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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 1, 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 would like to change the topic to ask about the Paris Agreement on an international framework of measures to prevent global warming. Multiple U.S. media sources are reporting that President Trump of the United States has finalized a plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. What is the Government’s current understanding of the developments in the U.S. stance regarding the Paris Agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf the Government because there has not been any official announcement in the US. Nevertheless, Japan believes that response to climate change is a global issue that needs to be addressed by the international community, and has been engaging with the U.S. from a position that U.S. participation continues to be important.

REPORTER: Does this mean that while the U.S. administration has not made an official announcement yet, if it does present a plan to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the Japanese Government intends to work to change its thinking?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, I would like to refrain from officially commenting on hypothetical scenarios because the U.S. has not made any sort of announcement yet. At this point, the Government has been engaging with the U.S. from a position that U.S. participation is important.

REPORTER: I have a related question. At the recent G7 meeting, there was no consensus on a stance toward the Paris Agreement. What type of expectations do you have for the role of the United States from the standpoint of global warming measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is explaining the importance of involvement to the United States as well. I believe it is vital for Japan to steadily engage with the U.S. with emphasis on the importance of the U.S. to the Paris Agreement and the problem of climate change and global warming.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. It is about the replacement of Consul General Morimoto of the Consulate-General of Japan in Busan in the Republic of Korea (ROK). It has been reported that the consul general was changed because Mr. Morimoto criticized the Government for temporarily returning him to Japan, which was in response to the installment of a comfort woman statue symbolizing the comfort women issue. Can you tell us if the reports are true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware about this matter. I believe this was the usual change of personnel.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You stated that this was the usual change of personnel. However, it seems unprecedented for the consul general to be replaced after a year or so. What is your view concerning this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It appears numerous examples of this can be found from the past.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. With respect to the plan to establish a veterinary school of Kake Educational Institution, Mr. Maekawa, former Vice-Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), stated that he was asked in late August of last year by Mr. Isao Kiso, then special advisor to the Cabinet and board member of Kake Educational Institution, for his cooperation to speed up the procedures. Are you aware of the facts pertaining to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware about this.

REPORTER: I have a question in connection with this matter. Mr. Kiso was a member of the institution, its board member, as well as a special advisor to the Cabinet. Do you perceive that the comments made by him were inappropriate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I am not aware about this matter, I would like to refrain from making comments.

REPORTER: Mr. Kiso said to the press that last September he summoned an official of the Cabinet Office in charge of the national strategic special zones to his office, and that he summoned the official in order to learn more about the special zone system. Mr. Kiso stated that he did this to learn more about the special zone system, but said to the press that he regrets it as it could lead to misunderstanding. Is it the view of the Government that there was nothing particularly wrong with his action?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I am not aware about this matter, it would not be appropriate for me to make comments in my capacity as the Government spokesperson.

REPORTER: I have one more related question. Mr. Kiso stated that the series of activities related to the establishment of the veterinary school constitute a whole lot of “sontaku” (surmising wishes of other people without asking directly). What is your opinion on the fact that administrative decisions could have been influenced by the ministries’ excessive surmise of the friendship between Prime Minister Abe and the head of Kake Educational Institution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not find that to be the case at all. Imabari City and Ehime Prefecture proposed the establishment of a veterinary school at Kake Educational Institution more than ten years ago amid all the red tape of regulations. It was since more than a decade prior to the inauguration of the Abe administration, as well as under the administrations led by the Democratic Party, that this proposal was first deemed worth considering and has been reviewed towards its realization. I think that says it all.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to ask an additional question in this regard. Even some members of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) are criticizing the way Governor Koike postpones decisions, including on the issue of the relocation of the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu and the issue of the costs of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. What do you think about the responses taken by Governor Koike?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think we are hearing these comments from the general public rather than the members of the LDP.

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