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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 14, 2017 (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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Kumamoto Earthquake. Today, Prime Minister Abe stated in the discussions he held with the affected people in Mashiki Town that he would like to develop a housing system. This system would allow disaster victims to choose from a list, housing options that are in line with their respective situations, such as reconstruction housing and public housing for disaster victims. Disaster victims and local mayors have also voiced their wishes regarding housing. What efforts is the Government thinking of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, today, in Kumamoto, the Prime Minister listened to disaster victims' wishes to move to permanent housing as soon as possible where they will be able to live with a peace of mind, and stated that the Government will make efforts to ensure that they can move to permanent housing that is in line with their respective situations. The Government understands that it is vital to secure housing that would allow disaster victims to live with a peace of mind. The Government, in cooperation with cities, towns, villages, and the prefecture, will work to make this a reality while carefully listening to the respective wishes of the affected people, including listening to their housing wishes, offering counseling on rebuilding their homes, and swiftly building public housing for disaster victims.

REPORTER: I have a related question. During this discussion, Governor Kabashima of Kumamoto Prefecture requested support for efforts that are more oriented towards development which looks ahead to the future, i.e., in the form of creative reconstruction. What form of supports is the Government considering?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I myself have not heard about this "creative reconstruction" firsthand. At the very least, I gather that it refers to reconstruction that offers hope for the future. I believe this is reconstruction that presents a vision for the future, such that people can continue to live in the affected areas knowing that there are places to work and so on. Working-level officials attended today's discussion. We will receive their thorough reports on what was discussed, and based on that the Government will make utmost efforts to offer such supports.

REPORTER: Recently there have been incidents in which liquid was splashed at shrines in various areas of Japan, including Meiji Jingu. There is speculation that the culprits are foreign nationals. Such damages will likely increase as more foreign visitors come to Japan. What is your view in this regard? Is the Government considering any countermeasures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Can you repeat your question one more time?

REPORTER: Does the Government intend to take any countermeasures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are of course aware of the articles in newspapers and other sources about various liquids being splashed at such shrines. In the last four years, we have been able to increase the number of foreign nationals visiting Japan from 8.3 million people to 24 million people. While I suppose the rate of various crimes will increase going forward, there has actually been a slight decline in crimes because of the hard work of the security authorities. Even with the number of foreign nationals visiting Japan tripling, we have seen a slight decline in crimes. In any case, when such incidents do occur, we will continue to steadily crack down on such crimes and make efforts to prevent them. At the very least, I can say as a fact that crimes have slightly decreased after the number of foreign visitors increased from 8.3 million to 24 million. On this basis, I believe the Ministry of Justice and police authorities are hard at work to provide security. Under such circumstances, those incidents took place. At any event, the arrest warrants have been issued for Chinese nationals in connection with such an incident that has been published in newspapers.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan-ROK relations. It has been 10 days since the Government returned Ambassador Nagamine to the Republic of Korea (ROK). Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida has stated that in returning to his duties, the Ambassador needs to urge Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn to comply with the Japan-ROK agreement and ensure that the next administration upholds the agreement. Since then has a date been decided for a meeting between the Ambassador and Acting President Hwang?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the meeting, the schedule is now being arranged. In any case, the Ambassador is actively exchanging views with senior officials of the Government of the ROK. At the same time, the Ambassador has been briefed about North Korea on several occasions from the Commander of U.S. Forces Korea and relevant bureaus of the ROK Government. My understanding is that he is fulfilling his role as an ambassador.

REPORTER: I have a follow-up question. It is reported that the ROK Government has not agreed to a meeting between Mr. Hwang and Ambassador Nagamine because, even while the date of the meeting is still being coordinated, the Japanese Government made comments about the meeting publicly. The ROK Government reportedly finds this to be inappropriate and has expressed its displeasure. Can you please share the Japanese Government's understanding, that is, whether there are any aspects of the ROK's claims that Japan should consider?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will persistently urge the ROK to steadily address the issue of the comfort women statues and other matters. Our stance has not changed at all.

REPORTER: The ROK claims that it is inappropriate that the Japanese Government made statements as such before deciding on the date of the meeting. Does the Government find any part of this claim to be reasonable?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are not aware of the specific details. We understand that since returning, Ambassador Nagamine has been collecting a variety of information and dealing with the situation, given that a presidential election will be held and a new president would be inaugurated.

(Abridged)

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