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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, November 19, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • An incident in which a U.S. serviceman in Okinawa intruded on private property
  • Japan-North Korea consultations

REPORTER: Last weekend there was another incident in which a U.S. serviceman stationed in Okinawa intruded on private property. What is the view of the Government of this incident, and what response will be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The incident is currently being investigated and it was the case that with an evening and night-time curfew having been imposed on members of U.S. forces, preventive measures were also being considered. That another incident of this kind should occur is truly and extremely regrettable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed its strong sentiments of regret to both the U.S. Embassy in Japan and U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) and has once again requested that an effective curfew be thoroughly implemented. Although the U.S. side has indicated that it will make further efforts to ensure that effective preventive measures are in place, the Government of Japan will also cooperate and will continue to push for thorough and effective implementation. The Government will therefore continue to strongly request that the U.S. side implement discipline thoroughly and take effective measures to prevent reoccurrence, thereby eliminating this kind of incident.

REPORTER: You have mentioned that effective measures should be taken. However, given that this kind of incident has occurred on more than one occasion, and has been repeated even after measures have been taken, what kind of specific measures does the Government consider would be effective?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I hear that consideration is being given to measures that would prevent reoccurrence, so I believe that in the first instance we must wait to see what kind of measures are presented.

REPORTER: Can I ask on what level the expression of regret to the U.S. Embassy and USFJ was made, and what response was made by the U.S. side?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes. On November 18, Deputy Director-General Akiba of the North American Affairs Bureau expressed the Government's strong sentiments of regret to the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy and to the Deputy Commander of USFJ, on behalf of the Director-General of the North American Affairs Bureau. The U.S. side expressed their regret that such an incident has reoccurred while the investigation on the incident is currently ongoing. They also responded that further efforts would be made to ensure that preventive measures are effective.

REPORTER: A Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting is being arranged to take place on November 20. Does the Government intend to raise this issue at the Summit Meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Prime Minister has already left Japan and therefore I am unable to give an immediate response to your question. I suggest that you ask this question at the location where the Summit Meeting is due to take place.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-North Korea consultations that took place at the end of last week. The North Korean side has indicated that extensive discussions took place with regard to the abduction issue, but what is the Government evaluation of the negotiations that took place with regard to this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The consultations involved exchanges of opinions on a wide range of issues that are of mutual interest to both parties, and vigorous discussions also took place on the abduction issue. The two sides also agreed that active efforts should be made to continue the consultations in the future, including on the abduction issue. I cannot state any more with regard to specific details, as the consultations are still ongoing.

REPORTER: The two sides agreed that the next round of consultations should be implemented in the near future, but around when are they expected to be held? Are they expected to be before the general election, or afterwards?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Both sides agreed that the consultations that took place last week were beneficial in improving relations between Japan and North Korea. It was therefore agreed that consultations will continue in the future and that the next round should be held as soon as possible. At the current point the precise timing for future consultations is something that will be worked out from now.

REPORTER: On a related note, the North Korean side has to date tended to postpone the schedule for consultations, and in a new development at the recent consultations I hear that North Korea did not mention its conventional position that the abduction issue has already been resolved. Can we imply from this change in stance that progress has been made or that the situation has changed to a certain degree?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: What you have mentioned is related to the intentions of the North Korean side and is not something for the Government of Japan to speculate on. Accordingly, I would like to refrain from making any comment.


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