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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 22, 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

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Japanese nationals who are being detained in China. In March, the Chinese authorities took a total of six Japanese men into custody in Shandong and Hainan Provinces. The three men in Hainan Province were detained on suspicion of being a threat to national security. Could you please share the Government’s understanding of the facts relating to this situation.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Chinese side has informed us that in March, three Japanese men were detained by the Chinese authorities in Shandong Province and three others in Hainan Province. A total of six men have been detained. As for further details, I would like to refrain from making a comment based on the nature of the situation. In any case, we are providing appropriate support through our diplomatic missions and other means from the perspective of safeguarding Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Are the six people currently still being detained?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. What is the health status of the three individuals, and in what situation are they being held, in prison or somewhere else?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are providing appropriate support through our diplomatic missions and other means from the perspective of safeguarding Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: Has the Government lodged a protest with China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has been informed that the six individuals were detained by the authorities after violating Chinese domestic law. However, I would like to refrain from providing further details based on the nature of the incident. In any case, the Government of Japan is providing appropriate support through our diplomatic missions and other means from the perspective of safeguarding Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: I have one further related question. I believe the three individuals in Hainan were detained based on suspicion of being a threat to national security, but is the Government aware of what exactly the six individuals, including the three individuals detained in Shandong Province, did that led to their detainment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have been informed by the Chinese side that the individuals were detained for violating Chinese domestic law, but I would like to refrain from providing further details based on the nature of the situation.

REPORTER: An explosion that appears to have been caused by a bomb occurred at a hospital in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, injuring 24 people. At this point in time have you received any report on whether Japanese nationals were injured?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this point in time we have not received any such reports regarding Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the statement made by Secretary-General Noda of the Democratic Party. He expressed his opinion that the Prime Minister should live in the official residence in order to ensure the best possible crisis management. How do you view this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While I am not aware of the details of what Secretary-General Noda stated, I do not believe it is appropriate for the Government to comment on his statement. In any case, the Government is fully prepared and maintaining a high level of vigilance in order to be able to respond appropriately to any contingency, including a missile launch by North Korea. At all times, we have fully prepared lines of communication between the Prime Minister’s Office, the Prime Minister, and the Chief Cabinet Secretary in the case of a contingency, and are prepared to receive reports and communications under any circumstances. I believe what is important is that a leader is able to make the right decisions at the right time during a crisis, and appropriately manage the circumstances, not where the leader resides. Immediately after the missile launch yesterday, the Prime Minister quickly received an initial report from the Executive Secretary, gave instructions on the necessary countermeasures to take, carried out the countermeasures, and held a meeting of the National Security Council. I believe there is absolutely no problem with the response by the Government.

REPORTER: So does that mean that even with the Prime Minister living in his private residence, the Government is equipped to respond to contingencies?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That goes without saying.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the National Strategic Special Zones. In today’s meeting of the Council on National Strategic Special Zones, Prime Minister Abe stated that the Government will proactively consider the designation of additional Special Zones, including areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Do you already have any specific areas in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister made a statement to that effect today. Currently, in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, a variety of initiatives utilizing near-future technology are being actively implemented, and the Government will proactively take the efforts of these areas into account. While we have not yet decided on any specific areas, we will consider which areas to designate from the viewpoint that there are high hopes for the vitalization of the disaster areas.

REPORTER: During the meeting, the Prime Minister expressed support for disaster evacuees who have now returned to their hometowns and are trying to rebuild their lives. One might naturally conclude from this statement that the Prime Minister has in mind Fukushima Prefecture and the evacuees who relocated outside the prefecture or to other locations following the nuclear accident. Is that the case?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Government will proactively consider the designation of additional Special Zones, including areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and will consider the matter from an overall perspective.

REPORTER: The Asahi Shimbun reported that in the summit meeting between U.S. President Trump and President of China Xi Jinping at the beginning of April, President Xi Jinping requested a 100-day deferment period by the United States before taking any concrete action against North Korea. It is said that the period will end in July. What is the Government’s understanding of the situation, including whether or not the report is true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this pertains to the dialogue between third-party countries, I do not believe the Government should make a comment. I have no knowledge of the matter, including whether or not it is true.

REPORTER: It could be viewed that once the North Korean side came to know of the 100-day deferment, it has repeatedly conducted provocative military acts, and as a result the deferment period has afforded North Korea a period in which it can press forward with military development. What is your opinion on the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While there are many opinions on this matter, Japan will continue to cooperate closely with the United States, China, and other related countries, and strongly demand that North Korea refrain from further acts of provocation and comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. That is our stance.

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