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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 16, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Japan-Russia summit meeting. The details of the meeting have yet to be revealed. However, what is the Government’s assessment of the meeting at this point in time based on the fact that the meeting lasted five hours in total and so on?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, yesterday, a Japan-Russia summit meeting was held for approximately five hours in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is the home prefecture of the Prime Minister. I perceive that the meeting took place in a very good atmosphere and was extremely meaningful. As regards the meeting between only the two of them, it was the longest meeting ever held between them, lasting 1 hour and 35 minutes. I understand that candid and very in-depth discussions took place regarding the unrestricted visits by former residents of the Northern Territories to their hometowns, joint economic activities on the four islands under a special arrangement of the two countries, and the issue of the peace treaty. Today, the Japan-Russia summit meeting will change venues to Tokyo. We expect that forward-looking discussions will take place in a wide range of areas including the economy. As the summit meeting has not yet ended, I ask that you please tune into the announcements to be made at today’s joint press conference by the two leaders for further information.      

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Prime Minister stated that the joint economic activities that you just mentioned would be implemented under a special arrangement. Is it feasible to conduct joint economic activities without undermining Japan’s sovereignty?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The content of the summit meeting in Nagato City is as Prime Minister Abe explained after the meeting. I understand that only the interpreters of both sides were with the two leaders, and that the leaders held candid and very in-depth discussions regarding the unrestricted visits by former residents of the Northern Territories to their hometowns, joint economic activities on the four islands under a special arrangement of the two countries, and the issue of the peace treaty. The joint economic activities on the four islands are being discussed on the premise that they would not harm Japan’s legal position. As I stated moments ago, I expect that the outcomes of the meeting will be announced at the joint press conference to be held later this afternoon.

REPORTER: A related question. Did the leaders discuss the attribution of the Four Northern Islands, in other words, the issue of sovereignty?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The discussions are taking place on the premise of not harming the legal position of Japan. I believe that is the bottom line.

REPORTER: I have a follow-up question. You mentioned earlier that the issue of the peace treaty was discussed. Are you of the understanding that the issue of the attribution of the four islands was discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that candid and very in-depth discussions took place regarding the issue of the peace treaty.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: A related question. You stated that joint activities would be conducted under a special arrangement. As of yesterday, Russia stated that the economic cooperation activities would be conducted under Russian law. Are you referring to some form of an arrangement to ensure that the position of the two countries will not be harmed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of the Russian press reports. However, we understand that the joint economic activities on the four islands will be conducted on the premise of not harming the legal position of Japan.

REPORTER: Is the special arrangement referring to an arrangement by which the activities will be conducted while maintaining the legal positions of both Russia and Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated, I expect that these details will be explained at the joint press conference.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to the visit to Pearl Harbor by a Japanese Prime Minister. Earlier there was speculation that Prime Minister Yoshida may have visited Pearl Harbor in 1951. At your press conference on the 8th, you stated that it was not confirmed whether Prime Minister Yoshida visited Pearl Harbor or not. However, it was later found that Prime Minister Yoshida’s visit to the Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Pearl Harbor was recorded in the official documents of the U.S. Navy. Following your press conference, has the Government confirmed whether Prime Minister Yoshida visited Pearl Harbor?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it is as you stated. As far as the media reports at the time and other information are concerned, then Prime Minister Yoshida visited Honolulu in 1951. It is recorded that on that occasion, then Prime Minister Yoshida paid respect to the war dead at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and visited the U.S. Pacific Command headquarters that faced Pearl Harbor at the time. In any case, the USS Arizona Memorial was not built at the time, and Prime Minister Abe will be the first sitting Japanese Prime Minister to pay respects at this memorial.


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