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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 9, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. Voting has started in the ROK presidential election today and whichever new administration is elected will have a major influence on Japan-ROK relations. Could I ask what points the Government is looking at with regard to the presidential election in the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the ROK is our most important neighbor with whom we share strategic interests. Japan is therefore closely following the developments in the ROK with great interest. In any event, I think cooperation and collaboration between Japan and the ROK is vital to regional peace and stability, including with regard to the issue of North Korea. A new administration will be formed soon and Japan hopes to cooperate with the new administration in a variety of areas, including the steady implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement.

REPORTER: With regard to the Japan-ROK agreement that you mentioned, in what specific ways does the Government intend to approach the new administration in order to achieve its steady implementation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Japan-ROK agreement, which was reached at the end of 2015, is something to which both countries committed. The agreement has won praise from the international community and therefore it is of the utmost importance for both Japan and the ROK to take responsibility in implementing it. There is no change to our policy of steadfastly calling on the ROK to steadily implement the agreement.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Mr. Moon Jae-in, the reformist candidate who is leading in opinion polls has referred to the possibility of renegotiating the Japan-ROK agreement. Is there a possibility that the Government of Japan will agree to renegotiate the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is a fact that the agreement reached at the end of 2015 is something to which both countries committed and which has won praise from the international community. It is therefore of the utmost importance for both countries to move to implement the agreement.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Taiwan's attendance at the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO). Taiwan announced yesterday that it had not received an invitation to attend. Although Taiwan has indicated that it will continue its efforts to seek a seat at the WHA, which is due to begin on May 22, it looks unlikely that it will be able to attend. Can I ask for the view of the Government with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Taiwan has attended the WHA as an observer for eight consecutive years since 2009. Japan has consistently supported Taiwan's attendance with observer status. In particular, given the advance of globalization and the increasing number of global issues, the Government considers it to be essential to strengthen the response to global public health emergencies. The Government is therefore of the opinion that Taiwan's participation in the WHA with any status is desirable, as a means of ensuring there are no geographic gaps in the response to international health-related issues, including infectious diseases.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Yesterday, the spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office has stated that the responsibility for being unable to participate in this year's WHA lies entirely with Taiwan. Some people believe that China has stepped up pressure because the Taiwan administration does not accept the "One China" policy. What is the Government's view of the stance taken by China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government of Japan is naturally aware that China has consistently responded to various related issues on the basis of the One China principle. However, with regard to issues relating to Taiwan, Japan's long-standing and consistent position is that the parties concerned should seek to achieve a peaceful resolution through direct dialogue. In any event, the Government's opinion is that Taiwan's participation in the WHA is desirable, in order to strengthen the response to global public health emergencies.

REPORTER: You have stated that the Government supports Taiwan's participation in the WHA, so are there any plans at the current point to support Taiwan's participation or call on the parties concerned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has consistently supported Taiwan's attendance with observer status and our support in this regard remains unchanged.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Paris Agreement on an international framework to tackle global warming. There are press reports that the Government is considering sending a letter to President Trump, encouraging the United States to remain a party to the Paris Agreement, an international framework for resolving the issue of global warming. Could you tell us about the status of such considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not aware of any of the matters that have been reported in the press. The Government considers the Paris Agreement to be an integral part of global efforts to tackle climate change, which requires concerted action by the international community. We are using various opportunities to convey our views on this issue to the United States, but I would like to refrain from going into details.

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