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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, June 27, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan's relations with ROK and China
  • The appointment of new Australian Prime Minister

REPORTER: Today President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) is visiting China, where she is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with President Xi Jinping. Can I ask for the thoughts of the Government with regard to the summit meeting between these two countries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that a summit meeting is scheduled to be held between the two countries. As this meeting involves third-parties, as a representative of the Government, I would like to refrain from making any comments. What I would say, however, is that Japan and the ROK are neighboring countries that share an important relationship and should cooperate on issues relating to the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, including on North Korea. We have engaged in close cooperation to date, including the recent Japan-US-ROK trilateral working-level meeting on North Korean issues that was held in Washington D.C. Given that we are neighboring countries Japan and the ROK also face difficult bilateral issues, but the Government seeks to develop cooperative relations from a broad perspective for the purpose of achieving stability in the region and in the international community.

REPORTER: In the past it has been the case that newly inaugurated ROK presidents have first visited the United States, after which they have visited Japan. This visit to China on this occasion breaks with that precedent. Japan has yet to engage in summit meetings with the new leaders of the ROK and China. What is your view of this current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that the ROK side will have its own views concerning the current visit to China and therefore I do not think that it is something for the Government of Japan to comment on. In actual fact, at the time of the first Abe Cabinet, Prime Minister Abe's first overseas visit was to China, which shows that diplomacy is implemented in response to various circumstances.

REPORTER: If that is the case, against the backdrop of the current China-ROK summit meeting, as you look across the broad range of diplomacy that has been implemented in the six months since the inauguration of the Abe administration, what is your analysis of the reason why summit meetings between Japan and its two closest neighbors, China and the ROK, have yet to be realized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Over the last few years the region has faced a variety of issues, and as both China and the ROK are neighboring countries of Japan, the Government considers relations to be important. With China we have a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests and with the ROK we share stable relations as neighboring countries. Various working-level and director general-level meetings continue to be held and in this way we are continuing to engage in mutual efforts to build our relations. Another factor is the strategic diplomacy of each country. As I have just mentioned, at the time of the first Abe Cabinet, although it was usually the case for a new Prime Minister to first visit the United States, a decision was made to visit China. I believe therefore, that it is no bad thing for each country to advance its own strategic diplomacy.


REPORTER: Mr. Kevin Rudd has returned to the position of Prime Minister of Australia after a period of approximately three years. Given that Japan and Australia are both maritime countries and both are in an alliance relationship with the United States, how will the Government seek to build relations with the new Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and Australia have traditionally shared friendly relations, in addition to which, over recent years we have continued to steadily build a strategic partnership in such sectors as security and energy. During his previous tenure as Prime Minister, Mr. Rudd visited Japan on three occasions and worked hard to strengthen Japan-Australia relations. Following his appointment it is hoped that Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Rudd will continue to engage in work to further enhance our strong relations.

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