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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The re-election of President Obama in the U.S. presidential election and Japan-U.S. relations

REPORTER: It is now certain that President Obama has been re-elected in the United States (U.S.) presidential election. Can you share with us what the thoughts of the Japanese Government are?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to first express my sincere congratulations to President Obama on his reelection. During the first term, the Obama administration set out a policy to rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region, which Japan welcomes. Furthermore, bilaterally, the two countries announced in April of this year "A Shared Vision for the Future", in which both countries pledged to fulfill their roles and responsibilities by utilizing the full range of capabilities to advance regional and global peace, prosperity, and security. In these ways, Prime Minister Noda and President Obama have forged very amicable and close relations so far. As the security environment in East Asia becomes increasingly severe, the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance is increasing and Japan expects to continue to enhance and evolve the Japan-U.S. alliance jointly with President Obama.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection to the reelection of President Obama. With President Obama being reelected, what impact do you think this will have on Japan's announcement regarding participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Thus far, Japan and the U.S. have conducted exchanges, including between leaders and between ministers. Both sides agree that the two countries will continue to hold consultations.

REPORTER: I understand that consultations have taken place. However, with President Obama - who has promoted TPP - continuing to serve as U.S. President, what impact will this have on the overall negotiations in the view of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Japan will continue to advance the consultations with the countries concerned, including the U.S., toward participating in the TPP negotiations.

REPORTER: On a related note, during the presidential election, with President Obama giving consideration to the automobile industry, that is, the industry groups that are against Japan's participation in the negotiations, little progress was made in the consultations. Now that Mr. Obama has been reelected, do you view that the environment is now set to once again move forward with the consultations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As this was an election, I understand both candidates carried out vigorous lobbying activities. Following the outcome, in the context of international relations, Japan intends to continue to advance consultations with the countries concerned, including the U.S. with President Obama in his second term, toward participating in the TPP negotiations.

REPORTER: Concerning this issue, I believe previously you stated that the outcome of the U.S. presidential election is recognized as one of the turning points in regard to the participation in the TPP negotiations. Do you believe that a decision needs to be made at an early date for the sake of the elections of the Japanese House of Representatives?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As is the case every time, I believe there is a so-called transition period. The U.S. President is inaugurated in January. In this sense, we still need to see how the team - the Secretary of State or other officials - will change or shift going forward. The situation as of today is still such that we cannot immediately make a decision.

REPORTER: My question is regarding President Obama's reelection. Although you intend to enhance and deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance, there are still a plethora of issues between the two countries, including issues related to Okinawa, such as the relocation of the air station of the U.S. forces. Can you once again describe what steps you intend to take moving forward, including for the resolution of these issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First, the return of lands south of Kadena - this has already been decided as a way forward. Work is already underway to lay out the details of this as much as possible by the end of the year. Therefore, I believe it is indeed necessary and important to make further progress with this work. With regard to the Two-Plus-Two (Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee) as well, provided that it depends on whether Japan's counterparts change or do not change, we believe persistent efforts should be made to carry through the commitments or decisions which were made earlier this year.


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