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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 18, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Takeshima Day on February 22
  • Chinese vessels' intrusion into Japanese territorial waters
  • The Industrial Competitiveness Council
  • The TPP


REPORTER: I have a question regarding Takeshima Day. What is the status of the arrangements concerning the individual whom the Government will be dispatching?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is currently reviewing this, including the dispatch of a Government official.

REPORTER: Related to this, can you explain how the Government assesses the Takeshima Day ceremony hosted by Shimane Prefecture? Also, the policy proposal made by the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) stated that a Government-hosted ceremony would be held. Can you share your thoughts regarding this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Actually, last year, I attended the ceremony as the Chairman of the LDP Party Organization and Campaign Headquarters, as a representative of the party. I was keenly aware of the passionate sentiments of the people of Shimane Prefecture. It is true that during the elections, we stated in the policy proposal, J-File, that a Government-hosted ceremony would be held. However, as not very much time has passed since the launch of the administration, my belief at this time is that it may be quite difficult this time around.

REPORTER: Then can I interpret your statement to mean that the ceremony will definitely be realized during Mr. Abe's term of office?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We made a variety of pledges, and we would like to translate the feasible ones into action one by one.

REPORTER: I understand that this morning, Chinese vessels intruded into territorial waters. Can you please verify the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, three vessels successively intruded into Japanese territorial waters near Uotsuri Island from around 8:54 am to 9:17 am, and, as of 10:30 am, are navigating inside the waters. The Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. In this context, Japan is once again lodging a strong protest through diplomatic channels. That is the situation. Japan is urging the vessels to swiftly exit Japanese territorial waters.

REPORTER: Today, the Industrial Competitiveness Council will convene a meeting. According to some news reports, the Council will bring up the topic of the promotion of an aggressive agricultural policy, identifying agriculture as a top priority area. Does such a policy in fact exist? Also, can you please discuss what the reason is that this is being brought up? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The agenda items scheduled to be discussed are the strengthening of the science and technology, and innovation promotion system; expansion of agricultural exports; enhancement of agricultural competitiveness; energy cost-cutting measures; among other items. Agriculture is included in this list.

REPORTER: Can you once again explain where the administration positions agriculture in the context of the growth strategy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As agriculture is included in today's agenda, I believe it will be examined in this context.

REPORTER: Regarding Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, on February 16, New Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi stated that "there has not been sufficient national debate" and that "efforts to form a consensus through national debate are needed first, and we are not at a point where a decision can be made for or against it." What is your view regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The LDP's public pledge was that Japan will not join the negotiations as long as the requirement for participation is that the Japanese Government makes prior commitment to eliminate tariffs with no sanctuary.  And in the coalition administration agreement between LDP and New Komeito, we agreed to pursue the  path that best serves national interests. Therefore, we will be advancing along this basic path. That is the bottom line.

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