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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, May 23, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Nikkei Stock Average
  • The issue of Takeshima
  • Japan-North Korea relations
  • The patrolling and monitoring of areas surrounding Japan
  • Prime Minister's visit to Myanmar
  • Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper's column

REPORTER: The Nikkei Stock Average has dropped sharply and has had a fluctuation range of almost 1,500 yen. Could you share with us the Government's views on this and what you believe might be the contributing factors?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the Nikkei Stock Average has fallen under 14,400 yen following a fall in Chinese economic indicators during today's session. I will not comment on these results as I believe that doing so may cause the market unnecessary confusion. However, I believe that the Japanese economy is expected to gradually recover and the Government will keep close tabs on developments in the financial and capital markets and their implications.


REPORTER: It has been reported that three Japanese nationals have landed on Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture after departing from the Republic of Korea (ROK), and claimed that Takeshima is a territory of the Republic of Korea. Could you inform us of the details of the incident, and could you also share with us your thoughts on the actions of these people?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan has established that if Japanese nationals land on Takeshima after following the immigration procedures of the ROK, it might be misleading in that it may imply that Japan recognizes ROK sovereignty over Takeshima. We have made this clear through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website and other media. Therefore, the Japanese Government is urging citizens to exercise restraint and refrain from entering the area. Based on this consistent stance of Japan, on May 21 the Consulate-General of Japan at Busan asked these Japanese nationals to cancel their plans to land on Takeshima. It is extremely regrettable that those citizens landed on Takeshima despite this advice. We are planning to convey this same message to these people. Let me reiterate that Takeshima is clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning North Korea. As North Korea will, or in fact has sent a high ranking military officer as a special communicator to China and media reports by Yonhap News Agency indicate that short and mid-range missiles deployed along the Japan Sea coastline have been removed, some believe that these North Korean developments are a sign that North Korea is more willing to engage in dialogue. How does the Government view these developments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Dialogue and pressure is the basic policy of the Japanese Government and we will continue to keep an eye on developments.

REPORTER: I believe that you have recently stated on a number of occasions that the Government will remain open to all possibilities, but could you once again share with us the Government's plans for addressing the issues involving North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Dialogue and pressure is our basic policy, and based on this policy we will strive to comprehensively resolve the outstanding issues of concern such as the abduction, nuclear and missile issues. At the same time, the Prime Minister has a strong conviction to do whatever it takes to resolve the abduction issue under his leadership. We will remain in line with our basic policy and continue to pursue dialogue and exert pressure.

REPORTER: When you said that the Government will explore all possibilities, am I right to understand that negotiations between leaders of the countries is one of the options?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I did say "all possibilities," so that means we are open to all possibilities.

REPORTER: There have been a number of incidents where submarines believed to belong to the Chinese navy have been detected cruising under water within Japanese contiguous waters. Do you intend to, for instance, proceed with the early introduction of Global Hawk as part of efforts to strengthen Japanese monitoring and patrolling of coastal waters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Ministry of Defense (MOD) is currently discussing means to strengthen the patrolling and monitoring of areas surrounding Japan. As for Global Hawk, which you just mentioned, the MOD is investigating progress of its technology and the operational status of the aircraft in other countries. In this background, the decision on the introduction of this aircraft is yet to be made, but I believe that the decision will be made as appropriate while considering the progress of discussions concerning the revision of defense policies and Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning Myanmar. I believe that the Prime Minister will commence his visit to Myanmar tomorrow and it has been reported that during the summit meeting, Japan will waive 500 billion yen in loan debt and will offer official development assistance worth nearly 100 billion yen. Could you tell us how arrangements are progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have yet to be informed of any such decisions. However, I believe that it is of the utmost importance for Japan to provide assistance for Myanmar's efforts to achieve reform in the pursuit of democratization, national reconciliation and economic reform. There is a growing necessity to advance infrastructure development in Myanmar for the purpose of achieving sustainable economic growth, and Japan seeks to provide active assistance through the provision of the various technologies and knowledge we possess. I believe that the Prime Minister and President of Myanmar will engage in discussions from these perspectives. During the Japan-Myanmar Summit Meeting, which took place in April last year, Japan stated that it will decide on partial debt forgiveness after monitoring Myanmar's continuous efforts to achieve reform over the course of the year. I am referring to waiving the debt for 200 billion yen.

REPORTER: During this morning's press conference, you stated that the Government lodged a protest against a newspaper column in the ROK, which stated that the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "divine punishment." I would like to inquire about the reaction of the ROK Government.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan regards this article as extremely disgraceful and the Japanese Embassy in the ROK has lodged a firm protest with officials of JoongAng Daily. As the only nation that has suffered an atomic bombing we cannot, by any means, tolerate such claims concerning the atomic bombs, and we believe that it is important that the citizens of both Japan and the ROK remain calm. This is our belief and I believe that the ROK understands our claims.

REPORTER: Do you mean that the ROK indicated to you that they understand this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has communicated this to the editorial writer of JoongAng Daily via the Minister of the Embassy of Japan in the ROK. Following this, I believe that the ROK Government has understood the claims that Japan has made.

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