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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, May 22, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The discussion on the right of collective self-defense
  • The suspension of the operations of Oi Nuclear Power Station
  • Japan-North Korea government level consultation in Stockholm


REPORTER: We are currently nearing the end of the ordinary session of the Diet. I understand that discussions will also begin at the Diet regarding the revision of the interpretation of the right of collective self-defense. Can you once again tell us how you will explain the necessity of the revision to opposition parties? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister, as the leader of the Government of Japan, is always thinking about how to protect the lives and property of the people and ensure national security. As I have said many times, we have experienced considerable globalization. Some 1.5 million Japanese nationals live overseas, and 18 million Japanese nationals travel abroad annually. Given these circumstances, are existing arrangements really appropriate? I expect that the Government will seek understanding while presenting concrete cases for consideration.

REPORTER: Does that mean that at the Diet deliberations as well, the minister in charge will be underscoring the necessity of the revision while presenting concrete cases? Is that what you envisage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Prime Minister will basically seek understanding while explaining the discrepancies in the current situation and how the current gaps can be filled in fully and seamlessly.

REPORTER: It seems that a short while ago, Kansai Electric Power Company appealed yesterday’s ruling which ordered the suspension of the operations of Oi Nuclear Power Station. That means that the trial will continue. Can you please share with us the Government’s view of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident, the operation of nuclear power stations is contingent on the fact that their safety is ensured. That is a given. Thorough inspections will be conducted according to the regulations and standards created by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, an independent regulatory body, which are said to be the most rigorous in the world. For those nuclear power stations that are deemed to comply with such standards, the Government will carefully explain the result of the inspection to the local residents in the areas hosting those nuclear power stations. This stance remains wholly unchanged.


REPORTER: Japan-North Korea consultations will begin in Stockholm in Sweden from the 26th. What expectations do you have for the consultations, if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The upcoming round of Japan-North Korea consultations is a follow-up to the second round of Government-level consultations that was held at the end of March. Following on from the previous consultations, both sides are expected to discuss a broad range of matters of interest, including the abduction issue. The abduction issue is a serious issue that has direct implications for the lives and security of the people, and the Government remains committed to making utmost efforts towards the resolution of the issue. We will steadily move the consultations forward in line with this fundamental position of the Government of Japan. I expect that the Japanese delegation will make efforts to elicit a positive response from North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a related question about the reinvestigation into the abduction victims that Japan is requesting. If North Korea were to offer a promising response regarding the reinvestigation, would Japan consider lifting its economic sanctions on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From Japan’s perspective, it is a matter of course that we hope to discuss matters of mutual interest and to elicit a positive response from North Korea. This is the mindset with which we will conduct the negotiations. With regard to the preconditions for holding the consultations, our foremost priority is indeed to elicit a positive response from North Korea. Our existing stance of adopting the most effective approach to resolve the various outstanding issues remains unchanged. As for the question of what is necessary to make progress on the abduction issue, my answer is the same as before.


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