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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about developments relating to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided to suspend the membership of the Chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in response to organized doping activities that were instigated at the national  level. This means that the Russian Olympic team will not be allowed to participate at the PyeongChang Games. Can I ask for a comment from the Government on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government recognizes that the IOC made a decision on whether to allow the Russian team to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games after its careful investigation and consideration. The Government of Japan is not in a position to comment further. We are aware that, in the run-up to the PyeongChang Games, the IOC, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), various international sports federations, the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee and national anti-doping agencies are working together to implement anti-doping measures, including advance no-notice inspections. The Government also hopes that the PyeongChang Games will be clean and doping-free, enabling all athletes to give their very best based on the hard work and training they are engaged in on a daily basis.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about the succession of wooden vessels that have washed ashore along the Sea of Japan. Investigations are currently underway on Matsumae-kojima island in Hokkaido, where a boat believed to be from North Korea washed ashore, and there are also suspicions that the crew of the boat were involved in theft. Local residents are starting to express concerns about crimes committed by persons who are washed ashore. Can I ask how the Government intends to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government fully recognizes that these incidents are causing great concern for local residents. It is against this backdrop that the police and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) are currently working together to establish the facts of the case, including interviewing the crew members and confirming the status on Matsumae-kojima island. In addition, the ministries and agencies concerned are currently working to confirm the facts and the Government will respond appropriately, based on the outcomes of the investigation and in accordance with relevant laws. The Government recognizes that an important challenge is to strengthen shore patrols along Japan’s extensive coastline. To this end the police and the JCG are cooperating closely on a daily basis and have a number of measures in place, such as the implementation of the necessary surveillance and monitoring, including patrols of the coastline of the Sea of Japan, calling on local fishery operators and residents to report suspicious people or objects, and ensuring that a fast and responsive communication structure is in place with local governments and other related bodies. The Government will continue to make every effort to ensure the security of our territorial waters and strengthen measures to deal with suspicious vessels and persons.

REPORTER: President Trump has decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What is the Government’s reaction to this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government of the United States has not yet made any official announcement concerning relocation. I understand that President Trump is expected to make an announcement concerning the specific details of his decision in the near future. Japan supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our stance is that this conflict, including the issue of the final status of Jerusalem, should be resolved through negotiations among the parties, based on relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions adopted to date and the agreements previously reached by the parties. The Government will continue to monitor developments with the utmost attention.

REPORTER: Does that mean that at the current point in time, although Japan has often supported the response of the U.S. Government, it is not doing so on this occasion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the United States has yet to make its specific position clear on this matter, Japan will continue to monitor developments with the utmost attention.

REPORTER: You have just referred to this yourself, but what impact does the Government think the decision will have on the Middle East peace process?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comment based on conjecture as the United States has yet to make any official announcement on this matter.

REPORTER: The embassy of Japan in Israel is currently located in Tel Aviv. Whatever decision is made by the United States, is there no change to the Government’s policy of continuing to maintain the embassy in Tel Aviv?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no plans to relocate the embassy.

REPORTER: To mark North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week next week, the female staff of Hokuto Bank in Akita Prefecture will be wearing blue ribbon badges. This is the first time for bank staff in Japan to wear these badges. Can I ask for a comment from the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the blue ribbon is a symbol of the public’s desire to rescue the victims of abductions. In addition, December 10 to 16 each year is designated as North Korean Human Rights Abuses Awareness Week. I believe that such efforts help the public to share the thoughts and feelings of the families of the victims of abductions and demonstrate our strong resolve to North Korea to achieve the return of the abductees, which in turn creates great momentum towards the resolution of the abduction issue. During the Awareness Week the Government will also seek to create opportunities for the public to share the thoughts and feelings of the families of the abduction victims and demonstrate our strong resolve to North Korea to achieve the return of the abductees.
 

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