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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 19, 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

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Osprey aircraft. This afternoon the U.S. military in Okinawa resumed flights of the Osprey aircraft stationed at Futenma Air Station just six days after they had been grounded due to the Osprey landing accident. What is your reaction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: As stated in this morning’s press conference, I am aware that this morning the U.S. military contacted the Ministry of Defense, and in addition to explaining the cause of the landing accident and the additional measures taken on the U.S. side in response to the accident, an explanation was also provided on the resumption of flights going forward, and on this basis the flights were resumed. The U.S. explanation references the specialized knowledge of the Ministry of Defense and the Self Defense Force and was compiled rationally, and thus the resumption of Osprey flights aside from airborne refueling operations from this afternoon was recognized as understandable. In any case, going forward the Government will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure the flights of U.S. military aircraft are carried out based on the recognition that the assurance of safety is an absolute precondition.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: In regard to the current resumption of flights, the U.S. side has stated it will temporarily refrain from airborne refueling training exercises, which it states to be the cause of the accident. Has the Government received an explanation of how long the U.S. side will refrain from such exercises?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: We have received an explanation that airborne refueling will continue to be temporarily cancelled, and will be reinstated step-by-step after the completion of a sequential process including group education, confirmation of procedures, and ground-based simulations. In response, the Ministry of Defense has also requested the U.S. to share information on measures taken to prevent a similar accident from occurring before resuming airborne refueling operations, and the U.S. side has acknowledged this request. In any case, going forward we will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure the flights of U.S. military aircraft are carried out based on the recognition that the assurance of safety is an absolute precondition.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the 60th anniversary of Japan’s membership in the United Nations. At the Symposium of the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations held earlier, the Prime Minister stated that the reform of the Security Council is an urgent matter. Going forward, what role do you think the United Nations should play in the international community?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: Firstly, December 18th marked the 60th anniversary of Japan’s membership in the United Nations. The United Nations plays a critical role in a variety of areas such as the preservation of international peace and safety, development, human rights, climate change, disarmament and nonproliferation, and terrorism. We also expect the United Nations will continue to play a major role in these areas under Mr. António Guterres, who will assume his position as the new Secretary-General in January of next year. Furthermore, Japan believes the United Nations has come to play a vital role in the preservation of international peace and safety, and the other areas I have just mentioned.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. The Prime Minister additionally stated that Japan would fulfill even greater responsibilities as a permanent member of the Security Council. How do you see Japan contributing to the United Nations going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: Japan will continue proactively contributing to the resolution of the aforementioned global issues, and will continue working closely with the United Nations in addition to driving reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Russia relations. In the public opinion survey carried out by the Sankei Shimbun and other organizations, in regard to the summit meeting in which the Prime Minister and President Putin agreed to joint economic activities, while 63.9% answered, “I approve,” only 26.5% answered, “It will advance the resolution of territorial issues,” while 69% disagreed. What is the Government’s reaction to this public opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY: I would like to refrain from commenting on individual results of the public opinion survey. However, an in-depth discussion took place between the two leaders at the recently held Japan-Russia summit meeting regarding the issue of the peace treaty and furthermore the cooperative economic activities on the four islands of the Northern Territories that will take place under a special arrangement established by the two countries. As for the result, which I believe you have seen, within the press conference the two leaders demonstrated their arrival at the understanding that beginning negotiations on cooperative economic activities will be a major step toward the conclusion of a peace treaty, as well as their serious determination to resolve the peace treaty issue. Concluding a peace treaty that could not be reached for the past 70 years is no ordinary matter, but I believe a major step was finally taken in the recent summit meeting.


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