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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 12, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Prime Minister's message on the occasion of "Marine Day" on July 15

I will speak about the message from the Prime Minister as we celebrate Marine Day on July 15. July 15 is Marine Day, a national public holiday. This is a day on which we express our appreciation of the benefits we receive from the sea, and our desire for further prosperity for Japan as a maritime nation. Japan is a nation surrounded by sea; we have long utilized the oceans and benefited from the many blessings they provide, and it is upon this we have built the country. The Prime Minister delivered this message in his hope that this day will provide the nation with the opportunity to once again think about the importance of the ocean. I have distributed a copy of this message to you all, so please take the time to have a read.

Each year Festivals of the Sea take place in regional towns and cities, and serve to deepen public understanding and interest in our seas. This year the festivals will be held from July 13 to 28 in five regional towns and cities, with the main festival being held in Oga City, Akita Prefecture. Their Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino are scheduled to attend the ceremony on July 17 and this message from the Prime Minister will also be delivered.

For more information, please contact the Headquarters for Ocean Policy of Cabinet Secretariat.


  • Prime Minister's message on the occasion of "Marine Day"
  • The reconstruction budget for radiation decontamination
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The Northern Territory issue
  • Japan-ROK relations


REPORTER: I would also like to ask a question concerning the message. I understand that the message places particular emphasis on protecting Japan's interests within territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone. Does this focus have anything to do with recent developments concerning China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, not at all. The details of the message are as I just said. This is a message that the Prime Minister delivers every year.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning one of the articles featured on the front page of today's Asahi Shimbun. The article states that more than 60% of the reconstruction budget, a total of 255 billion yen, allocated by the national government to the municipal governments of Fukushima Prefecture for radiation decontamination, remains unused. It seems to me that this is contradictory to what the Abe Government says in its public pledge and during the campaign tours, where it was said that the decontamination efforts will be accelerated. Could you inform us of the facts and give us your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for the budget for decontamination, it is premised that the spending of the budget will be spread over multiple years via the Fukushima Prefecture fund, which means that it will not all be spent this year and instead used over multiple years. As for the use of budgeted funds, I understand they will be spent as per the Act on Special Measures Concerning Handling of Radioactive Pollution, and the guidelines of the Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation. I believe that the Government does not take into consideration the desires of the Tokyo Electric Power Company in relation to the restrictions and use of the budget. However, this article suggests otherwise, so we will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if any problems are found, we will make improvements. Regardless, the stance of the Abe Cabinet is that the Government will work as one to accelerate decontamination efforts. Therefore we will investigate the matter to ensure that we are all on the same page.

REPORTER: It has been reported that when U.S. President Obama met with the Vice Premier and State Councilor of China, he urged China to resolve the issues over the Senkaku Islands in a peaceful manner without resorting to intimidation and force. I understand that President Obama's comments were made in consideration of Japan's stance. Could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of exactly what he said, but if that was truly what he said, I believe that President Obama made the comments in consideration of Japan's stance, as was the case during the U.S.-China Summit Meeting.

REPORTER: In the publication "Defense of Japan" (annual white paper), Japan expressed strong concerns regarding maritime territorial violations by China. How is the Government planning to work with China to solve the Senkaku Island issues and other issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I often share with you during these press conferences, the stance of Japan is very clear. It is very clear that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Therefore, while we make this position clear whenever necessary, we will also maintain a broad perspective and pursue a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. The first Abe Cabinet built such relations with China and our door is always open for dialogue. However we will always make clear, that which as a nation we cannot compromise.

REPORTER: There were reports that President Vladimir Putin will visit the Northern Territories on July 15. Has the Japanese Government since obtained new information, or analyzed that information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On July 8 Moscow time the President's spokesperson stated that there is no plan for President Putin to visit the four islands of the Northern Territories. The Japanese Government has been gathering and analyzing related information.

REPORTER: Am I then right to understand that judging from Russia's statements, the Government believes that the President is unlikely to visit the Northern Territories?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are in possession of a number of pieces of information, but we cannot elaborate any further as it is a matter of intelligence. However, given that the President's spokesperson made an official statement, we are continuing to gather information.

REPORTER: Yesterday, a Japan-Republic of Korea Vice-Ministers Meeting was held during which, I believe, the Republic of Korea asked Japan to address the issues concerning history in a sincere manner. Could you once again share with us the Government's views on the Republic of Korea's position on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Abe Cabinet's understanding of history is as I have stated on numerous occasions during these press conferences. Our position is that we will continue to work to gain understanding. There are a number of issues affecting Northeast Asia, including North Korean issues, and we both agree that it is extremely important that Japan and the Republic of Korea cooperate, as it is also important that Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea also cooperate with each other. I believe that it is very important that we continue our efforts to maintain communications through exchange of frank opinions, as we did yesterday.

REPORTER: As for Japan-Republic of Korea relations, President Park Geun-hye said that it is unlikely that a summit meeting between Japan and the Republic of Korea will take place. Could you tell us what the Japanese Government believes are the prospects for the next summit meeting, and how important it is for one to take place as quickly as possible?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From Japan's perspective, we do not have any urgent issues that need to be addressed, but I believe that it is important that we maintain working-level communications.

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