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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, May 17, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet Meeting. The meeting approved 11 general measures as well as draft bills and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Finance made a statement concerning the passage of the FY2013 budget and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning the changes to the "Basic Plan for the Promotion of Children's Reading Activities."

In ministerial discussions, the Minister of Finance made a statement concerning the budget implementation survey.


  • Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto's comments
  • Japan-North Korea relations
  • The water leakage from the underground reservoir in the Fukushima Daiichi Power Station
  • The Chinese rocket launch

REPORTER: In relation to the remarks regarding wartime "comfort women" made by Mayor of Osaka City Toru Hashimoto, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State said the remarks were "outrageous and offensive." Could you please share with us, if any, the thoughts of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The comments were made by a co-leader of another party and I therefore believe that the Government is not in a position to make any remarks on the matter.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question with regard to Special Advisor to the Cabinet Iijima's visit to North Korea. I believe that Mr. Iijima held talks with Mr. Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly. What is the Japanese Government's analysis and assessment of the fact that a high ranking official of North Korea agreed to these talks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I only saw the footage and heard of this in the media recently. The basic stance of Japan is to conclusively resolve the issues of the abductions, nuclear weapons and missile launches. Furthermore, the abduction issue is one of the most important issues for the Abe Cabinet and Prime Minister Abe has addressed this issue with fierce determination to see this issue resolved while he is in office. With regard to the visit of Mr. Iijima, the Government has a consistent policy that requires that I do not make any comments in relation to this meeting due to the nature of the situation. However there are issues between Japan and North Korea, issues on which the Japanese Government has always made its stance clear.

REPORTER: With regard to the water leak from the underground reservoir in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has made a significant downward revision to the leakage volume that TEPCO initially announced. There have been a number of issues with more and more people pointing out the deteriorating credibility of TEPCO. Could you share with us the Government's views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in relation to the contaminated water leakage, I am aware that this announcement was made by TEPCO. I believe that the actual leakage volume became apparent during the more thorough examination of the cause of the incident, and the Government is also currently conducting its own examination of the incident. In any case, the Government together with the Secretariat of the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is attempting to develop more fundamental measures with the aim of reaching a conclusion by the end of May. The initial announcement by TEPCO was the maximum estimate leakage volume, but the actual volume was revealed to be less than this as further examinations were conducted. The Government is now examining the leak to determine if this is correct. The Government and the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, as well as TEPCO, will work as one to address these issues.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question regarding North Korea. North Korean state-run media has repeatedly shown footage of the talks and other scenes involving Mr. Iijima. What is the Government's understanding of North Korea's objectives?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA:I am aware of this as I have been viewing the media reports on TV every day. However I believe that I should not make any comment on the objectives of another country.

REPORTER: Are you and the Prime Minister planning to hear from Mr. Iijima regarding his visit immediately after his return from North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Speaking for myself only, I would like to receive a report from Mr. Iijima.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question with regard to the Chinese rocket launch. Some countries, particularly the U.S. believe that the Chinese rocket launch on May 13, allegedly for observation, was in fact launched as part of their development of anti-satellite weapons. Could you share with us the thoughts of the Japanese Government, or tell us how the Government views these occurrences?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has always kept a close eye on developments such as this and therefore Japan naturally holds interest in this recent launch. However, this is an intelligence matter and I must refrain from elaborating further. I can say, however, that the Japanese Government is currently requesting China to inform us as to the precise nature of the rocket launch via diplomatic routes.


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