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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, September 22, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (PM)(Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Japan-China Economic Association’s visit to China
  • The reform of the United Nations Security Council
  • The issue regarding comfort women
  • The President Putin’s visit to Japan
  • The opening of an airport constructed by Russia on the island of Etorofu

REPORTER: A delegation of the Japan-China Economic Association is scheduled to visit China from today, where meetings are also planned with senior officials of the Government of China. Could you tell us of your expectations regarding this visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From today until September 27 a delegation headed by Mr. Fujio Cho, Honorary Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, and accompanied by Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) as senior advisor is scheduled to visit China. As I have often stated, as the second and third-largest economic powers in the world, Japan and China share an inseparable close relationship. Therefore, even if individual issues do exist, it is important to continue to engage in various forms of dialogue and exchange. Based on this perspective, we should continue to promote private sector-led exchanges such as this one.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Prime Minister has also stated that he would like to hold a Japan-China summit meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. What is the Government’s outlook at the current point about the possibility of such a meeting being realized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning United Nations-related diplomacy. In a doorstep interview this morning the Prime Minister expressed a desire for reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as the UN heads towards the 70th anniversary of its establishment. Could you explain the scenario and basic strategy towards Japan becoming a permanent member of the UNSC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, since the inauguration of the Abe administration the Prime Minister has continued to strongly emphasize that the Government seeks to develop foreign policy from a stance of making a “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation and to fulfil an active role for the peace and prosperity of the international community. Next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the UN. The Government, led by the Prime Minister, wishes to encourage other nations to recognize the necessity for UNSC reform, and the need to transform the UN into a form that reflects the realities of the 21st century. In particular, the Prime Minister’s basic concept is for the nations of the so-called G4, namely Japan, India, Brazil and Germany, to take the lead in calling on other countries in Africa and Latin America who are supportive of the cause, and gain broader support for UNSC reform, as well as attaining the understanding of the current five permanent UNSC members.

REPORTER: I have a related question. China has positioned next year as the 70th commemoration of victory in the war of resistance against Japan and it is expected that criticism will be directed at Japan concerning the understanding of history. How does the Government intend to reach out to the international community and gain its understanding that Japan is a country suitable to take a permanent seat on the UNSC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The path of peace that Japan has followed during the 70 years following the war has been widely praised by the international community. The peace and prosperity that Japan enjoys today are a result of the path we have taken in the post-war years and this is something that is appreciated internationally. I believe that the international community will duly understand that this is a stance that is not going to change, and that we will continue to pursue this path.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the comfort women issue. Some sources in the media of the Republic of Korea (ROK) have quoted an official of the ROK ruling party. They have reported that he said that the diplomatic authorities of Japan and the ROK are giving consideration to a breakthrough measure whereby Prime Minister Abe would send letters of apology to former comfort women and the Government of Japan would also provide living assistance to them. The official is also quoted as stating that if these measures were to be implemented a Japan-ROK summit meeting could be realized before the end of the year. Could you clarify the facts behind such reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no truth whatsoever to such reports. The Government will continue to persistently explain to the ROK our basic stance and the measures we have implemented to date with regard to the comfort women issue and seek to obtain their understanding.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The issuance of a letter of apology is something that has been done by a previous Prime Minister, but would it nevertheless be difficult for the Government to consider such a move?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, there is no factual basis to these reports.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning a visit to Japan by President Putin, which also came up in this morning’s press conference. If the two leaders were to meet at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November, this would constitute an autumn meeting, which would probably make the scheduling of an autumn visit to Japan difficult and lead to the visit being postponed. Do you have any comment about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has yet been decided concerning a visit to Japan. The Government will examine the matter by considering various factors in an integrated manner.

REPORTER: So an autumn visit to Japan is still a possibility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has been decided and in any case we will examine the matter by considering various factors in an integrated manner.


REPORTER: An opening ceremony for a new airport constructed by the Government of Russia has taken place on the island of Etorofu, one of the islands of the Northern Territories. Can I ask for a comment from the Government of Japan about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The occupation of the Northern Territories by Russia lacks any legal basis, however, unfortunately the Government has no means to prevent the development of infrastructure on the island by the Government of Russia. It is necessary to reach a fundamental solution to the issue of the Northern Territories and the Government therefore will continue to engage persistently in negotiations to formulate a solution that would be mutually acceptable to both sides.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The opening ceremony for the airport has taken place at a time when there is increasing momentum towards a Japan-Russia summit meeting. Will this ceremony have any impact?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe that it would have any particular impact.


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