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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 6, 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 Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(Abridged)

Q&As

REPORTER: It has been announced that the Prime Minister will visit Hawaii at the end of the month and pay respects to the victims of the Pearl Harbor attack. Can I ask about the aims and purpose of this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been announced that Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Hawaii on December 26 and 27, where a Japan-US Summit Meeting will be held to sum up the Japan-US cooperation built through the efforts of Prime Minister Abe and President Barack Obama over the past four years, in addition to which the two leaders will also visit Pearl Harbor to pay their respects. The details of the visit will continue to be coordinated from now. It is expected that this visit will provide a valuable opportunity to recognize anew the firm, future-oriented Japan-US Alliance and send out a strong message to the world about the contribution that the Japan-US Alliance, as an “Alliance of Hope,” makes to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the international community.

REPORTER: What impact do you think the Prime Minister’s visit to Pearl Harbor will have on relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Trump?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just mentioned, I believe that the visit will be of great significance and play an extremely important role in recognizing anew the firm, future-oriented Japan-US Alliance and underlining the strength of Japan-US cooperation as an “Alliance of Hope.”

REPORTER: Is the Prime Minister expected to offer an apology during his visit to Pearl Harbor?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister’s thoughts on the Second World War were fully expressed in the statement that was issued in August last year on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. The visit to Hawaii is to offer prayers for the repose of the souls of those who perished and not to apologize. It is expected that the Prime Minister’s visit will provide a valuable opportunity to express a strong and future-oriented resolve to never again repeat the devastation of war and also to show the significance of the reconciliation between Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: Did the Prime Minister make the decision to visit Pearl Harbor himself, or was there a request from the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The initiative for this visit came from the Prime Minister himself, out of a desire to pay respects to those who perished in the war and demonstrate a future-oriented resolve to never again repeat the devastation of war. At the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Prime Minister Abe and President Obama agreed on the visit.

REPORTER: When did considerations first begin on making this visit and what was it that prompted such considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, the final decision was made at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting. I imagine that the fact that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was also in the Prime Minister’s mind.

REPORTER: You have noted that specific details concerning the visit have yet to be considered and coordinated. At the current point, however, the White House has announced that the summit meeting will take place on December 27 and that the leaders will visit the USS Arizona Memorial together. Is the current plan for the summit meeting and visit to Pearl Harbor to take place on December 27?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point the schedule is for the visit to take place on December 27, local time, which would be December 28 in Japan. The final details have yet to be confirmed.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Prior to the realization of this upcoming visit, the visit to Hiroshima by President Obama was realized, so did the visit to Hiroshima by a United States President in any way lead to the decision to visit Hawaii?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no connection between this visit and President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. As I have already noted, this visit is to offer prayers for the repose of the souls of those who perished, express resolve to never again repeat the devastation of war and also to show the significance of the reconciliation between Japan and the United States. It was with these matters in mind that the Prime Minister and President Obama decided to make the visit.

REPORTER: You have stated that Japan and the United States seek to send a message to the world. Given that Pearl Harbor is also the place where the surprise raid by Japan triggered war between the two nations, based on this history what message are Japan and the United States seeking to send out to the world?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Assessments of historical occurrences are best left to scholars of history to discuss.

REPORTER: White House Press Secretary Earnest has indicated that both Prime Minister Abe and President Obama may express their sentiments on their visit to Pearl Harbor. Could you tell us at the current stage what kind of sentiments are likely to be expressed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The visit is being made to pay respects to the souls of those who perished and Prime Minister Abe is engaging in final preparations for such a visit.

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