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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 3, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga




REPORTER: Today consultations between the ruling parties of Japan and China will resume after a six-year and ten-month hiatus. Could you share with us your expectations for these inter-party consultations between Japan and China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and China have confirmed that efforts will be made to improve relations, founded on the concept of the Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests. I believe that it is important for dialogue to take place on various levels, including exchanges among parliamentarians and political parties. It is hoped that such exchanges will lead to the further development of Japan-China relations from a broad perspective. It has been almost seven years since the previous delegation led by the Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) visited China. It is of great significance that these consultations among the ruling parties of our two countries are taking place and I believe that they will lead to the development of further bilateral dialogue and exchange.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Ministerial Meeting on Strategy relating Infrastructure Export and Economic Cooperation. In terms of infrastructure exports to India, there has previously been discussion about the export of Shinkansen technology and systems. Given that Prime Minister Abe will be visiting India soon, could you tell us if any policies concerning infrastructure exports have been confirmed, including export of Shinkansen systems?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The 22nd meeting of the Ministerial Meeting on Strategy relating Infrastructure Export and Economic Cooperation has recently been held. In advance of the Prime Minister’s visit to India from December 11, the meeting was held among persons concerned to set out the current status of infrastructure exports to India, confirm the progress and results of measures implemented to date, and discuss issues and responses going forward. The Cabinet policy to date has been to set out the issues relating to infrastructure export and economic cooperation prior to overseas visits made by the Prime Minister, with the intention of contributing to summit-level diplomacy.

REPORTER: I have a related question. On his recent visit to Malaysia the Prime Minister announced that Japan would be relaxing the conditions for ODA loans and also that the Government would be providing 13 trillion yen in infrastructure financing to Asia. Is the Government considering the use of these and similar measures for infrastructure export and economic cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, as it was announced, the Government will be seeking to promote infrastructure exports and economic cooperation.

REPORTER: Tomorrow will mark the two-year anniversary of the first meeting of the National Security Council (NSC). How do you evaluate the results that the NSC has achieved?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would say that two years have gone by extremely quickly. In those two years the NSC has met on more than 70 occasions. Through these meetings and with the Prime Minister overseeing them it has been possible to put in place a strategic structure for diplomacy and security as the Government as a whole. The National Security Secretariat (NSS) has fulfilled its role properly as the secretariat for the NSC, reflecting the wishes of the Prime Minister to eliminate the vertically segmented structures of ministries and agencies, and collecting various kinds of information, thereby making a significant contribution to the realization of strategic and functional policies. Over the course of two years the Secretary General of the NSS, Mr. Shotaro Yachi, has engaged actively in meetings with counterparts in the United States, China, India, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Australia, to name just a few and has made significant progress in advancing strategic cooperation. Various matters lie ahead, including further efforts to strengthen the alliance relationship with the United States and development of relations with neighboring countries, and the Government intends that the NSC and NSS will lead efforts to advance diplomatic and security policies strategically and functionally.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The control tower function of the NSC over security and diplomacy will continue to grow in importance moving forward. Are there any points that you think could be improved or strengthened?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that over the last two years, with the Prime Minister overseeing all operations, the NSC has been very effective overall in eliminating vertically segmented structures at ministries and agencies. However, with regard to intelligence gathering, the Government felt the necessity for an International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit. Although this unit was initially scheduled to be established in the next fiscal year, one of the proposals made by the NSC was to bring the date for establishment forward and create a structure that would enable the unit to be launched in the near term.


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