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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 25, 2016 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that has been held in Laos. The joint communique of the meeting was adopted on July 25, however, it does not include any mention of the award made by the arbitration tribunal concerning the illegality under international law of the rights asserted by China in the South China Sea and overall the content is deferential to China. The background to this outcome could be considered to be China’s economic assistance to Southeast Asia. Can I ask about how the Government of Japan views the joint communique?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is my understanding that the Joint Communique of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting confirms ASEAN’s shared commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, and also expresses serious concerns over recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea. Japan is not a participating nation in the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and therefore I should refrain from making any further comment. If I were to add anything further, it would be to note that issues relating to the South China Sea are directly linked to regional peace and stability and are a shared concern for the international community, including Japan. In the forums of ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Japan will emphasize the importance of the rule of law at sea for peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.

REPORTER: A Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting has recently taken place, in which the ministers confirmed that mutual efforts would be steadily advanced to implement the agreement reached at the end of last year between Japan and the ROK on the issue of comfort women. What is your evaluation of this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Foreign Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se of the ROK held a meeting for 40 minutes. During the meeting Foreign Minister Yun provided an explanation about the status of preparations for the establishment of a foundation to support former comfort women, based on the agreement reached at the end of last year. Both ministers confirmed that Japan and the ROK will move to implement the agreement faithfully. In addition, Foreign Minister Kishida noted the importance of both countries working together to advance future-oriented cooperation. In addition, both foreign ministers confirmed that Japan and the ROK will continue to cooperate closely in response to issues relating to North Korea and also engaged in an exchange of opinions concerning the South China Sea. My evaluation is that this meeting covered a variety of bilateral and regional issues on which extremely candid and meaningful exchange of opinions took place. The Government will continue to strengthen communication with the ROK on various levels and seeks to take Japan-ROK relations forward into a new era.

REPORTER: You have just stated that both countries will move to implement the agreement faithfully and one point of focus in this regard is the contribution by the Government of Japan of 1 billion yen following the establishment of the foundation. Was the matter of the timing of the payment of this contribution raised in the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is currently the case that the ROK is making arrangements to establish the foundation by the end of this month. The specific timing of Japan’s contribution of funds to the foundation has yet to be decided. I believe it to be of the utmost importance for both Japan and the ROK to move forward to implement the agreement faithfully.

REPORTER: You have just stated that the timing of payment is undecided and there are varying opinions within the government and ruling parties in Japan concerning the timing. At what point does the Government consider that payment should be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What is most important is for both countries to move to implement the agreement faithfully, that is all.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Cabinet reshuffle. The Prime Minister has returned to public duties today after his summer break and is now in the middle of determining the reshuffled Cabinet. The Prime Minister has stated that he wants to create a new and strong lineup. What are your thoughts on what is necessary to create a Cabinet that is stronger than the current one?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, only the Prime Minister has the authority to determine Cabinet appointments and therefore I should refrain from making any comment. I believe that the Prime Minister will be seeking to create a lineup in which the best people are allocated to each position in order that the Government can respond to various challenges both at home and overseas.

REPORTER: I understand that only the Prime Minister has the authority to determine appointments, but what do you think the administration should focus on in policy terms from now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister himself has stated in his press conference, it is important to realize a society that promotes the dynamic engagement of all citizens and advance comprehensive and bold economic policies. I think that it is with such issues in mind that the Prime Minister is considering the Cabinet lineup.

(Abridged)

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