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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 5, 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: Prime Minister Renzi of Italy has announced his resignation, which has added a further element for instability within the European Union (EU). What is the Government’s view of this latest development?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that Prime Minister Renzi has announced his resignation following the results of a national referendum in which proposals for constitutional amendment were rejected. As this is a matter that concerns the domestic affairs of another country, I would like to refrain from making any comment. In any event, the Government will continue to monitor political developments in Italy and continue to engage in close cooperation with Italy as an important partner with which Japan shares fundamental values and which will also take on the presidency of the G7 next year.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As you have just mentioned, Italy will take on the presidency of the G7 next year, so what is the Government’s analysis concerning the potential impact on the global economy of the Italian Prime Minister’s resignation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the global economy, the Government will respond by engaging in robust cooperation with the G7 countries and others.

REPORTER: Given that this referendum result follows closely after the victory of Mr. Trump in the U.S. presidential election, it could be perceived that this shows that moves are quickening to overturn the existing political order. What are your views on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it to be the case that circumstances differ from country to country. Whatever the case, Mr. Trump has not yet been inaugurated as president and as global affairs are very important for Japan we will continue to thoroughly monitor developments.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the number of days that Prime Minister Abe has been in office. As of today, December 5, Prime Minister Abe’s cumulative days in office have surpassed the length of service of the Nakasone Cabinet, putting him in the position of fourth-longest serving Prime Minister in the postwar period. Can I ask for a comment from the Government about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that as of today the Prime Minister Abe has been in office for 1,807 days, meaning that he overtakes former Prime Minister Nakasone to become the fourth-longest serving Prime Minister in the postwar period. The Abe administration has always been keen to engage in reforms and has made clear what it intends to do, taking political leadership in executing reforms. The administration has concentrated its efforts every day on achieving results and I believe that it is thanks to this stance that the administration has served for such a lengthy period.

REPORTER: Almost four years have passed since the inauguration of the second Abe Cabinet, and even now approval ratings in opinion polls remain at very high levels of around 60 percent. What are your thoughts about the primary reason for this level of support being maintained for so long?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the fact that the Government has such a high rate of support among the public, as I always say, it is better to have a higher approval rating than a lower one. To date the administration has engaged in reforms based on the stance that it is only natural for the people to expect that we will without fail move to implement the initiatives we are working on and the pledges we have made. Take, for example, the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets and the Legislation for Peace and Security. When we were aiming to achieve the passage of these bills, it was recognized that they may not work in our favor in terms of election results or the impact they could have on approval ratings. Nonetheless, as these laws were of the utmost importance for protecting the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people of Japan, we worked to achieve their passage through the Diet. During this year, North Korea has implemented two nuclear tests and more than 20 missile launches, which have demonstrated the significant deterrence role of this legislation in the face of such provocative actions and security crises. It is on this basis that I believe the Government’s actions have been understood and evaluated highly by the people. I believe that it is important for the Government to engage whole-heartedly in such work each and every day.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different issue, concerning relations with Russia. In Foreign Minister Kishida’s meeting with Russia Foreign Minister Lavrov last weekend, although it was confirmed that cooperation will be advanced in a broad range of economic and other areas, the two countries’ respective stances on territorial issues remained some way apart. What are your views about the outcomes of this meeting, given that the Japan-Russia summit meeting is scheduled to start on December 15?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The recent foreign ministers’ meeting was held in order to make final preparations ahead of the visit to Japan by President Putin in two weeks’ time. Foreign Minister Kishida clearly conveyed the concepts of Japan about what would be necessary to ensure meaningful outcomes at the summit meeting to the mutual satisfaction of both sides, including on territorial issues and the issue of concluding a peace treaty. Foreign Minister Kishida engaged in discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov and it was a significant meeting that will link through to the upcoming Japan-Russia summit meeting. In specific terms, the two ministers spent a great deal of time engaged in discussions on the issue of concluding a peace treaty and I have received a report that serious and in-depth discussions were held ahead of the summit meeting in Yamaguchi. In terms of the regional situation and the issue of North Korea, I am aware that the two ministers welcomed the adoption of the new United Nations Security Council resolution and confirmed that Japan and Russia will cooperate closely in steadily implementing the new resolution and working to ensure that North Korea abandons its nuclear and missile development programs.

(Abridged)

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