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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 24, 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 concerning U NESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Register. From today, October 24, the International Advisory Committee (IAC) is due to begin deliberations on recommendations for inscription on the Register, and documents relating to the comfort women are included in the items for deliberation. Could you tell us what requests the Government will be making to the IAC with regard to the deliberations and how the Government intends to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on October 18, the Executive Board of UNESCO unanimously adopted a resolution which calls upon the Director-General of UNESCO and the members of the IAC, which is the practical implementing body for the MoW Programme, to abide by the principles of dialogue, mutual understanding and respect and to avoid further political tensions concerning  the programme. The Government strongly hopes that all persons related to UNESCO will respect this resolution and will engage in work based on the spirit of the resolution.

REPORTER: If the documents relating to the comfort women were to be inscribed on the MoW Register, what measures will the Government take?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making comments about a hypothetical situation. We will continue to make every effort to improve the programme to ensure that it adheres to UNESCO’s original intent and purpose of promoting friendship and trust among member states.

REPORTER: With regard to UNESCO, you just stated that you could not respond to a hypothetical question. However, the United States has announced its withdrawal from UNESCO. If it were the case that comfort women-related documents were inscribed on the MoW Register, is the Government prepared to consider withdrawing from the organization?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have noted earlier, I would like to refrain from responding to hypothetical questions. As the Executive Board of UNESCO has recently unanimously adopted a resolution that calls for further political tensions to be avoided, the Government will make every effort to move in this direction.

REPORTER: The revisions to the MoW Programme that were decided on October 18 are due to be implemented from 2019. It is therefore viewed that these proposed revisions would not be applied to the comfort women-related documents which are up for review this year. What is your view on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, as I have already stated, the Government will make every effort to ensure that based on the recently adopted resolution, the MoW Programme is in line with UNESCO’s original intent and purpose of promoting friendship and trust among member states.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the election for the House of Representatives. Following the election results the Prime Minister has recently received congratulatory telephone calls from many world leaders, including President Trump of the United States. Can I ask for a comment on this point and also how the Government intends to approach the North Korea issue based on these relations of trust with other world leaders?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Following the election results the Prime Minister has received congratulatory telephone calls from various leaders, including President Trump of the United States and Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom. Arrangements are also being made to receive calls from a number of other countries that have indicated a desire to make telephone calls. Given the increasing importance of leader-level diplomacy, when engaging in proactive diplomacy it is vital to build personal relations of trust among leaders. I believe that the congratulatory telephone calls received from various world leaders are an expression of the friendship and trust that Prime Minister Abe has firmly developed with leaders around the world over the course of four years and 10 months during which he has worked to actively carry out leaders-level diplomacy. Based on the strong relations of trust that have been nurtured at the leader level, the Government will continue to carry out Japan’s diplomacy to more actively take the lead in the international community. In particular, in response to the threat posed by North Korea, an urgent and pressing outstanding issue, we will further strengthen pressure on North Korea to compel it to change its policies in cooperation with the international community.

REPORTER: You noted that other countries have indicated a desire to make congratulatory telephone calls, so could you tell us with which countries telephone talks are being planned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is currently being arranged.
 

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