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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 19, 2017 (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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the general election in the United Kingdom. Yesterday, Prime Minister May expressed her intention to hold a snap election on June 8 to confirm the direction of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union with its citizens. First of all, how does the Japanese Government perceive this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Government is aware that on April 18, U.K. time, Prime Minister May expressed her intention to hold a snap election on June 8. As a representative of the Japanese Government I would like to refrain from commenting on the internal politics of other countries, but we will closely monitor the developments pertaining to the snap election and the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU. In particular, the relevant ministries will continue working to gather the information I indicated in the meeting of the Government's  task force regarding the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union held on March 30. Furthermore, the Government will continue sharing appropriate information with and supporting Japanese enterprises, and calling on the United Kingdom and the European Union to take the necessary actions as appropriate.

REPORTER: I have a related question regarding the task-force you just mentioned. What is your view on the impact Prime Minister May's recent decision will have on the management of Japanese enterprises?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: While Prime Minister May has declared a snap election, it will not be held without the agreement of two-thirds of the Parliament. We intend to respond to the situation after confirming the result and the ensuing developments. Therefore we have not assumed what the impact will be at this stage.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Materials related to comfort women were submitted to the Cabinet Secretariat recently. The materials were submitted by the National Archives of Japan, and experts have stated that within the 182 points of the materials, there are descriptions which demonstrate the participation of the military and enforced enlistment. Please share the Government's position on whether the contents of the materials show proof of the enforced enlistment of comfort women.

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Government is aware the National Archives of Japan provided a report of documents relating to comfort women to the Cabinet Secretariat on February 3 of this year, based on a notification by the Head of the Cabinet Foreign Affairs Office made in 1996, covering documents transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the National Archives of Japan in 1999. We recognize that all the materials you referred to have already been made public, and that none of the materials uncovered by the Government thus far, including the mentioned materials, show any direct indication of so-called forced enlistment by the military or officials. It is difficult to carry out detailed investigations of individual cases of the actual circumstances of the time, including the factuality of individual cases, beyond what is recorded in the documents, but in any case we do not consider the recent materials to show any direct indication of systematic so-called forced enlistment by the military in the recruitment of comfort women.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Does the Government plan to carry out further scrutiny of the materials recently presented?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: As I have just stated, the Government considers it difficult to carry out detailed investigations of individual cases of the actual circumstances of the time, including the factuality of individual cases, beyond what is recorded in the documents.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask one further question. Recently, in a written response by the Cabinet to a question from the Diet, it was stated that Hitler's "Mein Kampf" may be used as long as it is for beneficial purposes within textbooks. Yesterday, however, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a presentation to the effect that it was utterly regrettable that the Japanese Government would use such a book as part of the textbooks for its students. Please share the reality of the situation, including whether there is any case of the book actually being used within Japan.

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Regarding the use of materials aside from textbooks, so-called supplementary materials in schools, it is stipulated under Article 34 Paragraph 2 of the School Education Law that, as long as they are useful and appropriate, and comply with the spirit of the School Education Law and other relevant standards, supplementary materials may be used based on the decision and responsibility of the principal or founder of the school. The Government is aware of examples of lessons where a portion of "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler is quoted in educational materials to provoke thought on the historical background of the time the book was written. If I may elaborate further, these examples use the book in a negative context rather than in an affirmative manner. On the other hand, if, hypothetically, there was a case of the book being used to affirm discrimination based on ethnicity, it would not comply with the School Education Law and other relevant standards, and would clearly be inappropriate. In the unlikely event that a case of such instruction were being carried out, we believe the founder or presiding authority should deal with it severely.

REPORTER: If I may return to the matter of comfort women, by what reasoning does the Government conclude that the materials do not indicate forced enlistment?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Regarding the official documents that have been publicized thus far, based on a thorough investigation by the Government, we have determined that there is no indication of forced enlistment, as we have already announced. That is all there is to the matter.

REPORTER: Previously, we received an explanation from the staff that the Government interpreted the Indonesian case on the basis of there being no systematic orders from the military. Does that interpretation apply this time as well?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Unfortunately, I am not aware of the specifics of the Indonesian case.

REPORTER: If I may return to the topic of the United Kingdom, there are some reports in the press that the Prime Minister plans to pay a visit to the United Kingdom during the upcoming public holidays. Has there been any impact on the schedule?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Prime Minister's overseas itinerary during the extended holiday period has not been announced yet and I would therefore like to refrain from discussing the details at the current time.

REPORTER: There are reports that training utilizing Osprey aircraft will take place in August, in Hokkaido, at Eniwa Training Area and Yausubetsu Training Area. Has anything been decided in this regard?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I am aware of these reports. The situation is as it was stated by the Chief Cabinet Secretary in last Friday's press conference. Nevertheless, if I may reiterate, Japan and the United States are constantly considering a wide variety of matters relating to Japan-U.S. joint training operations. However, as this pertains to Japan's relationship with a partner country, among other matters, I would like to refrain from making any comment on the considerations being made between Japan and the United States, including the holding of any training.

(Abridged)

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