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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, December 2, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to the special intelligence protection bill
  • The issue related to the Air Defense Identification Zone established by China
  • The issue related to the relocation of Futenma Air Station

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the statement made by Secretary-General Ishiba of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Secretary-General Ishiba caused a stir by writing in his blog that the civic demonstrations against the special intelligence protection bill were tantamount to terrorism. He has subsequently retracted the statement. His statement has also come under criticism from the opposition parties. While I believe you have already been asked about this at the Diet, could you please once again share your thoughts or anything else regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on each and every statement made by senior members of the ruling parties. On that note, I will say that Secretary-General Ishiba has already retracted part of the statement so as not to cause misunderstanding. He has attempted to fully explain what he really meant by that statement, and therefore, the Government will say nothing more about this. However, with regard to demonstrations, the Government considers that demonstrations naturally represent freedom of speech, provided they are conducted within the scope of laws and ordinances.  

REPORTER: If I may confirm, are you saying that the view of the Government is that demonstrations themselves naturally do not constitute terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Demonstrations that are conducted within the scope of the provisions of laws and ordinances are a natural part of freedom of speech.

REPORTER: Sorry, I have one more question. With regard to this matter, opposition parties have criticized the statement and have called for thorough discussions during the Diet deliberations of the special intelligence protection bill. This has raised some concerns about delays in the Diet schedule. How does the Government view this situation? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From the standpoint of the Government, we would like to see the passage of bills that were submitted during the current session of the Diet.


REPORTER: Regarding China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the U.S. Government has issued a comment expecting that U.S. carriers will comply with notices issued by other countries. On the other hand, Japan has requested Japanese carriers not to inform China of their flight plans, when carriers fly through the ADIZ that has been newly established by China. It seems that there is a difference in policy between the two allies. Can you please comment on this as well as tell us how Japan will be responding? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to be clear on this. The U.S. Government is deeply concerned about the ADIZ that has currently been established by China and does not accept China's requirements for operating in the ADIZ. The United States has made this position clear. Also, I am aware that there is no truth to the reports that the U.S. Government instructed U.S. private carriers to submit flight plans in accordance with Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) based on the ADIZ in question. The Japanese Government will continue to work in close coordination and consultation with the U.S. Government. Furthermore, from today, Vice President Biden will be visiting Japan. Therefore, taking advantage of this opportunity, Japan will continue to work closely with the United States.    

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Japanese Government has urged Japanese carriers to exercise self-restraint with regard to the submission of flight plans. Does the Government have no intention to change its stance or its response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There will be no change in the position of Japan.

REPORTER: On the evening of the 29th, the Chinese Air Force stated that it scrambled fighters in response to flights by Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) aircraft and U.S. aircraft. Could I ask once again whether or not this is true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have no knowledge of such facts.

REPORTER: My question concerns the earlier topic of the U.S. Government's comment regarding the notices. Even if, as you stated, the U.S. Government did not urge U.S. carriers to submit flight plans, the fact of the matter is that different responses have been taken between Japanese and U.S. carriers. What do you think about the fact that there is a difference in response over this aspect? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is a matter between the private companies and the government of a foreign country. Therefore, I believe the Japanese Government should refrain from commenting on this.

REPORTER: But hasn't this caused an incongruity between Japan and the United States on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think so. The U.S. Government has stated that it has not formally urged or instructed its private carriers to submit flight plans. Therefore, I believe that there is no incongruity.

REPORTER: Yesterday, the Liberal Democratic Party of Okinawa formally decided to accept the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko, within Okinawa Prefecture. First of all, could you please share the view of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government welcomes the policy decision of the Okinawa chapter, which is consistent with the view of the Government.

REPORTER: What do you consider as the necessary environment preparation for the Governor of Okinawa to make a judgment regarding the land reclamation application?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather than any one particular matter, the environment will be prepared in a variety of ways. In this context, the people of Okinawa have requested that the Government reduce the burden of the Okinawa bases, and we believe it is most important to address this and other such matters comprehensively and sincerely.

REPORTER: Regarding the public opinion surveys conducted over the weekend on the special intelligence protection bill, for example, according to the Asahi Shimbun's poll, 25% of the respondents supported the bill, whereas 50% of the respondents opposed the bill. The percentage of those who believed that deliberations should be continued was 51%, more than half of the respondents. For another example, according to the poll conducted by Fuji TV's Hodo 2001, the percentage of people who opposed the bill was also higher than 50%. Do you believe that the bill should be voted on by the end of this week, despite the fact that further discussion may be required considering the aforementioned situation? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, I believe the outcomes of media public opinion surveys differ completely depending on the way that the questions are asked. However, the position of the Government is that during the Diet discussions, the Government will carefully explain the items that are believed to be questionable, in order to obtain understanding, and to request the passage of the bill within the current session of the Diet. 

REPORTER: Going back to the topic of ADIZ, I believe you said the other day that SDF patrol aircraft will continue to fly through the zone as usual. Although this question comes a little late, did the Government decide on this after obtaining information that China will not engage in dangerous actions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is a matter involving Japan's territorial land and sea. Therefore, naturally it is based on the judgment of Japan.

REPORTER: Was the judgment made with the knowledge that it would be safe to do so?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan makes judgments based on its own rules.

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