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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, August 24, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • The holding of a press conference by the Prime Minister on the issues pertaining to territory and territorial waters

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved one written answer in response to questions submitted, as well as cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements made by Ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs talked about the provision of emergency grant aids for refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic and for earthquake disaster in the northwestern part of Iran.

I would like to raise one more item. In response to the recent situations surrounding Japan, Prime Minister Noda will hold a press conference at 6 pm today in order to communicate to the people of Japan the measures taken by Japan to date with regard to the issues pertaining to Japan's territory and territorial waters, as well as future policies.


  • Japan-ROK relations (the Takeshima issue)

REPORTER: After the conclusion of the Cabinet meeting, I believe Foreign Minister Gemba, Prime Minister Noda, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura yourself had a meeting. How did the Prime Minister respond, or what instructions did he give, with respect to the issue of the letter to the Republic of Korea (ROK)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe this was mentioned at the press conference held by Foreign Minister Gemba after the Cabinet meeting. I will speak briefly about the contents once. As we have stated to date, the return of a letter between leaders of nations is inconceivable in terms of diplomatic protocol and most regrettable. Furthermore, the fact that the letter will be returned by post from the ROK Government is also extremely regrettable. Upon the receipt of the returned letter, we are not considering resending it. One of the reasons given by the ROK Government for the return of the letter was that it contained the expression, "Takeshima." Based on that fact alone, we assume that the ROK Government is already aware of the contents of the letter. I believe that our intended message has been conveyed. Once again, I have no intention of resending the letter as the continuance of such an exchange of letters can affect the dignity of Japanese diplomacy. On top of that, hypothetically speaking, if the letter contains contents that the ROK Government is unable to accept, we believe it is conventional for the ROK Government to assert their claims fairly and unequivocally in a reply or other means. However, returning a letter between leaders of nations as they did this time, based on the reason that the letter contains the word "Takeshima," is perceived as an indication of the degree of the ROK Government's lack of confidence in their claim of sovereignty over Takeshima. Taking into consideration this incident, among other factors, the Japanese Government intends to fairly and unequivocally assert our territorial sovereignty over Takeshima in an open and aboveboard manner to the international community. With regard to the return of the letter, a strong protest will be lodged with the ROK Government today from an appropriate level and an appropriate response will be sought. At the same time, we will also take the opportunity to protest once again to the ROK Government about the series of comments made with respect to His Majesty the Emperor, and to put in a strong request for an apology and retraction of the comments from the ROK Government. I believe the Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke about these matters.


REPORTER: Excuse me, I would like to raise a question about the Takeshima issue again. Some reports stated that a measure to be implemented in protest against the visit by President Lee Myung-bak is freezing the purchase of ROK bonds, or the freezing of the plan of it. Could you tell us about the current status of review within the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Based on instructions from the Prime Minister, first, the respective Ministries and offices that are involved are currently reviewing the options they have. Not a single decision has been made regarding any one item or measure.
(Abridged) As of this point in time, no plans have been made yet.

REPORTER: With regard to the receipt of the letter and the decision not to resend it, earlier you have given us a brief explanation of the contents covered in the press conference by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. You mentioned that the message has been communicated and talked about affecting the dignity of our diplomacy. What do you think, as the Chief Cabinet Secretary, are the reasons behind the decision not to resend the letter, and could you tell us that in your own words?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, I think it was definitely an act of discourtesy in diplomatic protocol. It is also unprecedented. Resending the letter on top of these factors may further damage the dignity of Japanese diplomacy. For such reasons, we decided to respond in a mature manner.

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