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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 21, 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: The Special Committees on North Korean Abductions and Other Issues   in the Diet have been convening . In one of the committee meetings , Ms. Sakie Yokota has stated that many people, including her daughter Megumi, are seeking help and has urged the Government to think hard about further ways to resolve the issue. How will the Government respond to these comments and what will be done to bring the issue to a resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The resolution of the abductions issue is a top priority for the Abe administration and one that we have made every effort to achieve since the start of the administration and up to today. However, we have not been able to achieve results and we therefore are painfully aware of and understand the thoughts of Ms. Yokota. We are determined to do whatever it takes to resolve this issue and it is based on such determination that we are looking at all possibilities as to what can be done.

REPORTER: The pressing issues between Japan and North Korea are the North Korean nuclear and missile issues. Are there no concerns that the abductions issue may now be neglected?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is not the case at all. Since the inauguration of the Abe administration up until today we have constantly endeavored to comprehensively resolve the issues of abductions, nuclear weapons and missiles. Naturally these are issues that the Prime Minister has strong feelings about and the entire Cabinet is engaged in efforts to resolve the issues.

REPORTER: There are various efforts under way domestically to make progress towards the resolution of the abductions issue. Is it your view that progress is actually being made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Speaking candidly, I would like you at least to understand that the Government is making every effort to resolve the issue, seeking all possibilities in all areas. Meanwhile, given that our efforts to resolve what is an extremely difficult challenge have not been able to produce any concrete results over the past five years, it is with a sense of deep reflection that we are currently making utmost efforts.

REPORTER: With regard to President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, on December 18 the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted on a draft resolution that would invalidate changes to the status of Jerusalem. Although  the draft resolution was vetoed by the United States, Japan voted in  favor. The Government thus expressed a position that is different from that of the United States. Does this mark a move away from the view of the Government you have explained to date, namely that Japan will monitor developments with great interest?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Government has consistently stated with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we support a two-state solution. The final status of Jerusalem is part of a range of issues that should be resolved through negotiations between the parties, based on the relevant UNSC resolutions that have been adopted and agreements previously reached by the parties concerned. There is no change to this position and it was based on such a position that Japan voted to approve the draft resolution. In any event, the Government of Japan recognizes the importance of the United States’ strong engagement in the Middle East. We will continue to monitor related developments with great interest and maintain close communications with the United States and other countries concerned.

REPORTER: In the early hours of December 22, Japan time, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is scheduled to vote on a similar draft resolution. Could you tell us how Japan intends to vote at this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting based on conjecture at the current point about Japan’s voting intentions with regard to this draft resolution. In any event, as I have just noted, Japan supports a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our position is that the final status of Jerusalem is part of a range of issues that should be resolved through negotiations between the parties, based on the relevant UNSC resolutions that have been adopted and agreements previously reached by the parties concerned.

REPORTER: It is expected that Japanese companies will be approved to issue yuan-denominated bonds in China, which are  also called “panda bonds.” This will expand the means of yen procurement for Japanese companies. Can I ask for your opinion regarding the effect this will have on Japan-China relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, from the perspective of promoting the development of an environment necessary to facilitate business for Japanese companies in China, financial authorities of both countries are engaging in cooperation and we are currently conducting consultations about the possibility of Japanese companies issuing so-called panda bonds in mainland China. As these consultations are ongoing I would like to refrain from going into further detail. I have received a report that the final stage of consultations is being conducted in this direction.

(Abridged)
 

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