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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 20, 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

(There were statements on the overview of the Cabinet meeting and on the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting.)

Q&As

REPORTER: The first Cabinet meeting since the closing of the ordinary Diet session was held today. Did the Prime Minister make any remarks at the Cabinet meeting or the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister did not make any comments in particular.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I have a question regarding the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko in Okinawa. There is the issue of whether Okinawa’s permission is needed to crush rock reefs for the construction work to relocate MCAS Futenma to Henoko in Nago City. In connection with this issue, Okinawa Prefecture has submitted a bill to the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly on the filing of a lawsuit to suspend this construction work. It is expected that the bill will be passed by the Assembly in mid-July and that the case would then be brought to court. How does the Government intend to respond to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we are aware of the news reports. This matter will be discussed at the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, and I shall refrain from making comments on it at this point in time. Having said that, I do believe that the Ministry of Defense has properly dealt with the legal procedures needed to proceed with the relocation project, upon confirming with the Fisheries Agency which has jurisdiction over the Fishery Act and other laws and approves the Okinawa Prefectural Fishery Coordination Regulations. In addition, the recent Supreme Court ruling finalized the judiciary’s judgment that the revocation of the land-fill permit by Governor Onaga was illegal. During the trial, Governor Onaga declared that he, as the head of a local government administration, would abide by the judgment of the court. Furthermore, in the terms of the settlement reached between the Government and Okinawa Prefecture in March of last year, it is stated that when a judicial decision is rendered through a court judgment, the two sides would immediately comply with the judgment and would cooperate with each other in acting in good faith in accordance with the purport of the text and the reasons of the judgment. It is very regrettable that Governor Onaga intends to file a lawsuit once again, notwithstanding the final court ruling and the settlement agreement.

REPORTER: I have a related question. While Governor Onaga had stated that he would abide by the court judgment and a final ruling had been rendered by the Supreme Court, the Government has not been able to gain the understanding of Okinawa regarding the government policy. Are you considering establishing a new fora for discussions or taking any kind of new responses to obtain understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is a country based on the rule of law, and it was decided that the Government and Okinawa Prefecture would cooperate with each other in acting in good faith in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court and the purport of the settlement. We will proceed with the land reclamation work in Henoko in this context.

REPORTER: Are you saying that this lawsuit will not particularly affect the construction work? Does the Government intend to go ahead with the construction work?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, certainly.

(Abridged)

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