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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Prime Minister's visit to Iwate Prefecture

I would like to speak about the Prime Minister's schedule. On Sunday December 1, the Prime Minister is planning to visit earthquake-affected areas in Iwate Prefecture to inspect the current state of reconstruction. More specifically, the Prime Minister will inspect the rebuilding of housing in Kamaishi City by visiting temporary apartment complexes and public housing for disaster victims, the first of which has been completed. Later, the Prime Minister will visit Kamaishi Police Station to give encouragement to the police officers serving in the area, including those who have been deployed from other parts of Japan to provide support. The Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet the Chief of the Iwate Prefectural Police, who is the first woman to assume the post and has since led operations. Furthermore, Kamaishi City has been diligently providing tsunami and disaster readiness education, and thanks to this, the lives of many preschoolers and other students were saved during the Great East Japan Earthquake. The Prime Minister is planning to talk to teachers and local residents about their initiatives, and hear their views.


  • The issue related to the National Security Council
  • The issue related to the special intelligence protection bill

REPORTER: The National Security Council (NSC) bill was passed into legislation during today's House of Councillors session. Initially this bill was submitted by the first Abe administration but was scrapped before undergoing any deliberations. In light of this, could you share with us your thoughts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude for the sincere deliberations of both houses and the passage of the bill following the approval of members from many groups. Today, the security environment surrounding Japan is extremely challenging and the establishment of the secretariat of the NSC and the NSC itself are indispensable for truly enhancing the capacity of the Prime Minister's Office as the control tower for diplomatic and security policy. We will take the passage of this bill as an opportunity to develop a system that truly allows us to strategically fulfill Cabinet's responsibility as control tower of diplomatic and defense policy and do our best to ensure public safety and security.

REPORTER: As for the schedule, I understand that the Government intends to establish the NSC swiftly, but what kind of specific time frame do you have in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the bill was only enacted today and the Diet is still in session. No decision with regard to a timetable has been made. In any case, led by the efforts of the Cabinet Secretariat, we will accelerate preparations necessary for the establishment of the NSC, while coordinating with concerned ministries and agencies.

REPORTER: Am I right to understand that the launch of the NSC secretariat will be sometime after New Year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have yet to make any decisions, including when it will be launched.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question on this topic. You have always said that you strongly felt the need for an NSC at the time of the hostage situation in Algeria. Could you explain to us how you believe the NSC will resolve difficulties like those that you experienced at the time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Once the NSC has been established it will be continually raising awareness in the Government about issues and potential risks. The secretariat of the NSC will take the lead in overseeing the overall state of our national security policy, which predominantly concerns diplomatic and defense policies. The secretariat will consist of various divisions including units responsible for specific regions. I believe that all this will allow us to obtain extensive information and act promptly as required.

REPORTER: Could you tell us specifically about the difficulties you experienced during the Algeria hostage situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister was not present at the time and initially we did not have a structure to facilitate quick decision-making and swift action under my leadership together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Defense; the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees corporations; and the police. Therefore, it required some time, in the end, before we could launch a response. The NSC will serve as an organization specifically for addressing this kind of situation so that we can respond more effectively.

REPORTER: With regard to the establishment of a third-party organization in relation to the special intelligence protection bill, will this be established within the Government, or are you more likely to establish an independent organization that is separate from the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In relation to the third-party organization, yesterday's response to Diet questions by the Prime Minister says it all. The Prime Minister stated that in the event that the bill is passed, a preparatory office would be established within the Cabinet Secretariat, which would engage in preparations for the entry into force of the legislation, including the compilation of a draft of unified standards. Such an office would also launch considerations with regard to measures to ensure appropriate operation of the legislation, based on Supplementary Provision 9. In light of this, we will encourage the office to seek advice from experts and refer to the systems in place in other nations, such as the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel and the Information Security Oversight Office in the U.S.


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