Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  July 2013 >  Friday, July 5, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 5, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The situation in Egypt and travel advice from the Japanese Government
  • LDP's announcement in response to the reports of TBS on the Diet session
  • Japan-Australia Defense Ministers' meeting
  • Joint military exercises of China and Russia
  • Inappropriate usage of social media by national public servants

REPORTER: More and more protests are occurring in Egypt, and as the summer holiday approaches, could you tell us about the Government's considerations regarding travel advice? Could you also tell us how the Government is going to protect Japanese nationals living in Egypt?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for the situation and future developments in Egypt, we understand that the situation remains unpredictable. Therefore, with strong interest and concern, we will keep a close eye on the situation as it develops, including the developments of the protests and conflicts taking place in some areas. Furthermore, we will continue to urge all parties involved to desist from acts of violence and behave with the greatest extent of self-restraint and responsibility. We hope that the situation will stabilize as soon as possible and that a Government elected through democratic procedures with respect for human rights and rule of law will take power quickly. As for the current situation, as of 5 AM Japan time, no Japanese casualties have been confirmed. Given that the situation has become even more intense and remains unpredictable, on July 3 we raised the travel alert level for Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor from "Travel caution" to "Recommendation to consider whether or not to travel" in the interest of ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals. Since the confirmation of possible mass protests, we have issued a number of "Spot information" advisories calling for travelers to exercise caution. Additionally, via the website of the Japanese Embassy in Egypt we have, for instance, uploaded maps of the protest routes and have been urging travelers to take precautions. Given the recent raising of the travel alert level, we are currently advising those Japanese nationals living in Egypt to refrain from going outside and urging potential travelers to seriously reconsider their need to travel. The Government will do everything within its power to protect Japanese nationals in Egypt.

REPORTER: Could you tell us when the travel alert was raised?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been told that it was raised on July 3.

REPORTER: In response to the misleading reports of Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) on the Diet session, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) announced that the party will for a period not participate in interviews and TV appearances of senior LDP officials with TBS, stating that their reporting lacked fairness. I believe that something like this has never before happened in the lead up to an election. Could you share with us your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you are all aware, a no-confidence motion was moved against Prime Minister Abe as we were approaching the end of the Diet session. Extremely important bills for the Japanese economy and citizens were resultantly scrapped, which I believe is extremely regrettable. As you all know, the Prime Minister has been in Diet and involved in question time more than anyone in the past and we have difficulty understanding why a no-confidence motion was moved. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) approved those bills at the House of Representatives and therefore the bills would have been enacted if passed in the House of Councillors, yet they chose not to pass the bills. This shows that they prioritized politics ahead of the Japanese economy and citizens and we regard this as an extremely regrettable move. I'm sure you all have spoken to DPJ President Kaieda and Secretary General Hosono and I believe that they had said until the day before that they would not approve the no confidence motion and that they would pass the bills. However, they suddenly changed their minds at the last minute and unfortunately a no confidence motion was moved. Despite all this, the report misled viewers to believe that the withdrawal of these important bills was the fault of the ruling parties. Therefore I have been informed that the LDP, as a ruling party, asked TBS to correct their reports. We cannot afford to continue to prioritize politics ahead of the national economy and citizens, and we understand that we need to get rid of the contortions caused by the divided Diet in order to advance the politics of Japan. We will do everything we can to achieve this.


REPORTER: I believe that you met with the Australian Minister for Defence earlier today. I understand that you discussed security cooperation, but could you provide us with details of your talks and the response of the Australian Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: During his courtesy call, we exchanged views on the strengthening of cooperation between Japan and Australia on security and defense matters, and discussed regional issues. Japan and Australia are strategic partners that share fundamental values and strategic interests. Today we agreed that in the midst of the changing environment of the Asia-Pacific region we will further develop our bilateral and trilateral relations with Japan, the U.S. and Australia for security cooperation. We confirmed our friendly relationship.

REPORTER: Did you exchange views on the maritime operations of China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We did not specifically speak about China, but we confirmed that we share fundamental values, strategic interests and rule of law, and we agreed that we will rigorously work together.

REPORTER: Beginning today, China and Russia will commence joint military exercises in the Japan Sea. Some believe that since Russia and China have in common the Northern Territory and the Senkaku Island issues respectively, this is intended to put Japan on the back foot. Could you share with us your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have remained duly cautious and have been collecting and analyzing information on the military exercises of China and Russia but I will not go into any further details.


REPORTER: The First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka posted a message on the Facebook page of the LDP's Director of the Committee on Security, Yasuhide Nakayama. The post criticized Mr. Nakayama, stating that he is immature, which the First Secretary later retracted. Recently, there have been a number of instances where comments by national public servants posted on the internet have caused controversy, such as the tweets by a Reconstruction Agency staff member. Could you share with us your opinion on these kinds of activities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed of this incident by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Government has been urging all of its staff to ensure that there is no inappropriate usage of social media, including Facebook, as they use these services privately, especially after the recent incident at a Government agency. Therefore it is very regrettable that there was another inappropriate post by a Government official and I have been informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently discussing this issue with the intention of taking stern action.

REPORTER: When you say that stern action will be taken, does that mean that they will take some type of punitive action?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe they are currently discussing that possibility.  We have only recently raised awareness of the use of social media during work hours, and I believe that they are discussing their response, which may include punitive actions.


Page Top

Related Link