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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

Circumstances permitting, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit China, Myanmar and Australia from November 9 to 17. In China the Prime Minister will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing. It is expected that at this year’s APEC summit exchanges of opinions will take place on such issues as economic reform, promotion of growth, regional connectivity, and infrastructure development and investment. Prime Minister Abe intends to contribute to discussions by introducing Japan’s measures for the development of regional economic integration, such as by contributing to sustainable regional development through the implementation of Japan’s Growth Strategy. In Myanmar, the Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-related summit meetings. During the series of meetings it is expected that the Prime Minister will exchange opinions on the deepening of cooperation among countries concerned. Prime Minister Abe intends to contribute to discussions by explaining Japan’s concepts concerning the further development of a regional order that is focused on the ASEAN region. In Australia, the Prime Minister will attend the G20 Summit in Brisbane. It is expected that at this year’s summit opinions will be exchanged on the global economy, trade, and energy, among other issues. Prime Minister Abe is planning to send out a message to global leaders about Japan’s efforts to contribute to the global economy through steady implementation of Abenomics, and to realize a society in which all women shine.


  • The issue of the mid-term elections in the U.S.
  • The Japan-China relations
  • The issue of coral poaching

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the mid-term elections in the United States. Vote-counting is still ongoing, but there are already reports that the opposition Republican Party has made gains in both houses and has maintained its majority in Congress. Can I ask for your views on this result and how the Government analyzes the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, although I am aware of the various media reports on this matter, as these elections have taken place not in Japan, but in another country, and in view of the fact that the results are not yet confirmed, I would like to refrain from making any conjectural comments.

REPORTER: I have a related question. If it is the case that the Republican Party gains control of both houses it is likely to make the running of the government difficult for the Obama administration. Do you envisage that this situation would have any ramifications for Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, Japan-U.S. relations are the cornerstone for our diplomacy and there is absolutely no change to our stance of continuing to deepen cooperation based on the Japan-U.S. alliance. Accordingly, I do not foresee that the mid-term election results will have any impact on Japan-U.S. relations.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the round of diplomatic visits you mentioned in your opening statement. What is the current status of the outlook for a bilateral summit meeting between Japan and China in Beijing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has been decided at this current point in time.

REPORTER: With regard to a Japan-China summit meeting, it would be unusual for Japan to be unable to hold a meeting with China in its capacity as host nation of APEC. What are your views as to why arrangements for such a meeting have not been able to be concluded to date?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think the situation is unusual, as the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting has yet to begin.

REPORTER: In a lecture the other day you stated that the gap between the two countries is narrowing. What is your understanding of the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The situation is exactly as I stated it, namely that the two sides are drawing closer. However, at the current stage nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning dolphin drive hunt fisheries. Some overseas environmental organizations have criticized the practice of dolphin drive hunt fisheries in Taiji Town, where live dolphins are caught and exported overseas. Can I ask for the views of the Government on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would ask that you inquire with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Fisheries Agency concerning the details, but it is my belief that Japan is acting appropriately in accordance with the stipulations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Washington Convention). The Government will continue to monitor developments concerning the matter you mentioned.

REPORTER: I asked a similar question yesterday, but with regard to the poaching of coral you stated that you had received a report that there were more than 200 foreign vessels in the waters around the Ogasawara Islands. Has there been any change to that situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the current situation, as the area is in the forecast path of Typhoon No. 20, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) has been calling strongly on Chinese vessels in the vicinity of the Ogasawara Islands to take shelter from the oncoming typhoon. I am aware that if the vessels evacuate to the Ogasawara Islands they have been notified that they will not be given permission to land on the islands themselves.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It has been noted that as so many vessels are in the area it is likely to be difficult for the JCG to respond to poaching under its current structure. Given that the JCG also has to respond to situations in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands, what are your views concerning the number of ships and quantity of other equipment possessed by the JCG?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The JCG is currently deploying large patrol vessels and aircraft intensively. In cooperation with the Fisheries Agency, the JCG is taking special measures and strictly controlling foreign vessels engaged in illegal operations. To date five captains of fishing vessels have been arrested. In addition, in response to the concerns of the residents of the Ogasawara Islands, 28 police officers have been dispatched and 16 officers are on patrol at all times. Furthermore, the Government is using diplomatic channels to express regret over the situation to China and also to call strongly for measures to be taken to prevent reoccurrence. The Government as a whole is making concerted measures to respond to the situation, with meetings being held among the ministries and agencies concerned.

REPORTER: Do you consider the number of JCG vessels currently in service to be sufficient?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In responding to the current situation we are trying to make do with the resources available, but the reality is that it is very difficult. The JCG is making diligent efforts notwithstanding these limitations.

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