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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 8, 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 have a question regarding the Constitution. My first question is about Article 9 of the Constitution and the security policy. The security legislation has come into force in Japan. Is my understanding correct that even if Japan's security situation is severe, the Government's position that the situation can be dealt with under Japan's existing legal system would still be maintained and upheld?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Prime Minister has stated that he shared his view on constitutional revision as the President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in order to stimulate the discussions among the political parties at the Diet. If I can say further, it is that thus far Japan has taken the path of peace and prosperity in accordance with the basic principles presented in the current Constitution that forms the bedrock prescribing the governance system of Japan. These basic principles are popular sovereignty, respect for basic human rights, and pacifism. On this 70th anniversary of the Constitution coming into force, I would like to make clear that the Government will continue to fulfill its responsibility to protect the peace and security of the Japanese people, based on the basic principles and philosophy of the Constitution of Japan. This has not changed at all.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In his recent video message, the Prime Minister proposed maintaining Article 9, Paragraphs 1 and 2, along with defining the status of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). I understand that the proposal would not lead to expanding the authority that can be exercised by the SDF or their duties, and that their capabilities would be restricted to maintaining an exclusively defense-oriented policy. Is it your understanding then that the circumstances will not change from the present situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is as I stated earlier.

REPORTER: Is it your understanding that the duties of the SDF could be expanded to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Japanese people, depending on the security situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is not what I meant. It remains entirely unchanged that the Government will continue to adhere to the principles I mentioned earlier, which are popular sovereignty, respect for basic human rights, and pacifism.

REPORTER: I have one further question. The Prime Minister stated in the same video message that he would like the new Constitution to come into force in 2020. By setting out a target deadline, the Prime Minister is in effect prompting discussions at the Commissions on the Constitution. Does the Government consider that the issues of security and the Constitution are themes that are to be discussed by setting a deadline upfront?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from making comments. That said, the Prime Minister shared his view on constitutional revision as President of the LDP. I believe the Prime Minister shared his view in order to discuss this matter within the party, as well as to stimulate discussions among the political parties at the Diet. It is not for the Government to comment on this matter.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Mr. Hajime Funada, who for many years has been engaged in constitutional revision at the LDP, wrote in his blog about the remarks of Prime Minister Abe on constitutional revision. He wrote that frankly the Prime Minister, as the head of government, should have been a little more careful in making his comments. He expressed his concern that the Prime Minister's remarks would set off backlash from opposition parties. What are your thoughts on such comments being made from the ruling parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I do not agree at all. Since the Prime Minister is the President of the LDP, he shared his view on constitutional revision as the LDP President. I believe the Prime Minister shared his view on the revision with the hope that it would stimulate discussions among the political parties at the Diet. Therefore, with regard to Mr. Funada's comments, the Prime Minister made the remarks as the LDP President and I expect they will certainly deepen the discussions on the Constitution within the party, as well as the discussions at the Commissions on the Constitution.

(Abridged)

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