Wednesday, January 11, 2017 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
The Government is making arrangements for Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress to visit Vietnam this spring. The Government has also decided to make arrangements for Their Majesties to make a stop in Thailand on their return journey from Vietnam, in order to offer their condolences on the demise of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last year.
In addition, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam from January 12 to 17. During this visit the Prime Minister will hold meetings with the leaders and senior officials of each country. Through this visit the Prime Minister will seek to further strengthen cooperative relations with each country and emphasize the importance of partnership among the major countries of the Asia-Pacific that are responsible for ensuring a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Prime Minister’s overseas visit that you just announced. A point of concern that is shared by all the countries the Prime Minister will be visiting on this occasion is the issue of the South China Sea, where China continues to make assertive maritime advances. How will the Prime Minister be seeking to further strengthen cooperation with these countries in the area of maritime security?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, the Prime Minister will be seeking to further strengthen cooperative relations with each country and emphasize the importance of partnership among such countries, which are all responsible for ensuring a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the naming of the statue to the comfort women in the Republic of Korea (ROK). To date the Government has referred to the statue as the “statue of a girl.” However, some people have pointed out that this naming is inappropriate as it gives the impression that if the statue is merely one of a girl, it should be acceptable for it to be installed anywhere. It has also been noted that the Government of the ROK uses similar nomenclature when speaking about this issue internationally, seeking to dilute the political intent behind the statue. Could you tell us of the view of the Government with regard to the naming of the statue?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Including in yesterday’s press conference I have consistently used the phrase “statue (of a girl) to the comfort women.” That is the phrase that the Government will continue to use going forward.
REPORTER: So the Government will not be using any other naming going forward?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yesterday I confirmed the use of the phrase “statue to the comfort women” and that is all there is to this matter.