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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, December 26, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved three cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on overseas visits, among other matters.



REPORTER: As has been reported by the media today, it has been discovered that if a particular Chinese software for inputting Japanese language is utilized on a computer, the data inputted is sent to servers, leading to possible information leaks. What do you think about the fact that this software was also used on some computers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the matter you have noted, the Government is also aware of its risks. Under the "Management Standards for Information Security Measures for the Central Government Computer Systems" determined by the Information Security Policy Council, it is forbidden to send confidential information to external parties by using such software. The Government is warning ministries and agencies through the National Information Security Center (NISC). The Government will continue to work to ensure the security of the information of government organizations - a critical issue for national crisis management. With regard to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, it has issued a warning to the national university corporation. With regard to MOFA, I understand it has been confirmed that this software was installed on five of MOFA's computers, antherefore measures such as deleting the software have been taken.

REPORTER: Today marks one year since the inauguration of the administration. In fact, the first Abe administration lasted for 366 days, and Cabinet members were replaced constantly. Even during the Koizumi administration, there was the matter involving Ms. Makiko Tanaka. It has become rather unusual in Japanese politics recently for a year to pass with no change in the members of the Cabinet although it may not be appropriate to say "unusual." Nevertheless, in this context, what is your view regarding the fact that a year has passed with all Cabinet members remaining in their posts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I had not even thought of it at all, until you told me just now. Naturally, I have held the view that the mission of the respective Cabinet members is to put every effort into the tasks they are charged with for the duration of their terms of office. Now that you have told me about this, it does feel like such an era continued for a long time. All Cabinet members will make concerted efforts one by one to fully and steadily realize the pledges we have made to the people.

REPORTER: In relation to the one-year anniversary of the administration, I would like to ask about the Japan-China relationship. In one year of this administration, Japan and China have not yet been able to hold a summit meeting. On the other hand, you have stated that the gap has been closing recently. Despite that, there have been issues, such as China's recent establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). What is your assessment of the current Japan-China relations? Also, how does Japan intend to improve it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and China are, indeed, countries which both have responsibilities towards the peace and prosperity of the region. (Abridged) Furthermore, Japan has been urging China that the two countries start a communication mechanism between the defense authorities of the two countries at an early date.


REPORTER: In your current understanding, is the gap closing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Compared to immediately after the inauguration of the administration, the number of Chinese tourists to Japan has increased significantly, for example. Furthermore, I believe both cultural exchanges and inter-regional exchanges are beginning to take place more actively.

REPORTER: I have a question related to Okinawa. Yesterday, the Prime Minister explained about the Government's measures for the promotion and development of Okinawa and the measures for reducing the burdens of the bases of the U.S. forces. The Governor of Okinawa stated that he would announce his formal decision as early as tomorrow. Could you once again share with us your expectations? Also, if the Governor does give his approval, then I believe this would be a huge step forward in the Futenma issue, which suffered setbacks during the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration. Could you also please explain the significance of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Governor Nakaima submitted requests to the Government that represented the opinions of the people in Okinawa. The Prime Minister took the requests seriously, and based on his determination to do everything that the Japanese Government is able to do, the Prime Minister explained to the Governor yesterday the Government's views regarding the proposals. We believe the Governor made some positive assessments of the Government's measures. In this context, it is now left up to the Governor's decision. The Government would very much like to ask for the Governor's approval. It would be something to be grateful for if, for the first time in 16 or 17 years, I think, this stalemated issue is settled; and if we can carry out this plan as a whole package of fully maintaining deterrence, removing the risks posed by Futenma Air Station, reducing the burdens borne by the people in Okinawa, and steadily carrying out the measures for the promotion and development of Okinawa.

REPORTER: My question concerns again the one-year anniversary of the administration. My understanding is that the term of office of the second Abe Cabinet will soon exceed that of the first Abe Cabinet. I believe a variety of factors played a role in this, such as narrowing down policies to the economy, while at the same time being prudent about the matters that show off the Prime Minister's political style; such as the revision of the Constitution, the right to collective self-defense, and in terms of actions, visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Some view that the fact that the Prime Minister was prudent on these matters proved to be effective. How do you intend to proceed with the policies that show the Prime Minister's political style from the second year onwards?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not really understand what is meant by 'Abe's political style'. But nonetheless, the Government will move matters forward by steadily fulfilling, one by one, the promises that the Prime Minister himself made during the election campaign as President of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as well as the presidential election campaign of the (LDP). In this context, the Government has been taking steps by identifying three pillars as the revitalization of the Japanese economy, the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and thorough crisis management amidst the extremely severe security situation surrounding Japan. We kept going this past year with the intention to realize the promises we have made, one by one, by focusing on the importance of a single outcome rather than one hundred empty words.

REPORTER: Regarding the Japanese language input software, considering there was also the incident involving Google Groups back in July. I assume ministries and agencies in particular have been ordered to reinforce their information management systems. What do you think about the fact that the software was used at MOFA?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In that sense, we consider it very regrettable. We would like MOFA to reinforce their system and adhere to what has been decided.

REPORTER: While I believe the Government will be warning all ministries and agencies, are there any particular plans to conduct any investigations or the like?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Not investigations, so much. As a decision has already been made about this, ministries and agencies should fully adhere to what should be adhered to.

REPORTER: From around when do you intend to give out the warnings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will be doing so immediately.

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