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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 28, 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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda

(Abridged)

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I would like to make an announcement regarding the visit to Japan by Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an Official Visit to Japan of Prime Minister Modi from November 10 to 12. During his stay in Japan, the Prime Minister will be received in audience by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. In addition, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with the Prime Minister and host a dinner in his honor. Japan and India are two major democratic nations in Asia that share universal values and strategic interests. The Japan-India relationship is blessed with the largest potential for development of any bilateral relationship anywhere in the world. During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India in December of last year, significant achievements were made in areas such as politics and security, the economy and economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges, and the two sides confirmed that it marked the beginning of a “new era in Japan-India relations.” Japan expects that Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan will advance the Special Strategic and Global Partnership suitable for the “new era in Japan-India relations” and further deepen the ties and cooperative relations between the two countries.

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding yesterday’s second meeting of the Advisory Council on Easing the Burden of the Official Duties and Public Activities of His Majesty the Emperor. The Advisory Council decided on the 16 people with whom an interview will be conducted. What is your opinion on the selection of these people? In addition, can you tell us what discussions you expect will be yielded by the interviews? 

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Constitution specifies that the Emperor derives his position from the will of the people. Bearing this in mind, the Advisory Council will conduct an interview with people who have a variety of expertise. In addition, the Advisory Council will distill and communicate to the people the challenges and issues to further deepen the discussion. In doing so, the Advisory Council will compile a proposal that reflects the wide-ranging opinions of the people. As regards the people selected for the interview who were announced yesterday, we perceive that a balanced group of people was selected, fully taking into account the purpose of the Advisory Council, so that a broad range of opinions can be received from people who have various expertise, including on the imperial system, history, and the Constitution—areas which are closely intertwined with the issue in question.  

REPORTER: The First Committee of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” with 123 members voting in favor of it. Japan voted against it. Victims of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as opposition parties urged the Government to endorse this draft resolution. Why did Japan vote against it?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: First of all, the basic position of Japan is that in order to realize a world free of nuclear weapons, it is essential to advance concrete and practical measures through cooperation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, on the basis of a clear understanding of the humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and an objective assessment of the severe security environment. Based on this position, at the meeting of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Japan urged the international community to support Japan’s draft resolution on “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” As a result, approximately 110 members including the United States became co-sponsors, and the draft resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority of 167 in favor out of all members. We believe this goes to show that the draft resolution submitted by Japan outlines a path towards a world free of nuclear weapons that both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states are striving for. As for the draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations,” Japan voted against it after making a careful consideration. Japan deemed that under the present circumstances in which nuclear and missile development by North Korea and other states are becoming more serious, this draft resolution only further encourages confrontations between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states unnecessarily, and is not in line with the basic view of Japan of aiming for a world free of nuclear weapons by advancing concrete and practical measures. In any case, Japan is committed to continuing to undertake maximum efforts to make steady progress one step at a time towards a world free of nuclear weapons.   

REPORTER: I have a related question. The United States voted in favor of the draft resolution submitted by the Government of Japan. Accordingly, some view that the United States voted in favor of Japan’s resolution in return for Japan voting against the draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.” What was the actual situation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Japan voted against it for the reasons I outlined earlier. There is nothing of the sort you stated.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Russia. At a meeting held in Sochi on the 27th, President Putin of Russia stated that it is impossible and even harmful to set a deadline for concluding a peace treaty with Japan. In addition, the President expressed the view that a relationship of trust has not been fully established between Japan and Russia. Is the Government aware of the President’s remarks?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: We are aware that such remarks were made.

REPORTER: In the past, Japan and Russia have taken the approach of aiming to conclude a peace treaty by setting a deadline between the two countries, such as the Krasnoyarsk Agreement. Is the Japanese Government considering this idea at this time?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Prime Minister Abe and President Putin have already shared the recognition that it is unnatural that the two countries have not concluded a peace treaty even now, more than 70 years since the end of World War II. The two leaders have already expressed their determination to conclude a peace treaty by reaching a final solution to the territorial issue that is acceptable to both sides. In this context, Japan will continue to persistently proceed with the negotiations in accordance with our policy of concluding a peace treaty by settling the issue of the return of the four islands. While I am not fully aware of what the nature of this meeting was, at the very least Japan and Russia have held a series of talks at the official level of Japan-Russia summit meeting, and Japan will continue to further engage in negotiations based on our relationship of trust.

REPORTER: A related question. At the meetings of the Budget Committee and elsewhere, Prime Minister Abe expressed forward-looking views that the negotiations on the peace treaty would be advanced at the summit meeting in Yamaguchi in December. On the other hand, President Putin has expressed a cautious outlook at the recent meeting. One can say there is a difference in perception between the Japanese and Russian leaders. What is the view of the Japanese Government in this regard?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: This is a matter that the two leaders will of course discuss frankly at the official level of the summit meeting. As the underlying situation of the two countries is different, I believe it is inevitable that there will be differences in views before embarking on the meeting. In any case, we regard that we will be able to move the discussion forward at the meeting, and our enthusiasm to this end is as stated by the Prime Minister from before.

(Abridged)

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