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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 26, 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 about the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games that are scheduled to be held in the Republic of Korea (ROK) next year. At the World Taekwondo Championships on June 24, President Moon Jae-in of the ROK called for a team from North Korea to participate in the Games and expressed his hope that a joint ROK-North Korea team could be formed. Although President Moon did not make any direct reference to the proposal to jointly host the Games by the ROK and North Korea, he nonetheless emphasized that North-South cooperation should be linked to the Olympics. The ROK minister responsible for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has already indicated that he would consider a proposal to jointly host the Games, so can I ask for the Government’s view about these moves by the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not aware of any of the details pertaining to this matter. This issue concerns the ROK team and is not an issue on which the Government of Japan should make comments.

REPORTER: With regard to the proposal for the two countries to jointly host the Games, I believe that consideration is being given to using skiing areas in North Korea. How would the Government respond if this proposal were to be realized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comment on what is still a hypothetical matter.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, relating to the monument with an epitaph expressing regret to the comfort women that was built in the National Cemetery in the ROK. It has come to light that a former member of the Self-Defense Forces, Mr. Shigeharu Oku, has been temporarily detained by ROK police on suspicion of having changed the epitaph on the monument that was erected by Mr. Seiji Yoshida, an individual who gave false testimony about forcibly removing women on the Korean Peninsula, and that Mr. Oku is currently being prevented from leaving the country. I understand he will be investigated by the police on suspicion of the destruction of property and so on. What is the Government’s view concerning the response of the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that a Japanese national has been arrested at an airport in the ROK on suspicion of having changed the epitaph expressing regret, without permission. From the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals overseas the Government will provide appropriate assistance as required through our overseas diplomatic missions. In any event, we will continue to monitor judicial proceedings in the ROK relating to this case.

REPORTER: Do you have any views on whether the temporary detainment and prohibition on leaving the ROK are appropriate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is an incident that occurred in the ROK. From the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals overseas the Government will provide appropriate assistance through our overseas diplomatic missions.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning F-35 aircraft. According to some press reports the Government is considering the installation of air-to-surface missiles on F-35 aircraft and is aiming to acquire budgetary allocation for this purpose in the fiscal 2018 budget. What is the status of the Government’s considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of any of the details that have been reported.

REPORTER: I believe there has also been discussion within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on Japan having a capability to strike enemy bases. What is the Government’s view on the necessity for such a capability?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, the Government has received proposals from the LDP and takes them seriously. We are undertaking various considerations to comprehensively enhance Japan’s ballistic missile response capabilities, from the perspectives of strengthening the deterrence capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance as a whole based on an appropriate division of roles between Japan and the United States, and assessing what needs to be done to protect the lives and property of the people of Japan. In any case, the most important duty of the Government is to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people.

REPORTER: F-35 aircraft have a long cruising range, so if air-to-surface missiles were to be installed on these aircraft what is you view about how this would concern Japan’s defense legislation or exclusively defense-oriented policy, which is at the root of Japan’s defense policy, particularly with regard to not posing a military threat to other countries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the current National Defense Program Guidelines stipulate that measures should be taken to comprehensively improve Japan's capability to respond to ballistic missiles. In specific terms, the Government considers that various considerations need to be made constantly about what structures can be used and what needs to be done to protect the lives and property of the people of Japan in response to changes in the international situation, based on an exclusively defense-oriented policy and with a view to strengthening the deterrence capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance as a whole.

REPORTER: With regard to specific weapons, the Government’s view to date has been that the possession of such systems as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and attack aircraft carrier would not be acceptable under the stipulations of the Constitution of Japan. Could the installation of surface-to-air missiles on F-35 aircraft be considered in similar terms or not?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of any details about the press reports on this matter.

(Abridged)


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