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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, February 8, 2013 (PM)

[Provisional Translation]

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Q&As

  • Japan-China relations (the beaming of a radar by a Chinese naval vessel)
  • The Advisory Panel on the Legal Basis for Security
  • The air pollution in China

(Abridged)

REPORTER: On a different subject, I have a question concerning the radar beaming incident by a Chinese vessel. Following the incident the tone of the domestic media in China in particular has been to stress that Japan has over-reacted. For example, reports broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) have suggested that for a long time Japan has been placing Chinese vessels under monitoring and surveillance, and has engaged in malicious acts of provocation against China since the Abe Administration is seeking to approve and exercise the right of collective self-defense. In this way, the tone of the Chinese media has been significantly different from the statements being made by the Government of Japan. What is the Government's reaction to these press reports in China and what countermeasures will be taken?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all I would emphasize the fact that the statements made by the Ministry of Defense have been based on the results of detailed analysis of the incident, which confirmed that the radar beaming had indeed taken place. It was also based on this analysis that the Government lodged a protest against such acts. The explanations provided by the Chinese government concerning this incident are totally unacceptable. In order to prevent a recurrence of such a dangerous act, which has the potential to lead to a contingency situation, the Government is calling on the Chinese government to make a sincere response.

REPORTER: There are those who think that the press reports on this incident in the Chinese media, particularly those on CCTV, reflect the intentions and stance of the Chinese government, which is using the media to wage an information campaign. What is the current recognition of the Government concerning this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of the various references and points emphasized by the Chinese side to date, there are many that are in complete contrast to our understanding of the situation. Therefore, the Government is strongly requesting that China fulfill its responsibility to provide a sincere explanation of the incident. At the same time, with regard to the press reports in China, the Government seeks to lodge a robust protest with China concerning these reports, based on the facts of the incident that Japan has established.

REPORTER: How frequently is it intended that the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security will meet? Also, when is a conclusion expected to be reached?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The first meeting of the Advisory Panel will be held today. Discussion will focus on the so-called "four cases" relating to the legal basis for security. The Advisory Panel was first established in 2007 during the first Cabinet of Prime Minister Abe and the findings were submitted to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Fukuda. However, given the fact that the situation surrounding security has changed significantly in the intervening period, the first meeting of the Advisory Panel today will be engaging in discussion on whether the "four cases" that were initially submitted for consideration in 2007 will be sufficient in today's environment. I imagine that the discussions on this issue will continue for some time to come. Whatever the case, the first meeting will be held today and the way forward for the Advisory Panel will become clearer once discussions are initiated.

REPORTER: With regard to the recent air pollution in China, there are some press reports that suggest that the Government has decided on a policy of offering support and cooperation to China, via the channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, concerning measurement of air pollution and surveys, including those that assess the health impact. What are the facts behind these press reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conveyed a message to the Chinese government, noting that the issue of air pollution is one of great interest for Japan, and that as early as possible after the Chinese New Year holidays the Government seeks to engage in consultations with China and exchange information, as well as considering possible forms of cooperation. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is also calling for the existing Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) to be further enhanced to include measurement of respirable particulate matter known as PM2.5. Also, in the administrative vice-ministers' meeting held today, I issued a request to all administrative vice-ministers to engage in a cross-government response and cooperative efforts with regard to this issue.

REPORTER: Does the Government intend to request the Chinese government to make its own response to the air pollution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, this is an issue that could affect Japan and is therefore one in which the Government has a great interest. In that sense the Government has indicated its readiness to China to engage in cooperation, and it will also be the case that China will be encouraged to do all that it can do itself to deal with the pollution.

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