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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, July 9, 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
  • A meeting of the Security Council
  • Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress's plan to visit India
  • Civil service reform

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to report on the matters discussed at the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved seven general measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Defense made statements concerning the Prime Minister's approval, etc., of anti-piracy operations and concerning Defense of Japan 2013 (the Ministry of Defense whitepaper). The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning the FY2012 White Paper on Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Minister Inada made a statement concerning the way forward regarding civil service reform. I made statements concerning the visit to Singapore of Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko and concerning acting Ministers while Ministers are away on overseas visits.

Today, at the Cabinet meeting and the meeting of the Security Council held prior to the Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister's approval of anti-piracy operations was decided upon. Its overview is as shown in the material in front of you. Ensuring the safety of maritime transport is vital for the Japanese economy and society as well as the lives of the people. It is also essential for global peace and prosperity. The Government will continue to fulfill this important duty. For further details, please inquire at the Ministry of Defense.

I have an announcement regarding the visit to India of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. The Government of India has long extended its invitation for Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress to visit. In view of the cordial and amicable relations between Japan and India, the Government of Japan decided at today's Cabinet meeting to request that Their Majesties pay an official visit to India this year. The itinerary will be determined through consultations between our two Governments. Their Majesties are scheduled to depart Tokyo on November 30, and the visit as a whole is scheduled to last approximately one week. In conjunction with this decision, the Statement by the Prime Minister, which has been distributed to you, was also approved at today's Cabinet meeting.

I have an announcement regarding civil service reform. The Headquarters to Promote Civil Service Reform will cease to exist tomorrow, July 10. Going forward, it has been decided that civil service reform will be promoted by the Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reform. Effective July 11, the "Civil Service Reform Secretariat, Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reform" will be newly established under the Headquarters for the Promotion of Administrative Reform. This was explained by Minister Inada at today's Cabinet meeting. Previous Deputy Director-General of Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuo Otani will serve as the Secretary-General of the new Civil Service Reform Secretariat. For details, please ask Minister Inada.


  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The Northern Territory issue
  • The Osprey aircraft
  • Minister Furuya's visit to Mongolia


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Senkaku Islands. According to a news report, the Government suggested or proposed to China that while Japan will not acknowledge that a territorial dispute exists, it will treat this matter as a diplomatic issue, and will not prevent China from emphasizing its territorial claims. Can you confirm whether or not this is true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the report which you have noted. However, there is no truth to it.

REPORTER: So with regard to the Senkaku Islands, the Government's policy remains unchanged in terms of Japan's relations with China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is absolutely correct. Even now, Japanese and Chinese diplomatic authorities are communicating with each other in various ways. However, there is no truth to the reports that Japan made the proposal you have just brought up. As I have stated repeatedly, there can be no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. This has always been the Government's position. On the other hand, it is also true that China has made its own claims to the Senkaku Islands, and has spoken and acted accordingly. While Japan does not in any way recognize China's claims, there needs to be communication between Japanese and Chinese diplomatic authorities regarding the adverse impact these actions have on Japan-China relations. Japan's door for dialogue is always open. This is as we have stated to date.

REPORTER: It has been predicted that President Putin of Russia will visit the Northern Territories. What does the Government know concerning the truth of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of such news reports. The Government is continuing to collect and analyze relevant information. That is the real situation.

REPORTER: While the spokesperson of the Russian Government has said that the President will visit Sakhalin, he has denied that the President will go to the Northern Territories. Has the Russian Government informed the Japanese Government about anything related to a visit to the Northern Territories?


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the additional deployment of Osprey. I believe that today, after this press conference, Governor Nakaima of Okinawa will be meeting with you at the Prime Minister's Office. The Governor is expected to request the review of additional deployments and the dispersal of deployments to areas across the country. How does the Government intend to respond to the requests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is fully aware that the local people have concerns or worries about deployment and trainings involving Osprey. Its deployment has tremendous significance for the security of Japan. However, we believe the deployment depends on the major premise that utmost consideration be given to the safety of operations and the lives of the local residents. With regard to the appropriate implementation of the agreement of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee in September of last year, the Government will carry out necessary consultations with the United States, including on reviewing the possibility of conducting Osprey flight trainings at locations other than Okinawa, and obtain the understanding of the local people.


REPORTER: Yesterday, Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue Furuya departed for Mongolia. I understand that he will attend the inauguration ceremony of the President on July 10 as a Special Envoy of the Government. First of all, may I ask what the purpose of this visit is?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mongolia is a critically important country for Japan, and thus, the Prime Minister has also visited the country. The Minister will be attending as a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister to deepen our amicable relationship.

REPORTER: Related to this, will the Minister be meeting with Mongolian Government officials for discussion related to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not know about that. In any case, the Prime Minister dispatched Special Envoy Furuya with the hope of giving momentum to the development of bilateral relations.

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