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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, November 6, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


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

REPORTER: Excuse me for asking this again, but in the United States midterm elections, the Democratic Party suffered a resounding defeat, and the Republican Party secured a majority of seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. What is your take on the elections?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Those were the results of the elections. As they concern the domestic affairs of the United States, the Japanese Government would like to refrain from making comments. However, I can say that as Japan-U.S. relations are the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy, Japan will continue to steadily deepen its cooperation and ties with the United States. This has not changed at all.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In his press conference after the elections, President Obama acknowledged his party’s defeat and then stated that he looked forward to working together with the Republican Party to advance the business of the administration. Nevertheless, President Obama is still expected to face major challenges implementing his agenda. What are the Japanese Government’s views regarding this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The seats won by the Republican Party exceeded the number of seats needed to gain a majority in both the House and Senate. Given this situation, the Obama administration will need to carefully explain his agenda to move it forward. I believe the situation is the same in any country.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding Japan-China relations. What is the status of the arrangements of the Japan-China summit meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated yesterday, as of now nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: What about the (Japan-China) foreign ministers’ meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That too has not been decided yet.

REPORTER: A short while ago, members of a joint panel comprising various divisions of the Liberal Democratic Party submitted a written resolution to you. The resolution asks the Government to implement tough responses and launch strong protests in response to the issue of coral poaching. I understand you responded that the Government would take not only budgetary measures but would also instruct relevant ministers to implement the necessary responses. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the joint panel requested the strengthening of penalties and the raising of cash collateral. I told the joint panel that the Government would work to ensure the effectiveness of crackdowns, and that to this end, relevant ministries and agencies would consider various measures. Furthermore, with regard to the diplomatic channel, Japanese Ambassador to China Kitera has sent a written request to Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi. In this way, Japan has repeatedly conveyed its regret to China, and at the same time, is strongly requesting China to prevent the recurrence of these incidents.

REPORTER: My question is in regard to this coral issue. Yesterday, the spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated during his press conference that the “illegal harvest” of coral is banned in China and that it firmly cracks down on parties engaged in such activity. However, it is not very clear whether this is actually being done. Has China given any explanations to the Japanese Government? What is the understanding of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has conveyed its regret to China through various channels on a number of occasions. China responded that it recognizes the seriousness of this matter and that it would take concrete steps, including giving instructions to fishermen. Japan is now giving China the necessary information.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The vessels must travel quite a distance to come to the waters concerned, raising fuel costs. Given how such a large number of vessels arrived in the waters immediately prior to APEC, some analysts speculate that the Chinese Government is, at the very least, tacitly approving this activity. First, what is your perception? Secondly, is Japan satisfied with the Chinese Government’s responses and measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government would like to refrain from responding to questions regarding the background of China’s coral measures. Secondly, with regard to China’s responses, we perceive that China has taken reasonable responses. While I cannot go into the details, China has requested that Japan provide information, and we are doing so. Judging from this, we consider China’s response to be sincere.

REPORTER: I have a related question. When did the Japanese Ambassador send a written request to Foreign Minister Wang Yi? Can you also tell us what it said in the request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Please let me confirm the date and get back to you.


REPORTER: I would like to return to the subject of the Japan-China summit meeting. The media is speculating that the two countries have decided for now not to hold an official meeting and will instead hold a brief informal meeting. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although there are various media reports, as of now nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: I would like to confirm one item. As many leaders of APEC member states will be coming to Beijing, I am guessing that even if the two leaders meet, the talks will be relatively brief. Do you have any comment on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it is up to China, the host country, to decide these matters. As of now, the format of the meeting has not been decided.


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