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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 27, 2017 (PM)

 
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 on a different topic. This morning Mr. Tadashi Kato, Executive Director of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido , visited you at the Prime Minister’s Office. Following the meeting Mr. Kato told the press he requested you that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) include the formulation of new Ainu-related legislation into the party’s campaign pledge for the upcoming House of Representatives election. What was your response to this request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I responded that we would receive the request and give it due consideration. In the course of considering Ainu policy, including ways to improve current policies, the Government will engage in comprehensive deliberations on various matters, including on the necessity for the formulation of legislative measures.

REPORTER: Can we understand, therefore, that the Government will be giving the request its positive attention?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I received the request. Prior to this request we have also received various petitions pertaining to this issue, and therefore the Government must give due consideration to Ainu policy, including ways to improve current policies. In this context we will engage in comprehensive deliberations on various matters, including on the necessity for the formulation of legislative measures.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about the comfort women issue. The parliamentary committee on gender equality and family of the Republic of Korea (ROK) passed a draft bill today that will officially designate August 14 as a day to commemorate the comfort women. The draft bill is expected to be approved at a plenary session of the National Assembly of the ROK, meaning that from next year August 14 is expected become a day to commemorate the comfort women by law. Can I ask for a comment from the Government of Japan on this development?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the end of 2015 the Japan-ROK agreement was concluded, which finally and irreversibly resolves the issue of the comfort women. This latest development goes against the spirit of the agreement and the Government is concerned that it also threatens to pour cold water over the current efforts being made for Japan and the ROK to mutually develop a future-oriented relationship. We have expressed our concerns to the ROK side through diplomatic channels.

REPORTER: With regard to the comfort women issue, the Government of the ROK has indicated its intention to proceed with the installation of a monument to the comfort women regardless of the Japan-ROK agreement. With the agreement in danger of becoming an agreement in name only I would have thought that it is necessary for the Government of Japan to take a harder line. Can I ask for a comment on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government’s stance is as I have just described it. Today, as the ambassador of the ROK to Japan is leaving his post, he paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister expressed the views of Japan in strong terms. In any event, the Japan-ROK agreement was concluded at the highest level of government on both sides and confirms that the issue is finally and irreversibly resolved. It is therefore of the utmost importance for both sides to work together to fully uphold the agreement.

REPORTER: Recently Mr. Hirofumi Yoshimura, Mayor of Osaka City, stated that if San Francisco accepts the gift of a comfort woman statue, Osaka City would break off and annul the sister city relationship with San Francisco. Can I ask for your views on this comment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although I am aware of the comments made by the mayor of Osaka, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on each remark made by a local mayor. In any event, the moves to install comfort woman statues in the United States and other countries are incompatible with the Government’s position and as such are extremely regrettable. Based on this stance, we are approaching persons concerned through various channels and providing explanations about the Government’s stance, and will continue to strengthen our response.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Today Ambassador of the ROK to Japan, Mr. Lee Joon-gyu , had a meeting with the Prime Minister. I have heard that yesterday Foreign Minister Kono told Ambassador Lee that the latest moves in the ROK go against the spirit of the Japan-ROK agreement. Is it correct to understand that the Prime Minister also conveyed such sentiments to the ambassador?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the Prime Minister also strongly expressed the Government’s concerns to the ambassador today.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: With regard to one of the abduction victims, Ms. Kyoko Matsumoto, the head of the Abductees’ Family Union in the ROK has announced that the organization has acquired a black-and-white photograph from informed sources in Pyongyang that purports to show Ms. Matsumoto on her wedding day in North Korea. This photograph has created a flurry of activity, so how will the Government be responding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the reports about this matter. The Government regularly receives various information concerning the abduction victims and makes efforts to collect such information. However, due to concerns about compromising our response, I would like to refrain from discussing specific details and individual press reports. In any event, based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action,” through various channels the Government will continue to demand the fulfillment of the Stockholm Agreement to North Korea, and devote every effort to realizing the return of all the abductees as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: It seems that a representative of the Abductees’ Family Union in the ROK has stated that an official of the Government of Japan will come in person to receive the photograph. What are the facts behind this statement and what is the Government’s analysis with regard to the timing of the appearance of this photograph?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from responding to your question. In any event, the Government is engaging in various efforts and is utilizing various means to collect and analyze information about the abduction victims regularly.
 

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