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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 6, 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.)

Today, prior to the Cabinet meeting, a meeting of the National Resilience Promotion Headquarters was held, which approved the Action Plan for National Resilience 2017. This action plan compiles the measures that need to be implemented during the course of this fiscal year in order to steadily implement the Basic Plan for National Resilience. In particular, the action plan stipulates that the initiatives must enter into full swing towards the revision of the basic plan, which will mark its fourth year of implementation this year. Furthermore, based on the results of comprehensive checks and inspections following the Kumamoto Earthquake last year, we will strengthen responses to natural disasters and promote efforts to broaden the base of support for national resilience.

Also prior to the Cabinet meeting today, a meeting of the Headquarters for Creating a Society in which All Women Shine was held, in which the 2017 priority policies for accelerating the promotion of active participation by women were determined. Based on these priority policies and in order to further accelerate initiatives towards the active participation of women, the Government will make concerted efforts in a variety of areas. These include thoroughly improving the visibility of data on active participation by women; promoting work style reform and the taking of child rearing leave by men; working towards the achievement of zero children on waiting lists for nursery schools based on the Plan for Raising Children with Peace of Mind; addressing the issues of forced appearances in so-called adult videos, the “JK business” (businesses that provide services rendered by underage girls), and other matters; promoting the spread of liquid formula for infants in order to support household management and child rearing; and simplifying the procedures for applications to include pre-marriage surnames alongside married surnames in passports.

Q&As
(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. In a meeting yesterday Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s expectation that this initiative will fully incorporate concepts common to the international community, and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region and the world, and that based on this perspective, Japan would be willing to explore ways to cooperate with it. This would appear to suggest that the Government has changed its policy towards this initiative and has become more open to it. Can I ask about the Government of Japan’s current assessment of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has continued to monitor developments concerning the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and how it would be achieved in concrete terms from the perspective of sustainable regional development and stability. There is no change to this stance. In particular, Japan believes it is important that the various initiatives under the concept of the “One Belt, One Road” are promoted in an open manner, inclusive of all countries, and are of a high quality in accordance with international standards. This has been our stance from the very beginning. In addition, Japan and China, as important neighbors for one another, should contribute to resolving global issues, as well as to regional peace and prosperity. From this perspective, Japan intends to cooperate in areas where cooperation is possible. There is no change to our position. In any event, with the opportunity provided by the major milestones of the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China this year and the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China next year, we will continue to work with China to improve relations, from the broad perspective of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

REPORTER: You have just stated that Japan seeks to cooperate in areas where cooperation is possible. How will you advance considerations together with China concerning specific areas for cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On the recent visit to Japan of Dr. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China, it was agreed that Japan and China will work to further improve relations, based on the principle of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests and in light of the major milestones of the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China this year and the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China next year. We will continue to make steady efforts in this regard.

REPORTER: On the assumption that various conditions are fulfilled and cooperation on the “One Belt, One Road” initiative is advanced, what are the expected merits for Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister himself stated yesterday, no Japanese companies have stated from the very beginning that they would not participate in this initiative. What is important is that the initiative is promoted in an open manner, and is of a high quality in accordance with international standards.

REPORTER: What is the Government’s current thinking on joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is supporting the “One Belt, One Road” initiative?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our position on that matter also remains unchanged.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan’s own sanctions against North Korea. It has been reported that the Government is considering the formulation of a new law that would enable the confiscation of North Korean-flagged vessels that are identified in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution as being subject to asset freezes. Could you tell us about the current status of considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, based on the Law on Special Measures Concerning Prohibition of Entry of Specified Ships into Ports, Japan has taken action to prohibit entry to its ports by ships within the scope of the sanctions under the relevant UNSC resolutions. Japan intends to continue to consider what would be the most effective method of implementing measures to ensure the full implementation of the UNSC resolutions and prevent North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, basing our considerations on discussions within the international community.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: A maritime survey has revealed that there are rocks on the seabed that contain high concentrations of rare metals approximately 350 km off the shore of the Boso Peninsula of Chiba Prefecture. These deposits are thought to expand over a wide area, approximately 1.5 times the size of the 23 special wards of Tokyo combined. The survey has discovered cobalt-rich crusts of more than 10 cm in thickness, which is almost twice the thickness of similar cobalt-rich crusts found in other marine areas around the world. Is there a possibility that these rare metals will be mined in the future as a natural resource?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The marine mineral resources referred to as cobalt-rich crusts, which have been discovered off the coast of the Boso Peninsula by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), are rich in rare metals, which are essential for industry. Their discovery is expected to encourage further advances in research, including how they were formed. Given that the minerals discovered on this occasion are in a marine area that is relatively accessible, off the coast of Honshu, I hear that there are hopes that this area can be used as a testing site for various developed technologies. The ministries and agencies concerned will continue to engage in close cooperation and based on the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy we will continue to advance strategic and systematic measures towards the development of our marine resources.

(Abridged)



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