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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 11, 2016 (AM)

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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 15 general and other measures and personnel decisions.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet decided to request the Diet’s approval for Japan’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change adopted at the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) last December. The Paris Agreement is a fair and effective agreement applicable to all parties, and Japan welcomes that the Paris Agreement will enter into force on November 4. Japan will swiftly conclude this Agreement adopted to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, and will make a proactive contribution to the international efforts in this field. The Government is committed to undertaking maximum efforts to obtain the Diet’s approval as quickly as possible.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an Official Visit to Japan of His Majesty Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, King of Jordan, from October 26 to 28. During His Majesty the King’s visit to Japan, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will host a luncheon. In addition, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with His Majesty the King and host a dinner in his honor. Japan and Jordan, which plays an important role in the stability of the Middle East, have enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations over many years. Japan hopes the visit to Japan of His Majesty the King of Jordan will further deepen the ties and cooperative relations between the two countries.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an Official Visit to Japan of Mr. Michel Miguel Elias Temer Lulia, President of Brazil, from October 18 to 20. During the President’s visit, the President will have an audience with His Majesty the Emperor. In addition, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with the President and host a dinner in his honor. Japan and Brazil have enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations over many years as partners addressing bilateral and global issues. Japan hopes the visit to Japan of the President of Brazil will further deepen the ties and cooperative relations between the two countries.

At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an Official Visit to Japan of Mr. Rodrigo R. Duterte, President of the Philippines, from October 25 to 27. During the President’s visit, the President will have an audience with on His Majesty the Emperor. In addition, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with the President and host a dinner in his honor. This year marks the milestone year of the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines. Based on the friendly and cooperative relations they have enjoyed over many years, the two countries, as partners sharing strategic interests, will deepen their cooperation towards the stability and prosperity of the region. Japan expects that welcoming the President to Japan will provide a significant opportunity for further deepening the ties and partnership between the two countries.

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: There was an ambush against civilians in Central Equatoria State near Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, killing 21 civilians. Can you tell us what the Government knows?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of the news reports. We are currently collecting information from relevant parties.

REPORTER: The Government is considering assigning new tasks, such as “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid of a geographically distant unit or personnel under attack), to the Ground Self-Defense Force units that will be dispatched in November. What is your understanding of the security situation there in the wake of this incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have been briefed that the situation remains calm in Juba where the Self-Defense Forces is operating. As I stated, we are now collecting information from relevant parties on the basis of the news reports.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Minister of Defense Inada recently visited Juba and expressed the view that the security situation there is calm. Are you saying that the Government’s view has not changed even after the latest incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated, there is no mistake that the situation in Juba is calm. We are currently collecting information regarding the incident from relevant parties.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Paris Agreement. Leading countries including the United States and European countries have all completed their processes for ratification of the Paris Agreement. Conversely, while the Japanese Government attaches importance to the Paris Agreement, it is only now requesting the approval of the Diet. What is your comment to the fact that Japan’s process has been slightly delayed?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Japan attaches importance to the Paris Agreement, and has consistently taken the position that its swift ratification is essential. In this regard, Japan signed the Paris Agreement on April 22 when it was opened for signature, and has been undertaking reviews to realize the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Japan. In any case, Japan will proceed with the process and coordination work as swiftly as possible.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In regard to the ratification of the Paris Agreement, Secretary General Noda of the Democratic Party made a stump speech over the weekend, saying that the Government did not know what was going on in the world despite its calls for diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map. The Secretary General stated that the Government has proceeded in the wrong order, and expressed the view that Japan’s ratification is delayed because of the Government’s poor judgment. What is your reaction to such criticisms?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth to the criticisms. As I stated, Japan signed the Paris Agreement on April 22 when it was opened for signature, based on Japan’s position that its swift ratification is essential. At the same time, Japan has been undertaking reviews to realize the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Japan and taking other measures to ratify it as swiftly as possible.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: If you would not mind, I would like to ask a question about something that was reported at the end of last week. Late last week, it was reported that to solve the issue of dual citizenship of national public servants, the Government would send out a notice to national public servants obliging them to make efforts to renounce their foreign citizenship if they are dual citizens. Late last week, it was reported that the Government plans to send out a notice to encourage national public servants to renounce their foreign citizenship if they have dual citizenship. The interpellation sessions are taking place at the Diet, and I gather that the Government may be outlining some sort of response to this issue. Is the Government currently considering sending out a notice or taking other such measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no such intentions whatsoever.

REPORTER: When you say no intentions, you mean you have no such plans?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no such intentions whatsoever at this time. However, problems about this have been raised in the questions asked at the Diet. Therefore, it is possible that this matter will be examined and studied, including the need for such studies. It is not a done deal.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Russia. Yesterday, Presidential Press Secretary Peskov of Russia indicated that Japan and Russia would reach some type of agreement regarding the Northern Territories issue sooner or later. Does the Japanese Government share this understanding? Are the two sides finding something on which they can compromise? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of these news reports. However, I would like to say that in reality, it is not true that Japan and Russia have decided to move in such a direction.

(Abridged)

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