must to mention fine art. People of the world are moved at the sight of artwork and buildings produced by the many world-renowned Spanish artists such as Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, and Antoni Gaudí. An exhibition on Diego Velázquez is scheduled to take place next year in Japan to commemorate the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I very much look forward to being able to see the masterpieces of Velázquez here in Japan.

In this manner, Spain is very familiar to and well-liked by the people of Japan. To this evening's banquet we have invited many leaders who are active in a wide range of fields for fostering friendship with Spain, including politics, the economy, culture, academia, and sports.

It is thanks to all of you that the present relationship between Japan and Spain exists. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for your many years of contributions and also to request your continued contributions for the further development of Japan-Spain relations.

Earlier, Queen Letizia commented about how today she could finally enjoy Japanese cuisine, so I think it is best not to have a long speech.

I would now like to raise a toast with the wish that this visit to Japan by Their Majesties will add a new chapter to the more than 460 years of history of our bilateral exchange.

I would like to express my heartfelt wishes for Their Majesties' continued health and success, and for the further development of the relationship between Japan and Spain. Salud."


Courtesy Call from the ASEAN Economic Ministers and Others

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, April 06, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call at the Prime Minister's Office from the economic ministers of the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and H.E. Mr. Le Luong Minh, Secretary-General of ASEAN.


Opening of Japan House São Paulo

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, April 04, 2017

1. The first opening ceremony for one of the Japan Houses that will serve as Japan’s new communication hubs overseas is to be held in São Paulo on April 30.

2. The opening ceremony is scheduled to be attended by Mr. Kengo Kuma, the architect who oversaw the design supervision, as well as others involved in the project such as Mr. Kenya Hara, the general producer for the project as a whole. In addition, coordination is taking place toward having representatives attend from both Japan and Brazil.

3. After the opening ceremony is held on April 30, an “opening week” will take place over the following week, with various events scheduled to be held locally.

4. Additionally, a concert featuring prominent artists from Japan and Brazil is also being planned as an event for enlivening the Japan House opening.

(Reference) Japan Houses Japan Houses are new communication hubs founded on the concept of conveying a message of “Japan contributes to enrich the world” by providing a one-stop service where users can obtain a range of information about Japan in one go, establishing restaurants, shops and other facilities, achieving communication through a Japan-wide effort that proactively utilizes private-sector dynamism and regional appeal, and furthermore by drawing on the expertise of specialists. Japan Houses are scheduled to be established in London, São Paulo and Los Angeles with the goal of increasing the range of people friendly to and knowledgeable about Japan by disseminating Japan’s varied appeal.