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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, August 20, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Senkaku Islands

REPORTER: Yesterday, ten Japanese nationals landed on the Senkaku Islands, could you please share with us how the Government views this incident, and how you are dealing with it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to establish exactly what happened. Approximately 150 Japanese nationals, including members of the League of Diet Members on Action to Protect Japan's Sovereign Territory and other members of the Diet, boarded 20 fishing vessels and other vessels and traveled へれo waters near Uotsuri Island of the Senkaku Islands. From around 6:30 AM on Sunday, August 19, this group of people fished together and participated in other actives in the area. At around 8 AM the same day, ten of the participants landed on Uotsuri Island and raised national flags on the lighthouse and the shore of the island. In response, officials from the Okinawa Prefecture Police and Japan Coast Guard warned them to leave the island immediately, and at around 10 AM, all ten of the individuals who landed on the island departed. Later it was confirmed that two flags were raised on a hill on the west side of Uotsuri Island, two on the lighthouse of Uotsuri Island, and two on the rocks near the lighthouse. Six national flags were raised in total. Please contact the Japan Coast Guard for any other facts and details. First of all, there is no doubt that in light of historical facts and based upon international law, the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. Therefore, there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands.  With this understanding, the Government has maintained a consistent policy that in principle, with the exception of government-related personnel, no person shall be permitted to land on the Senkaku Islands. In this sense, this landing was regretful. I understand that of the people who landed on the island, none of them were members of the Diet.

REPORTER: In response to this incident, China is fiercely protesting against Japan. How do you view these protests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Upon the report of the landing of Japanese nationals on Uotsuri Island, the Chinese Government lodged a protest via diplomatic channels, and Taiwanese authorities lodged a protest via the organization known as the Interchange Association, Japan. The protests were based on their own claims of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. From our side, we expressed our basic stance toward the Senakaku Islands and informed the respective parties that we cannot accept their protests. I would like to refrain from commenting on any details of further communications out of respect for the other parties.

REPORTER: For what reasons was the Government not able to accept the protests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I stated earlier, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are inherent territories of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law, furthermore the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. Therefore, the protests cannot be accepted because there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved to begin with concerning the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: There have been a number of large-scale anti-Japan demonstrations in China over the Senkaku Islands, and I would like to ask how you view these demonstrations and how you are planning to respond.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will not again repeat the Government's stance toward the Senkaku Islands. In relation to this incident, in line with relevant national laws, the Government is now in the process of responding sternly. Therefore, as a country we cannot by any means accept any claims based on the assertions of the Chinese side. However, neither country would like to see this situation over the Senkaku Islands affect the broader Japan-China relationship. The Japan-China relationship is one of Japan's most important bilateral relationships, and the constructive role played by China is essential for the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. It is our hope that we can continue to further develop a broad and mutually beneficial relationship with China. With regard to the demonstrations in China, our ambassador in China has kept us informed of this series of incidents, and above all else we have been working to ensure the safety of Japanese national residing in China. Furthermore, we have been making efforts to inform Japanese nationals in China of the demonstrations and asking them to remain vigilant during their stay in China. Additionally, we have been drawing attention to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Overseas Safety website, where we issue overseas travel information to those who are planning to travel overseas.


REPORTER: Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Akihisa Nagashima, expressed his opinion on a television program that legal reforms should take place to enable the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces for patrols of the waters around the Senkaku Islands. Is the Government considering the possibility of reforming the Self-Defense Forces Act in relation to the Senkaku Islands?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to make it clear that even under normal circumstances the Government always attempts to remain informed through the relevant authorities in order to strengthen measures to protect our territories. Additionally, as each situation demands, the Government has kept a close watch over the waters surrounding Japan through, for instance, increasing patrols by the Japan Coast Guard and clamping down on illegal activities. We have also submitted a bill to this Diet session that will enable the swift response of the Japan Coast Guard to criminal activities occurring on remote islands, and it is our hope that the bill will be deliberated on and enacted at an early date. The Government's view on your question is that in addition to legislative improvements, the Government will also make an effort to be fully prepared, without any omissions, for the task of territorial sea patrols, by continually enhancing the structure and equipment of the Japan Coast Guard. I'm not fully aware of what Mr. Nagashima said on television. I am not sure if he stated a personal view or if he was expressing his ideal.


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