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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 12, 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: The tenth meeting of the Cybersecurity Strategic Headquarters was held today. During the previous ordinary Diet session, the amended Basic Act on Cybersecurity was passed in response to an extremely malicious cyber-attack on Japan Pension Service, which led to the leak of personal information. Pursuant to the amended Basic Act, members at today’s meeting decided on a new list of special corporations and authorized corporations that the Headquarters designate for audit from the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC). In addition, views were exchanged regarding an outline of the revisions of the Basic Policy of Critical Information Infrastructure Protection, aimed at strengthening the measures for the protection of critical infrastructure looking ahead to Japan’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.  

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding South Sudan. It has been reported that the Government will decide next month whether the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) participating in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) in South Sudan would be assigned new tasks such as “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid of a geographically distant unit or personnel under attack). This decision was initially expected to be made by the end of this month. What is the current status of the Government’s consideration of this matter? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the SDF is now undergoing the training necessary for this new task of kaketsuke-keigo. The Government will make a comprehensive judgment on whether any tasks will be assigned to the units to be dispatched for PKO in South Sudan, based on a careful review of the situation there and the progress of the training. In any case, nothing is decided in regard to when the decision will be made about the new tasks and what they will entail. 

REPORTER: I have a related question. In yesterday’s press conference, you stated that from what you have heard the situation there is calm. The Government’s perception of the security situation in South Sudan has not changed since then?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated at my recent press conference, on October 8, vehicles carrying civilians were ambushed on an arterial road that connects the capital city of Juba and Yei in Central Equatoria State. We are aware of this. At the same time, we have been briefed that the situation is calm in Juba where the SDF is operating. The Government will continue to closely monitor the situation there with a sense of urgency. 

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the situation in North Korea. Chairman Kim Jong-un’s birthday, which was considered a weekday in North Korea up till now, is now identified as an official day of commemoration. What is your analysis of North Korea’s objective?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have no idea. Please ask North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a related question. North Korea did not engage in a provocation on the anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea two days ago. However, the U.S.-ROK combined military exercise will continue until the 15th. What is your outlook on the chances that North Korea will go ahead with a provocation of some sort between now and then?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is closely monitoring the situation in North Korea with a sense of urgency. The Government is committed to collecting and analyzing all kinds of information, and at the same time, is taking responses in coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea. However, I would like to refrain from responding about the details.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture had commented that he welcomed the Government’s policy of aiming to realize the return of the majority of the land of the Northern Training Area of the U.S. Forces by the end of the year. However, yesterday, Governor Onaga told the press that his comment had been inappropriate. It was after meeting with you at the official residence of the Governor that Governor Onaga said to the press that he welcomed the policy of the Government. What is your reaction to Governor Onaga’s remark about his comment being inappropriate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not really sure what brought about this. I suggest that you ask Governor Onaga. It is not something I should be answering as a spokesperson of the Government.

REPORTER: A related question. With regard to the policy of aiming to have the land of the Northern Training Area returned by year-end, Governor Onaga also told the press that he was against the relocation of helipads to Takae for use by the Osprey. How will the Government gain the understanding of the Governor in proceeding with the work to realize the land return by year-end?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was originally decided between Japan and the United States 20 years ago. There is no change whatsoever to the Government’s commitment to proceed with this while providing careful explanations to the community. When I visited Okinawa in August of last year, the mayors of Higashi and Kunigami Villages that are home to the Northern Training Area requested the return of the land as quickly as possible, as well as its designation as a national park and subsequent inscription on the World Natural Heritage List. We are currently undertaking maximum efforts to realize the return by the end of the year by every possible way, including what was requested. Doing so will decrease the share of U.S. military bases in Okinawa Prefecture by approximately 20%, leading to a significant mitigation of impact. We will take steady steps to fulfill the expectations.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the Government is considering setting up a new scheme in FY2017 to support employees who are receiving infertility treatment while remaining in their jobs. Can you please tell us if this is true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are increasingly more people who want to have children but whose wish has not been fulfilled. For their wish to come true, the Government recognizes that it is essential to support their infertility treatment. Accordingly, the Government has expanded the relevant subsidy scheme in last fiscal year’s supplementary budget. In addition, we will be reinforcing our efforts, including enhancing consulting functions by establishing infertility counseling centers in all prefectures, designated cities, and core cities by FY2019. Furthermore, in accordance with Japan’s Plan for Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, we will conduct fact-finding surveys next fiscal year of people who are receiving infertility treatment while maintaining their careers, in order to find out their situation, such as what aspects they struggle with and what their hardships are. On this basis, the Government will provide the necessary supports to allow people to receive infertility treatment while continuing to work.   

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Russia relations. Some parts of the media have reported that in December Russia seeks to hold a meeting in Tokyo in addition to the bilateral summit meeting in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and that the Japanese and Russian Governments are proceeding with the arrangements. Is this true? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, it has been decided that President Putin will visit Yamaguchi Prefecture on December 15. Everything else has not been decided yet.


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