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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 9, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First I would like to inform you of the Prime Minister's schedule. Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 10, the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Keio University Hospital. Specifically, the Prime Minister will observe the advanced medical treatment that the hospital provides, and exchange views with people at the hospital, among other activities. For more details please contact the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.


  • The reinvestigation of abductions by North Korea
  • The issue of enshrined war criminals at Yasukuni Shrine

REPORTER: I have a question about the reinvestigation of abductions by North Korea. The Japanese Government has apparently already submitted a list of names of specified missing persons to the North Korean side. Could you please confirm the facts behind this? I would also like to ask you the number of people included in the list, and when the list was submitted.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In our consultations with North Korea to date we have requested that investigations be carried out into cases of so-called specified missing persons, whose possibility of being abducted cannot be ruled out. With the formation of the special investigation committee, as necessary, we would like to submit a-new any relevant information, including information about people whose possibility of being abducted by North Korea cannot be ruled out.


REPORTER: During a television program you appeared on yesterday, the investigation team on the Japanese side was discussed. You said that a Japanese investigation team would be established to thoroughly investigate any report released by the North Korean side following a reinvestigation. From which agencies do you envisage members would be selected for that purpose? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To date, a number of agencies have been involved in coordinating the preparation of the list of missing persons. As indicated in the latest agreement document with the North Korean side, a special investigation committee will be established. Once the Japanese members are selected, we would consider dispatching those Japanese members to North Korea to verify any information. Furthermore, the agreement also sets out that members on the Japanese side would interview any relevant persons. They would also be able to travel to any relevant locations in North Korea, although I am not sure if this would mean places where the abduction victims lived. By carrying out these activities in a thorough manner, I think we will be able to verify matters. (Abridged). Of course, members would form a special unit and a variety of possibilities are conceivable. As such, members will be chosen from relevant Ministries and agencies that are able to respond in a thorough manner.

REPORTER: While appearing on a TBS Radio program, former Secretary General Koga of the Liberal Democratic Party said that the so-called Class-A war criminals enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine ought to be placed back under the charge of the chief priest, indicating his perception that the system ought to be returned to how it was prior to their enshrinement in 1978. He then stated that he would like the Abe administration, which enjoys a high approval rating, to facilitate this. How do you regard those statements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: People who sacrificed their precious lives for their country have been enshrined at Yasukuni Shrine since the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and there are now 2.6 million people enshrined there. At the same time, as a religious entity, who Yasukuni Shrine chooses to enshrine is a matter covered by Article 20 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. As such, I believe the Government is not in a position to express its views on the subject.


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