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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The pass away of former Chief Cabinet Secretary Igarashi
  • Response to the situation of North Korea
  • The Northern Territories issue
  • The report by the U.S. Pentagon on state-sponsored industrial espionage
  • Healthcare and medical strategy

REPORTER: The U.S. Pentagon has noted that the baselines of the territorial sea around the Senkaku Islands which China drew unilaterally last year were inappropriate and inconsistent with international law. I believe that the Japanese Government also objected that China's claims had no legal binding power. What is the Japanese Government's view regarding the Pentagon's report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these news reports. Japan and the U.S. are working together and communicating with each other closely in responding to this Senkaku issue. As I have stated repeatedly, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan. Thus, Japan welcomes the U.S. assertion.

REPORTER: Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Igarashi has passed away. Mr. Igarashi was the Chief Cabinet Secretary during the Murayama administration that drafted the Murayama Statement. Can you please share with us your thoughts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Igarashi is a great predecessor of mine who used to be in the same position as myself. As he had entered the Diet after serving as Mayor in Hokkaido, Mr. Igarashi was one of the politicians to whom I felt a strong affinity. I imagine he faced hardships as the Chief Cabinet Secretary during the Murayama administration, which, as an LDP-Socialist-Sakigake coalition administration, made conducting Diet affairs very difficult. In addition, he was Chief Cabinet Secretary when the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck and the sarin gas attack took place. In this sense, I envision that Mr. Igarashi expended efforts to overcome difficulties in the face of tough circumstances. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences.

REPORTER: Regarding North Korea, which I also asked about this morning, there is information out that North Korea has removed its missiles. You have stated from before that occurrence of North Korea's provocative words and actions has been decreasing. In this context, do you assess this information as a positive move by North Korea aimed at easing tensions in the Korean Peninsula?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these news reports, and we also have a variety of intelligence. This intelligence is currently under analysis. The Government's foremost priority is to protect the safety and security of the Japanese people. Therefore, while analyzing such intelligence, we are taking steps to ensure our readiness.

REPORTER: If I may confirm, some people view that North Korea may in fact be deceiving us. Is my understanding correct that this is among the matters that the Government is now verifying from the intelligence?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, yes. As there is a variety of intelligence, we are taking responses while analyzing the intelligence.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Russia relations. This morning, former Prime Minister Mori was also here at the Prime Minister's Office. Although Prime Minister Abe denied such statements, it has been reported that during the Japan-Russia summit meeting, in relation to the Northern Territories issue, President Putin touched on Russia's territorial negotiations with China and other countries in which the territorial issue was resolved by splitting the land area in half. Can you once again verify the facts? Also, do you believe that splitting the land area in half would be the solution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the facts, which, if I am not mistaken, I believe the Prime Minister also stated while talking to reporters during his visit or at his press conference-there are no facts as such. In any case, the Government's basic policy is to conclude a peace treaty by resolving the issue of the attribution of the four islands. It remains unchanged that this is the basic stance of the Government.

REPORTER: Slightly related to this, President Ichiro Ozawa of the People's Life Party has recently stated that when he was LDP Secretary-General, Russia proposed to purchase the Northern Territories. Can you verify the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this from the newspaper reports. My knowledge of what went on at that time is entirely limited to what I know based on newspaper reports. Therefore, I have absolutely no knowledge in this regard.

REPORTER: In the report that the U.S. Pentagon released on May 6, it is stated that China is conducting state-sponsored industrial espionage. Japan is often described as a spy haven. What is your understanding of the spy activities of China and other countries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is indeed seen by the world as a spy haven. However, Japan's relevant agencies, including the police and the Public Security Intelligence Agency, are consistently collecting and analyzing intelligence on the espionage of other countries to ensure that Japan's national interests are not undermined. If any illegal conduct is found, Japan is ready to take rigorous measures in accordance with the law.

I would like to refrain from making any comments on specific countries. I would just like to reiterate that Japan is taking thorough measures.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the industrialization of medicine. In Russia and the United Arab Emirates the Prime Minister agreed to supply advanced medical technology. What is your view of these achievements? Also, regarding the current situation, some people express a sense of crisis over Japan's current situation, pointing out that still not enough has been done to foster Japan's medical sector into a growth industry. What is your view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I myself have been appointed the Chair of the Headquarters for Healthcare and Medical Strategy. Indeed, I believe that Japanese pharmaceutical products and medical equipment are extremely advanced. However, the handling of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products is essentially confined to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Therefore, we are striving to develop a growth strategy which will allow Japan to make concerted efforts to export Japan's excellent medicine, including talents, to other countries by involving, for instance, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, or for overseas expansion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this context, I believe the Prime Minister was very successful in raising this matter during his latest overseas visits.

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