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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 5, 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: Another terrorist attack occurred in London over the weekend, causing many fatalities and injuries. ISIL has recently claimed responsibility for the attack. What is the Government’s view of this latest act of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to express sincere condolences for the people who lost their lives in this latest terrorist incident and their families, and wish those who were injured a rapid recovery. Such despicable acts of terrorism are absolutely unacceptable and Japan resolutely condemns this attack. Japan stands in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Abe has sent a message of condolence to Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom, and Foreign Minister Kishida has also sent a message of condolence to Foreign Secretary Johnson. Directly following the incident, the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom established a local response headquarters, which is currently gathering information and making every effort to confirm the safety of Japanese nationals. At this point in time there is no information to suggest that Japanese nationals have been affected by this incident.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The United Kingdom is currently on the highest level of alert, but despite this it proved to be impossible to prevent another act of terrorism. I believe that this attack demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to combat terrorism in today’s world. How will the Government of Japan be seeking to strengthen counterterrorism measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Measures to combat terrorism are an urgent challenge that the international community is united in tackling. Particularly in the case of Japan we are scheduled to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020. It is Japan’s responsibility as the host nation of these events to ensure security and safety. We must work closely with the international community in making every effort to combat terrorism. The most important action for preventing terrorism is to create structures that enable the thorough collection of information in advance. To that end we established the International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit and are further strengthening its operations. Additionally, the Government is making every effort to further enhance joint measures between the public and private sectors against terrorism, including border control security measures, and security for critical facilities and soft targets. Furthermore, we are seeking to achieve the passage of the bill to amend the Law on Punishment of Organized Crimes, which would newly establish the offence of Tero-to-Junbi-Zai (the offence to criminalize an act in furtherance of planning to commit terrorism and other serious crimes), which is a measure for the purpose of concluding the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), which 187 countries have already signed, and which all G7 countries except Japan have signed. In order to combat organized crime at home and overseas, including terrorism, it is of the utmost importance that we work closely with the international community on such measures as the extradition of criminals, mutual assistance in investigations and the collection of information. In that sense the conclusion of UNTOC is an urgent and pressing issue. The Government will make every effort to gain the understanding of the public with regard to the importance and necessity of the bill, and will explain the contents of the bill carefully in the Diet, seeking the broad support of not only the ruling parties, but also the opposition parties. Our aim is to achieve the passage of the bill as soon as possible.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of Kake Educational Institution. You did not respond to the question earlier, but can I ask again whether it is the Government’s recognition that the document that the Democratic Party is saying was shared within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) does not exist?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have noted, this is a matter for MEXT to determine.

REPORTER: I have a related question about the balance of supply and demand for veterinary surgeons. In consultations concerning the establishment of new schools of veterinary medicine in National Strategic Special Zones, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries observed that there was a possibility that demand for veterinary surgeons could drop. In addition, as the population of aged dogs reached its peak this year and has now started to fall, expert estimates suggest there will be a surplus of veterinary surgeons. What is the Government’s forecast for the future supply-demand balance for veterinary surgeons?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly the revised Japan Revitalization Strategy 2015 states that considerations on the establishment of new schools of veterinary medicine should be based on recent supply and demand trends for veterinary surgeons. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has repeatedly stated that there are some regions that have difficulty in securing sufficient numbers of veterinary surgeons for farm animals. The Government has therefore judged that it would be preferable to approve the establishment of new schools only in such areas rather than on a nationwide basis, and would be more likely to gain the understanding of the members of veterinary medical associations who have expressed concern. It is also a fact that during its time in power the Democratic Party also responded extremely positively to Diet questions on proposals for the establishment of such schools of veterinary medicine in National Strategic Special Zones, citing concerns about Foot-and-Mouth disease and avian influenza. It is highly unusual that for a period of 52 years no new schools of veterinary medicine have been established.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: The United States’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the Paris Agreement on climate change were both campaign pledges of President Trump. It is therefore likely that the Trump administration will again in the future make choices that differ from those of previous U.S. administrations. Can I ask your views on the United States’ global position, its reputation, and its influence since the start of the Trump administration?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In both economic and security matters the United States continues to possess significant influence. It is the Government’s recognition that without the engagement of the United States there would be no peace and prosperity in the world. North Korea is an urgent challenge for Japan and at the recent G7 Taormina Summit the leaders confirmed that the issue of North Korea is a top priority in the international agenda. The United States has also taken a policy of keeping all options on the table, which is something that Japan values highly. There is absolutely no change to our view that under a strong Japan-U.S. Alliance we will continue to engage in frank exchanges of views with the Government of the United States on a variety of regional and global issues and work together towards resolving these issues.

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