"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Following His Attendance at the G20 Summit Meeting in Saint Petersburg and the 125th International Olympic Committee Session

[Place] Emperador Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina
[Date] September 7, 2013
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

1. Opening Statement

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE:

Tokyo has been chosen as the venue to host the 2020 Olympic Games. I believe that we successfully demonstrated together with the people of Japan that when we all work together, our dreams come true.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the members of the International Olympic Committee who supported Tokyo to host the Games and, indeed, to everyone around the world who cheered Tokyo on.

I also wish to commend heartily the valiant efforts made in the campaigns conducted by both Madrid and Istanbul. We were in a truly neck-and-neck competition right down to the very final moments.

In addition, I would like to express my deep respect for the efforts made by Mr. Inose, Governor of Tokyo; Mr. Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee; the many currently active athletes, and all the other people involved, who have given their utmost to have the Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Tokyo. Were it not for your great efforts, I feel that we would not have succeeded in bringing the Games to Tokyo.

Our real work still lies ahead. We will move into preparations right away to ensure that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games are absolutely brought to a successful conclusion.

The very finest athletes from around the world will be coming to Tokyo. As the host country, it is our duty to enable all these athletes to realize their full potential and deliver their best athletic performances.

We will also work hard so that people all around the world will regard our efforts highly, saying, "Choosing Tokyo on that day was the right decision."

It is a thrill for me even to imagine Japan's athletes being active in the limelight on the major global stage of the Olympics and Paralympics. I would like them to welcome their fellow competitors from all over the world in Japan's spirit of fair play and sportsmanship.

But it is not only athletes that will arrive. Large numbers of overseas visitors will come to visit Japan. It is also incumbent upon us as the host nation to welcome them with the greatest possible hospitality.

I believe we have just grasped the ideal opportunity to have people realize, "Japan is really marvelous."

When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, we received support from around the world towards reconstruction. I would like to express once more our appreciation for that. And it feels that this decision to have Tokyo host the Games is like hearing a voice of encouragement saying, "Gambare, Japan! Gambare, Tohoku! Keep working hard and give it all you've got!"

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games we will emphatically send out a message to people the world over, showing them a Japan that has accomplished laudably its reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and a Japan that is active on the world's center stage. I consider this to be the very best way to show our feelings of appreciation towards the decision to have Tokyo host these Games.

2. Questions and Answers

REPORTER (HARA, NHK): I would like to offer my congratulations on the decision to hold the Games in Tokyo. What do you believe was the deciding factor in Tokyo's successful bid to host the Games, and what issues need to be tackled going forward? Also, it is said that the decision to hold the Games in Tokyo will have an economic ripple effect of some three trillion yen. How do you see this impacting your decision on whether or not to raise the consumption tax rate? Also, a variety of economic indicators have been improving recently. What are your thoughts at the present time about raising the consumption tax rate?

PRIME MINISTER ABE: I believe that our success is truly the result of the people of Japan and the entire nation coming together as one. Moreover, I think that this result means that we have been granted a tremendous opportunity for Tokyo and for Japan to shine at the very center of the world stage.

Bringing the Olympics and the Paralympics to Tokyo will impart a positive impact on a wide range of fields, including infrastructure development and tourism. We will also work to meet the expectations that we will spread the Olympic movement across the globe and host the Olympics in a safe and reliable manner. I consider these to be the issues for us to handle.

Next, as for the impacts on the economy, I want to dispel the deflation that has dragged on for 15 years and the economy oriented towards contraction, using the decision to hold the Olympics in Tokyo as the spark that triggers changes. Right now we have succeeded in attaining a major objective. We will now move forward aiming at this objective and reaching for this dream. It is this that will lead to truly changing the "retreating" mentality that we have had until now.

As for the consumption tax rate, there has been no change in my position. I will carefully examine the economic situation and make a decision this autumn after giving it thorough consideration.

REPORTER (SOLTIS, BUENOS AIRES HERALD): First of all, let me congratulate you on Tokyo's selection as the host of the 2020 Olympic Games. At the G20 summit meeting, the circumstances were such that not all of the leaders had the opportunity to converse with each other, but you spoke for a short time with President Xi Jinping of China while there. How do you expect this will impact the dispute (sic) with China surrounding the Senkaku Islands? Around the world, this dispute (sic) is seen as a source of needless tension in a region that is already facing issues with North Korea. I would like you to discuss Japan's stance on the Senkaku Islands.

PRIME MINISTER ABE: I would like to begin my answer by expressing my sincere appreciation to the people of Buenos Aires and to the people of Argentina for so warmly welcoming the Japanese delegation at this IOC Session.

At the G20, I held talks with a number of leaders. I had a bilateral summit meeting with the President of Argentina as well as bilateral summits with the leaders of the United States and Russia, among many others.

As for the Senkaku Islands, it is absolutely clear both historically and in light of international law that the islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan. Indeed, the islands are under the valid control of the Government of Japan. Protecting the sovereignty of the nation's territory is a natural duty for the government, and we will address the issue in a resolute and level-headed manner.

At the same time, Japan's relationship with China is one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships. As a responsible nation in the region, Japan intends to advance dialogue with China taking a broad perspective, in accordance with a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests." The door for dialogue is always open.

REPORTER (OTANI, THE SANKEI SHIMBUN): Congratulations on the selection of Tokyo to host the Olympics. Mr. Prime Minister, before you came here to Buenos Aires, at the G20 summit meeting held in Russia, you exchanged courtesies with President Xi Jinping of China and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea. In the weeks to come, there will be a series of international meetings, including the United Nations General Assembly and the APEC summit. Please share with us your thoughts on how you will aim to make bilateral summit meetings with them a reality.

PRIME MINISTER ABE: As I explained to President Xi Jinping while at the G20, I believe we should return to the starting point of a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" and then develop Japan-China bilateral relations from there. I look forward to the Chinese side also taking this same kind of position. The door for dialogue is always open on the Japan side. This is our position.

For Japan, the Republic of Korea is an important neighboring country with which we share fundamental values and interests. While there have also been some challenging issues between Japan and the ROK until now, I intend for Japan to continue to build up its communication and foster cooperative relations with the ROK, taking a broader perspective.

REPORTER (VITTAR, CLAR├ŹN [ARGENTINA]): First of all, please accept my congratulations on the selection of Tokyo.

As for my question, I would like to ask how you will resolve the issue of the contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Also, in Japan, which is poorly endowed in energy resources, will you use other types of energy from now to replace nuclear energy?

PRIME MINISTER ABE: First of all, with regard to health-related problems, I will state in the most emphatic and unequivocal terms that there have been no problems until now, nor are there any at present, nor will there be in the future.

Furthermore, the government has already decided on a program that will resolve the contaminated water issue in a manner that is both meticulous and exhaustive, and execution of this program is already underway. I myself will take responsibility in ensuring the execution of this program.

As for our energy policies, we will continue to formulate energy policies that also incorporate the standpoints of stable energy supply and lower energy costs. Going forward, we will reduce the proportion of our energy supply that comes from nuclear power.

In order to do so, over roughly the next three years, we will accelerate to the greatest possible extent the widespread use of renewable energies and the promotion of energy conservation. We will make decisions on the restarting of nuclear power plants using the most stringent safety standards anywhere in the world.