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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 4, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The resignation of Parliamentary Secretary Takeshi Tokuda

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, Parliamentary Secretary of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and Parliamentary Secretary for Reconstruction Takeshi Tokuda offered his resignation for personal reasons to Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ohta and Minister for Reconstruction Nemoto. The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism submitted the letter of resignation to the Prime Minister's Office. Upon consultations also with the Prime Minister, it has been decided that the resignation letter will be accepted. With regard to his replacement, the selection and appointment processes will take place swiftly.


  • The Prime Minister's visit to Okinawa
  • The TPP


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding Prime Minister Abe's visit to Okinawa. On the occasion of the Prime Minister's visit to Okinawa, he stated to reporters that a land reclamation application for the relocation of Futenma Air Station to somewhere off the coast of Henoko, Nago City will not be filed before the Prime Minister's visit to the United States (U.S.). What were the reasons for the Prime Minister stating that the application will not be filed before the U.S. visit? Does the Government currently have a schedule for when it will file the application? Also, how does the Government view the Prime Minister's latest visit to Okinawa? Is it evaluated as a first step to building relations of trust with Okinawa? If you can please elaborate on these points.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Prime Minister held a press conference yesterday. As was also mentioned during the press conference, the Prime Minister truly wishes to rebuild relations with Okinawa and paid a visit to Okinawa as a first step in this endeavor. There is nothing more or less to it than that. The Prime Minister visited Okinawa to make the Government's commitment towards Okinawa understood among the people and the Governor of Okinawa.

REPORTER: Is there currently a Government policy to not file the land reclamation application until the understanding of Okinawa Prefecture is obtained?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Along with the Japan-U.S. initiatives, we will be stepping up efforts to obtain the understanding of the Okinawan people with regard to the views of the Government.


REPORTER: My question concerns the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Regarding the TPP, Chairperson of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Takaichi has commented over the weekend that it is up to the Government to decide whether or not Japan will participate in the TPP and that nothing will become of the party's expression of support or opposition. Discussions will soon be starting within the party. With regard to the party's conclusion, how will the party reach its judgment as to whether the Government should or should not participate? What relevance do you attach to the party's judgment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government's position is that, as both the Prime Minister and I have stated repeatedly at these press conferences, Japan will not join the negotiations as long as the precondition is the abolition of customs tariffs without considering any areas to be off-limits. The Government will conduct a careful review and analysis, including of the content of the consultations to date and the various impacts which would arise from participating in the TPP. Based on this, we will pursue the optimal path forward that serves the national interests. Therefore, the timing of the negotiations and other such matters have not been decided.

REPORTER: While of course there is also the issue of the timing of the negotiations, to what extent will the party's conclusion influence the judgment of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The party's view is clear from the election pledge. Therefore, we will be making a decision in accordance with these considerations.


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