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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 25, 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 Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning the number of days that Prime Minister Abe has been in office. On May 27, the Prime Minister will have been in office for the same number of days as former Prime Minister Koizumi, making him the third-longest serving Prime Minister in the post-war period. Can I ask for a comment from the Government about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On May 27, Prime Minister Abe will have been in office for a cumulative total of 1,980 days, meaning that he will stand alongside former Prime Minister Koizumi as the fifth-longest serving Prime Minister of Japan in the modern period. As I have often noted, an administration should not be evaluated by its length of time in office, but rather by what it has accomplished. The Abe administration has always been keen to engage in reforms and has made clear what it intends to do, taking political leadership in executing reforms. We will continue to make every effort to achieve results in each and every policy area, prioritizing economic revitalization and policies aimed at exiting deflation and focusing thoroughly on national security and crisis management.

REPORTER: The Abe administration has worked to implement reforms and in that sense it shares common traits with the former Koizumi administration, although its political approach is somewhat different. Could you tell us your views on the similarities and differences between the Abe and Koizumi administrations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I recognize that both Prime Ministers share a keenness to engage in reforms. The landmark reform of the Koizumi administration was the reform of postal services, from which I have the impression that the Koizumi administration advanced reforms by breaking down internal party dissent. The Abe administration’s approach to reforms is to create a strategic agenda and work to create a cooperative structure within the ruling parties. From my perspective, therefore, the approaches of the two administrations are entirely different.

REPORTER: I have a question relating to the plan to transfer U.S. Marine Corps personnel stationed in Okinawa to Guam. In a hearing of the Subcommittee on Defense of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, General Robert Neller, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, has indicated that there are insufficient transportation methods for moving units to front-line positions and also inadequate training facilities in Guam, stressing the need to find a solution to this issue. You have yourself recognized and promoted the importance of transferring Marine Corps personnel to Guam, so what are your thoughts with regard to the comments made by the U.S. Marine Corps Commandant?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it was announced in the joint statement issued by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (Two-plus-two meeting) in 2013 that U.S. Marine Corps units are to begin to relocate from Okinawa to Guam in the first half of the 2020s. My understanding is that there is absolutely no change to this policy. In any event, at the leader level too, as was confirmed in the joint statement issued following the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in February this year, Japan and the United States are committed to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

REPORTER: If that is the case, can we assume that Japan and the U.S. will seek to overcome and resolve the various outstanding issues and continue to aim for the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps units on schedule in the first half of the 2020s?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have previously noted, the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko, following the completion of construction at Henoko, will result in the transfer of approximately 9,000 of the total 28,000 Marine Corps personnel currently stationed in Okinawa. The Government intends to respond by moving towards that goal.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There are press reports that suggest that General Neller is considering revising the Guam relocation plan, in view of advances in North Korea’s missile development and other security environment-related issues. Has the Government received any indication from the United States that the plan is being revised?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am completely unaware of such matters and no report has been received.

REPORTER: So the Government does not intend to engage in any considerations on revising the transfer plan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no such plans whatsoever.

(Abridged)

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