Friday, March 17, 2017 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Germany, France, the European Union (EU) and Italy from March 19 to 22. Through these visits the Prime Minister is seeking to engage in a frank and candid exchange of opinions with the leaders of each country and organization about bilateral relations and global challenges, and confirm that Japan and Europe will continue to work together to contribute to regional and global peace and prosperity. As the previous Chair of the G7 summit Prime Minister Abe is also scheduled to engage in an exchange of opinions with leaders ahead of this year's G7 Summit, which will be held in Taormina, Italy in May. In addition, during the Prime Minister's visit to Germany, at the invitation of Chancellor Merkel of Germany, the Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the world's largest information and telecommunications trade fair , which is being held in Hannover.
Today a Cabinet order was approved pertaining to the establishment of the Integrated Resort Promotion Headquarters on March 24, which is stipulated in the Law on the Promotion of Integrated Resorts that was passed at the end of last year with regard to so-called integrated resorts. The first meeting of the Promotion Headquarters will be held as soon as it is ready. In the Cabinet meeting Minister Ishii made a statement requesting cooperation from the ministers concerned with regard to considerations that will take place in the Integrated Resort Promotion Headquarters. With regard to the issue of gambling addiction, at the end of last year "the Ministerial Meeting on the Promotion of Countermeasures on Addictions of Gambling and the like" was established and the Government intends to establish the necessary measures in a thorough and comprehensive manner. The Government will respond appropriately to deliberations and supplementary resolutions in the Diet with regard to the Law on the Promotion of Integrated Resorts, including countermeasures to deal with addiction issues.
The Government has designated March 18 as Cyber Awareness Day and the period from February 1 to March 18 as Cyber Security Awareness Month in order to further raise public awareness and increase knowledge regarding cyber security. During this period the Government has implemented various initiatives focused on cyber security. Today a competition-style training session will be held with the participation of representatives from the Cabinet Office and 12 ministries and agencies in order to enhance the Government's practical capacity to respond to cyberattacks against Government organizations.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning missile-related evacuation drills. Against the backdrop of successive ballistic missile launches by North Korea, today the Government implemented the first-ever evacuation drill with the participation of residents in Oga City in Akita Prefecture, in preparation for a contingency in which a missile falls on Japanese territory. Can I ask for a comment about this training exercise and its purpose?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This training drill was implemented jointly by the Government and Oga City, Akita Prefecture, based on the premise that a ballistic missile had been launched. In the drill the Government sent information to Oga City using the J-ALERT national instant warning system and the Oga City authorities conveyed this information to residents using the city's disaster management radio network and sending out e-mails to registered residents. Upon receiving the information residents then conducted an indoor evacuation drill, moving to civic halls and elementary schools in the city. The Government recognizes that it is important to enhance public understanding about what to do in the event that information about a ballistic missile launch is sent out and in that sense the training implemented today was extremely important.
REPORTER: I have a question relating to integrated resorts. In a press conference Minister Ishii has stated that the headquarters that is to be established will be headed by the Prime Minister, and it has been announced that both Minister Ishii and yourself will serve as vice chairs. Can you tell us the aim of these appointments?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is a matter that concerns the Government as a whole I have been appointed as a vice chair of the headquarters.
REPORTER: I have another question concerning integrated resorts. You have stated that the Integrated Resort Promotion Headquarters will be established on March 24 and that the first meeting will be held once preparations have been completed. What sort of discussions do you expect will take place in the first meeting?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The specific date for the first meeting has yet to be decided and the Government will continue to consider when it will be held. The supplementary resolution to the Law on the Promotion of Integrated Resorts stipulates that there should be sufficient national discussion on this matter and it also refers frequently to concerns about integrated resorts. The Government will proceed while bearing such considerations in mind.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the daily reports related to peacekeeping operations (PKO) in South Sudan. It has been reported that although the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) still has data of daily reports of PKO, despite having first said that the data had been disposed of, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff Office of the Ministry of Defense (MOD) ordered that the reports should not be released. Is the Government aware of the facts behind these reports?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is aware of the reports, but is not aware of any of the matters that have been reported in the press, which, if true, could seriously undermine public trust in the MOD and SDF. It is in light of the seriousness of this matter that Defense Minister Inada has taken responsibility for ordering a thorough investigation from a highly independent standpoint separate from that of the GSDF . The minister has instructed the Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance, which is under her direct control and is headed by a former superintending prosecutor and is also served by active prosecutors, to conduct a special defense inspection . In any event, I expect that under Defense Minister Inada a thorough investigation will be quickly conducted and the results made publicly available and that if the results indicate some kind of a cover-up by the MOD or SDF, appropriate improvements will be made. Minister Inada is dealing strictly with this matter.
REPORTER: I have a further related question. Defense Minister Inada has herself stated that if the MOD or SDF is found to have a culture of cover-up, appropriate improvements will be made . I asked a similar question yesterday, but do you feel that there have been any problems to date with the structures at the MOD?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: If the matters being reported in the press are true this would seriously undermine public trust in the MOD and SDF. It is therefore of primary importance to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter, led by the highly independent Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance. The results of this thorough investigation will be reported in due course. As the investigation is still underway I would like to refrain from making any further comment.