Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  May 2017 >  May 23, 2017 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 23, 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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: With regard to the explosion that occurred in the city of Manchester in the United Kingdom, has the Government acquired any further information about this incident?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: The Government is aware that at around 6:35 a.m. on May 23, Japan time, an explosion occurred at a concert hall in Manchester in the United Kingdom, which killed and injured many people. The Government would like to express sincere condolences to the families of the people who lost their lives in this terrorist incident, as well as sympathies to the wounded. Such despicable acts of terrorism are absolutely unacceptable and Japan resolutely condemns this attack. Prime Minister Abe has sent a message of condolence to Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom, in which he states that Japan stands in strong solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time. The Japanese Government set up a local response headquarters at the Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom immediately after the incident, and is collecting information and making utmost efforts to confirming the safety of Japanese nationals. At this point in time we have yet to come across any information indicating that Japanese nationals have been involved in the incident. In order to collect further information, a consul of the Embassy of Japan in London has been dispatched to Manchester.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning a letter addressed to Prime Minister Abe from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. Yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga stated that the Government had issued a strong protest in response to this letter. Could you tell us specifically via what organization the protest was conveyed as well as the contents of the protest? Also, I believe that the Special Rapporteur raised a number of questions in his letter, so could I ask whether the Government has responded to those questions or whether the protest was made because such a letter was received?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: Firstly, with regard to the position of the Special Rapporteur you refer to, this person engages in the study and compilation of reports on human rights situations in his capacity as an independent individual and any recommendations or advice do not reflect the stance of the United Nations. Furthermore, on May 18 the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva immediately issued a strong protest via the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), noting that the letter was released unilaterally, without the Government of Japan having had any opportunity to explain the matter directly and that the contents of the letter were clearly inappropriate. An English language document detailing the points of the protest was submitted on May 20. The draft bill concerning Tero-to-Junbi-Zai (the offence to criminalize an act in furtherance of planning to commit terrorism and other serious crimes) is for the purpose of concluding the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which has so far been signed by 187 countries and regions, and on which the United Nations General Assembly has passed repeated resolutions, calling on countries to conclude and implement it. Furthermore, the content of the draft bill has been stringently drafted and redrafted, based on various observations made during the course of Diet deliberations to date, and therefore the observations expressed in the Special Rapporteur’s letter that the bill could unjustly limit the right to privacy and curb freedom of expression are entirely unfounded. The Government plans to issue a formal response to the letter, via Japan’s permanent mission in Geneva. We will continue to endeavor to provide information on the draft bill, with a view to furthering accurate understanding at home and overseas about its purpose.

REPORTER: You have just mentioned that the Government will make a formal response to the letter. Given that the Special Rapporteur has expressed concerns about the passage of the bill in its current form, does the Government intend to respond to the letter or cooperate with the Special Rapporteur’s examination of its contents prior to the passage of the bill?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: I am aware of the press reports about the matter you have just mentioned. However, the Special Rapporteur released the letter unilaterally, based solely on information acquired from a limited number of sources and without the Government of Japan having had any kind of opportunity to explain its position directly. I would add that in addition to issuing a protest to the Special Rapporteur via the OHCHR, the Government also conveyed that it would be ready to promptly respond to the concerns and questions contained in the letter. Despite the Government making such intentions clear, the Special Rapporteur ignored this proposal and without going through the OHCHR, once again unilaterally announced to press organizations that his concerns had not been addressed. It must be said that this kind of response is inappropriate in the extreme. With regard to the contents of the letter, as I have just mentioned the draft bill concerning Tero-to-Junbi-Zai is necessary in order to prepare a domestic legislative framework to conclude the convention, which has already been signed by 187 countries and regions. The observations expressed in the letter that the bill could unjustly limit the right to privacy and curb freedom of expression are entirely unfounded.

REPORTER: I have a further point of confirmation, which is similar to the previous question. In his letter, the Special Rapporteur expresses concern that there are “risks of arbitrary application of this legislation given the vague definition of what would constitute the ‘planning’ and ‘preparatory actions,’” and also that the legislation could be used to include crimes that are unrelated to terrorism. In addition, the Special Rapporteur also asks for observations from the Government concerning the compatibility of the draft bill with international human rights norms and standards, and requests details on whether civil society will have an opportunity to review the draft bill and provide comments. What is the Government’s current view of these concerns and the questions raised in the letter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: As I have already noted, the content of the draft bill has been stringently drafted and redrafted, based on various observations made during the course of Diet deliberations to date, and therefore the observations expressed in the Special Rapporteur’s letter that the bill could unjustly limit the right to privacy and curb freedom of expression are entirely unfounded. With regard to the points that you mentioned, the Government plans to issue a formal response to the letter, via Japan’s permanent mission in Geneva.

REPORTER: The draft bill to amend the Law on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds is currently being voted on and is expected to be passed by the House of Representatives. Does the Government consider that the deliberations in the House of Representatives have helped to deepen public understanding about the bill? Could you also share with us your expectations concerning deliberations in the House of Councillors?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: The Government has made every effort to provide clear and thorough explanations to the Diet, seeking understanding on the bill's necessity and importance and the broad support not only of ruling parties, but also opposition parties. In any event, looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in three years' time and in view of the recent global situation relating to organized crime, including acts of terrorism, the Government considers it to be a matter of urgency to conclude the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which would also enable further international cooperation in the fight against organized crime and terrorism. The Government will continue to make every effort to provide clear and thorough explanations during the course of deliberations on the bill.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different issue. The United Nations Committee against Torture, based on the International Bill on Human Rights, has called for the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the comfort women issue to be revised. Can I ask what response has been taken by the Government of Japan since the committee made this call?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: The Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva has issued a protest to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concerning the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture, which have been released publically following an examination of reports submitted by the Government of the ROK, and which call for the Japan-ROK agreement to be revised. In addition, the Government has submitted a document to the OHCHR that explains Japan’s stance with regard to the advice of the Committee. The Government has requested that this document be shared with the Committee and it has been posted on the website of the OHCHR.

REPORTER: Could you tell us about the timing of the submission of this document and what it contains? I imagine that it rebuts the arguments of the Committee’s concluding observations, but could you give us a little more detail?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: The document that has been submitted explains Japan’s position that the Japan-ROK agreement was concluded between the governments of the two countries and welcomed by the international community, and as such it is important that the agreement is steadily implemented. The document also notes that the report, which contains unilateral recommendations to revise the agreement, is unacceptable to Japan. It also notes that in examining the agreement, the Committee only sought opinions from one of the parties and did not offer Japan, the other party to the bilateral agreement, any opportunity to inform or express its position on the agreement, and that such review procedures are unfair and improper.

REPORTER: What is the date of this document?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: The document is dated May 19, 2017.

Page Top

Related Link