Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  October 2016 >  October 28, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 28, 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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the draft resolution on nuclear weapons. At the meeting of the First Committee of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, a draft resolution on “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” was adopted with 123 members voting in favor of it. However, Japan, the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings, voted against the draft resolution. I understand this has sparked criticisms from non-nuclear-weapon states and others. What comments does the Japanese Government have in response to these criticisms?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I would like everybody to understand the following. We see the cooperation of nuclear-weapon states as necessary for realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. Notwithstanding this, none of the nuclear-weapon states, i.e., the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China, were involved in this draft resolution since its preparation. In the end, four nuclear-weapon states voted against it, and one nuclear-weapon state abstained. None of the nuclear-weapon states voted in favor of it. We regard that this sort of approach may further deepen the rift between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states and move us further away from realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. At the same time, Japan, in order to act as a bridge between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states to promote their cooperation, is advancing practical and concrete nuclear disarmament measures that can be taken also by nuclear-weapon-states. The draft resolution on “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons” submitted by Japan takes our position into account. 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. It demonstrates that the draft resolution submitted by Japan outlines a path towards a world free of nuclear weapons. 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. Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida stated at his press conference following the Cabinet meeting that he would like to actively participate in the negotiations and advocate what needs to be advocated. I gather that the Foreign Minister was expressing the view that Japan should take part in the UN meetings that negotiate legal measures banning nuclear weapons. What is the view of the Government with regard to Japan’s participation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, at Minister Kishida’s press conference following the Cabinet meeting, I understand the Minister stated that the Government as a whole would review its response including whether or not it will participate in the negotiations. After saying this, the Minister expressed his view as the Foreign Minister that, at this stage, he considers that Japan should participate actively in the negotiations and fully advocate what needs to be advocated based on Japan’s position which emphasizes cooperation between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, as the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings. In any case, the Government as a whole will review how it will respond to the negotiations. In any case, Japan will undertake maximum efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. Japan will work to eliminate nuclear weapons by positioning itself between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to Japan-Russia relations. President Putin of Russia stated that a deadline cannot be set for concluding a peace treaty with Japan, that this was impossible. With President Putin scheduled to visit Japan in December, how does the Japanese Government construe these remarks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware that these remarks were made. Prime Minister Abe and the President have a shared recognition that it is unnatural that the two countries have not concluded a peace treaty even now, 71 years since the end of World War II. The two leaders have 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 persistently proceed with the negotiations in accordance with our basic policy of concluding a peace treaty by settling the issue of the return of the four islands. This has not changed at all.

REPORTER: I have a related question. At the same meeting, Mr. Putin stated that there was a profound level of trust between Russia and China when they settled their territorial issue, and went onto say that regrettably the relationship with Japan has not reached that level. Prime Minister Abe has held a series of summit meetings with President Putin, and I gather he is quite confident that trust has been built up between the two countries. Do you believe that there is a difference in perception between the two leaders?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe so. At their meetings, the two leaders shared the recognition that it is unnatural that the two countries do not have a peace treaty even now, more than 70 years since the end of the war, and have agreed to reach a solution that is acceptable to both sides. I gather that they have expressed a strong determination to conclude a peace treaty.

REPORTER: At the same time, Russia’s expectations are building quite substantially for the eight-point economic cooperation that the Japanese Government proposed. I understand that Minister Seko’s visit to Russia and other activities are being coordinated. How exactly will the Government be coordinating this economic cooperation to ensure that it contributes to building up trust between the two countries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The two leaders agreed at the summit meeting that the two countries would substantiate the eight-point cooperation plan. So I believe we are talking about the same thing.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. It is in connection with President Putin’s remarks. Does the Japanese Government share the view that a deadline should not be established for the negotiations to conclude a peace treaty? Can you please share your understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will negotiate persistently to conclude a peace treaty by settling the issue of the return of the four islands. We naturally hold the view that territorial negotiations and the conclusion of a peace treaty are not things that can be done easily and immediately.

REPORTER: Time and again the Prime Minister has expressed his determination to settle the Northern Territories issue while he is in office. Is there no change to the intention of aiming to conclude a peace treaty during the Prime Minister’s term of office? What is your understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no change whatsoever.

(Abridged)

Page Top

Related Link