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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, July 4, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The start of the official campaign for the House of Councillors election
  • The situation in Egypt
  • The understanding of history
  • The monitoring activities by the U.S. Government

REPORTER: The official campaign for the House of Councillors election kicked off today. Once again, can you please tell us what your main campaign issues are and how many seats you are targeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been half a year since the Abe administration was inaugurated. Ever since regaining control of the government at the end of last year, we have continued to single-mindedly and relentlessly pursue the three pillars of the revitalization of the Japanese economy, reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and thorough crisis management. In this context, I believe this last half year will be one of the elements that voters will evaluate, and that the people will judge us based on the public pledges presented by us, the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP). We view the House of Councillors election to be a critically important election for Japan that will determine whether we will be able to do away with the contorted nature of the divided Diet and, accordingly, whether Japanese politics will be able to take steps forward. We will embark on this election campaign with the aim of seeing at least a majority of the seats captured by the ruling parties.


REPORTER: The situation in Egypt has resulted in casualties. There has been persistent turmoil, with the military ousting President Morsi from office. Can you please share with us your impressions and the position of the Japanese Government in regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japanese Government will closely monitor the situation with deep interest and concern. Japan will call on all parties to desist from acts of violence and behave with the greatest extent of self-restraint and responsibility. At the same time, we hope that the respective forces will advance national reconciliation and cooperate sincerely through a democratic process, so that the situation is stabilized and that the Egyptian Government may work on overcoming the economic and social issues it faces.

REPORTER: Related to this, does Japan have any intention of reviewing the support it extends to Egypt, such as economic assistance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Currently, we are watching over the situation. At this moment in time, we hope that reconciliation will be achieved in a democratic manner and that everyone will strive to build a stable country based on a single, unified objective.

REPORTER: Yesterday, during the debate among party leaders, in response to a question asking for a definition of whether Japan colonized Korea and whether Japan used aggression against China, Prime Minister Abe stated that history should be left up to historians and that he is not in a position to give definitions. However, you have previously stated that the Cabinet's view is to succeed the Murayama Statement, which mentions the words "colonial rule" and "aggression." I believe your statements are slightly inconsistent with the Prime Minister's statement yesterday. What is your view about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I reviewed the Prime Minister's statement yesterday. I believe nothing has changed from my previous statements. The Abe Cabinet's position is to take the same position as past Prime Ministers with regard to the Murayama Statement. And, as the Prime Minister also stated yesterday, the Abe Cabinet has never denied the facts of aggression and colonial rule. This is what the Prime Minister stated yesterday. With regard to the issue of the recognition of history, we have continued to state that we should not turn this issue into a political or diplomatic issue. However, in this context, the Abe administration has consistently also stated that when the time is right it would like to release a future-oriented statement appropriate for the 21st century. Therefore, I understand that yesterday's statement was made in light of this and does not differ at all from previous statements.

REPORTER: Regarding the wiretapping allegedly conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies of the United States, the United States and European Union (EU) have agreed to set up a working group to carry out verifications, possibly as early as July 8. What is your assessment of this? Also, what will the Japanese Government do in relation to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Japan, by which I mean the Japanese Government, does not yet acknowledge that the United States and European Union are making moves in that direction. As I stated yesterday, we are seeking confirmation from the United States. That is the situation.

REPORTER: What is your view regarding the need for such a working group or something like it in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have been saying over the past few days, Japan, including its embassies, has been doing everything that it can do. Beyond that, all we can do at this time is to seek the explanation of the United States. We have yet to see how the United States will respond. That is realistic.


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