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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, November 7, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved two general and other measures, as well as the promulgation of legislation, cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of the Environment made a statement concerning changes to the Basic Policy for Nature Restoration. Minister Yamaguchi and I made statements concerning the Basic Act on Cyber Security. Minister Arimura made a statement concerning FY2014 Awareness Week on Alcohol-related Problems and FY2014 Family Day and Family Week. As temporary acting Minister for Foreign Affairs while the minister is overseas, I made a statement concerning emergency grant aid for flood disaster in North India and Northeast Pakistan and emergency grant aid in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in three West African countries. Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on overseas visits.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting Minister Ishiba made a statement concerning proposals from regions concerning decentralization reform.

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease poses a threat to the peace and security of the international community and Japan has implemented assistance to date. However, given the continuing seriousness of the situation, it is necessary to further accelerate assistance. It is based on such thinking that today’s Cabinet meeting approved the Government’s provision of medical and epidemic prevention equipment to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in view of the necessity of an on-the-ground response to Ebola virus disease, and also approved a financial contribution to the UN Ebola Response Multi-Partner Trust Fund. This new contribution of USD 18 million marks the completion of the allocation of US$40 million, which was announced by Prime Minister Abe on September 25 at the United Nations High-level Meeting on Response to Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak. The Cabinet also approved the provision of new assistance totaling a maximum of US$100 million to combat Ebola virus disease. Through these measures, the Government will make efforts to implement appropriate and timely assistance designed not only to provide medical treatment to Ebola patients and prevent the further spread of the disease, but also to support the reconstruction of healthcare systems in the affected countries and ensure social stability. Making use of the series of leader level meetings that are scheduled to take place beginning this weekend, the Government intends to present Japan’s stance and efforts towards the termination of the Ebola virus disease outbreak.


  • The Japan-China relations
  • The issue of the abductions

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan-China relations. Yesterday Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat arrived in Beijing. Have you received any reports about the meetings he will be having in Beijing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat visited Beijing, China on November 6 and 7, where he held talks with State Councilor Yang Jiechi. I am aware that in the meeting Japan-China relations were discussed in general terms, and exchanges of opinion took place concerning both countries’ security measures.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Was there any discussion in the meeting concerning the prospects for a Japan-China summit meeting at next week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just noted, there was an exchange of various opinions about Japan-China relations in general. I have not yet received a detailed report, so I would like to refrain from making any further comment.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I believe that arrangements are still being made towards the realization of a summit meeting. You yourself recently stated that these arrangements were in their final stages. However, the Chinese side is still continuing to refer to the two issues of the Senkaku Islands and visits to Yasukuni Shrine as conditions for a meeting. In response, Japan has taken the stance that conditions should not be imposed, and it is important to engage in dialogue precisely because there are issues between the two countries. There seems, therefore, to be a mismatch between the stances of the two countries, so what do you see as being the key to achieving a breakthrough?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the meeting is still in progress, I would like to wait to receive a report after it has concluded before discussing the Japan-China relations in these terms.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Could you tell us whether the meeting between Secretary General Yachi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi has been continued for two days, or did it take place only yesterday or only today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the specifics, but I imagine that the meeting was conducted yesterday. In any event, I would like to wait to receive a report upon Mr. Yachi’s today’s return to Japan.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. If a Japan-China summit meeting can be realized, what do you consider should be the appropriate format for it to take? There are various levels such a meeting could take, including brief comments while standing together, or sitting down in a formal meeting format.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been emphasizing that what is of the most importance is for the leaders of Japan and China to realize a meeting and speak frankly with each other, whatever the format of the meeting.

REPORTER: The issues that exist between Japan and China are essentially the recognition that a territorial issue exists related to the Senkaku Islands and whether or not the Prime Minister will make visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Is there no change in Japan’s stance with regard to these issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no change in Japan’s stance.

REPORTER: In whatever form a summit meeting might take, do you consider it possible that the territorial issue may be raised?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In whatever case, as I have just stated, there is absolutely no change to Japan’s stance on various issues. I believe it is precisely because issues exist between Japan and China, the world’s second and third-largest economies that it is of the utmost importance for the leaders to meet and engage in a frank exchange of views.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Ms. Megumi Yokota. There have been various reports about Ms. Yokota in the past, but in today’s edition of the Dong-a Ilbo, a newspaper from the Republic of Korea, there is an article that quotes testimony from a former hospital worker, who claims that she died from an overdose of medication in 1994. Is the Government aware of such information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the report you mention. However, the stance of the Government is to collect information based on the assumption that the abduction victims are still alive. I would like to refrain from speaking about specific details as there is a danger that future activities may be compromised.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper has reported that it has acquired an investigation report, the compilation of which involved Japanese officials related to the abduction investigation. Can you tell us the facts behind this report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have heard nothing about this and I doubt that it is true.

REPORTER: On a related note, is there no truth therefore to the claims that the Japanese side has been briefed about the details of this supposed report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no truth whatsoever to such claims.

REPORTER: I have a another related question. Information concerning the death of Ms. Megumi Yokota has emanated from North Korea on frequent occasions. How did the Government determine the veracity of the information on this occasion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There has been no such determination made. Various and conflicting information has been flying around concerning information about survivors and other matters, but what the Government is concentrating on is the collection of information based on the assumption that all the abduction victims are still alive.


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