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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 15, 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 following on from this morning’s press conference, about the comfort woman statue in San Francisco. The City Assembly of San Francisco has adopted a resolution to accept the donation of the statue and inscription, which you stated was incompatible with Japan’s stance. Is the Government considering any specific measures seeking the removal of the statue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I noted this morning, the moves in San Francisco are incompatible with the Government’s position and are extremely regrettable as it is the Government’s hope that people from various backgrounds can live together in peace and harmony in countries around the world. I would add that there may be some difficult situations depending on the circumstances of the local government or local community, especially in areas with many ethnic Korean residents or due to political considerations surrounding elections. Nevertheless, it is of the greatest importance for Japan to clearly assert our position to persons concerned and provide explanations. In any event, in the case of San Francisco, the embassy or local consulate general has been gathering information from persons concerned and the Government will continue to make efforts to avoid such outcomes.

REPORTER: In this case I believe that the outcome could change if the mayor were to exercise his power of veto. Is the Government considering such actions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is a fact that the Government is responding thoroughly by collecting information on various developments and clearly asserting Japan’s position on this issue.

REPORTER: I have a question about the abduction issue. It is 40 years to the day since Ms. Megumi Yokota was abducted. With North Korea not demonstrating any concrete moves towards resolution of the issue, can I ask how the Government intends to move forward with the abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is a source of the greatest sorrow for the Government that the return of the victims has yet to be realized, despite the many years that have passed since the abductions by North Korea, with the exception of the five abductees who returned in 2002. The families of the abductees are now advanced in age , and the Government shares their sense of urgency that not a moment can be lost in calling strongly for this issue to be resolved. The abduction issue is a top priority for the Abe Cabinet and we are unwavering in our determination to resolve the issue. The Government will continue to urge North Korea to fulfill the Stockholm Agreement, and devote every effort to realizing the return of all the abductees as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have just mentioned the Japan-North Korea Intergovernmental Consultations  that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2014 and it was in those consultations that the two sides agreed to engage in a reinvestigation into the abductees. Could you tell us whether it is the Government’s view that the Stockholm Agreement is in fact still in effect and also how the Government intends to approach North Korea, given the current nuclear and missile-related issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan succeeded in opening, or, in a certain sense, forcing open the door to negotiations on the abduction issue, which North Korea had declared was resolved. The result was that in the Stockholm Agreement of May 2014 we elicited a commitment from North Korea to resolve all issues relating to Japanese nationals, including those abducted by North Korea. In that sense the Stockholm Agreement was of tremendous significance. However, in February 2016, North Korea unilaterally announced that it would revoke the Stockholm Agreement and completely cease comprehensive investigations concerning any and all Japanese persons and dissolve the Special Investigation Committee . The Government’s stance is that this is completely unacceptable. Japan has absolutely no intention of breaking the significant Stockholm Agreement on the basis of North Korea’s unilateral protestations. Based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action,” the Government will continue to urge North Korea to fulfill the Stockholm Agreement, and devote every effort to realizing the return of all the abductees as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: Could you elaborate on how the Government intends to approach North Korea on this issue, given the nuclear and missile-related issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no change to the Government’s basic position of making every effort to comprehensively resolve all issues, including the nuclear and missile-related issues.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the new C-2 transport aircraft model of the Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF), which Japan is considering to export to the Middle East. Representatives of the ASDF were promoting the aircraft at a recent air show in Dubai, where a member of the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in charge of defense affairs indicated to the press that the UAE is positive about the introduction of the C-2 transport aircraft and also that it could be used in operations of allied forces led by Saudi Arabia in the civil war in Yemen. Could you tell us about the Government’s position on promoting sales of this aircraft to the UAE, where the transfer of defense equipment could become embroiled in a conflict in another country?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would ask that you direct the technical aspects of your question to the Ministry of Defense. What I would say is that there is absolutely no change in Japan’s policy. While maintaining its basic philosophy as a peace-loving nation that upholds the Charter of the United Nations and the course it has taken as a peace-loving nation, Japan has examined various cases to date and comprehensively consolidated these. In doing so we will ensure that procedures and curbs relating to the overseas transfer of defense equipment and technology are clearer than ever before. Under these principles, the Government will not switch to a policy of actively exporting defense equipment or significantly relax the existing restrictions on exports. We will respond more stringently than ever. That is all.

(Abridged)
 

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