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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 13, 2018 (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 regarding the message of condolence from Prime Minister Abe following the earthquake in eastern Taiwan. On February 8, the Government issued a message addressed to President Tsai Ing-wen. Now, the words “President Tsai Ing-wen” have been deleted from the message that appears on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. Could you tell us about the background and reason for the deletion of the word “President” from the Prime Minister’s message?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the change was made based on the decision that it would be appropriate that such a message is addressed more broadly to the people of Taiwan.
 
REPORTER: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has revealed that it has made a protest on this matter to the Government of Japan. Was this change made in response to the protest by China?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While it is true that a protest was lodged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the change was made based on the decision that it would be appropriate that this message is addressed more broadly to the people of Taiwan as a whole. Therefore, it is not true that the revision was made in response to the protest by China.
 
REPORTER: Could you confirm whether the leader of Taiwan has been referred to as “President” in past messages from the Prime Minister and the official documents of the Government, and also share with us its view on whether use of the title “President” is appropriate in light of the Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, to date, the Prime Minister has sent a message of condolence to then President Ma Ying-jeou on February 6, 2016 in response to the damages caused by the earthquake in Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan. The message from the Prime Minister in response to the earthquake that occurred in the early hours of February 7 expresses our condolences to all those in Taiwan affected by the disaster and Japan’s readiness to provide any assistance that is required, nothing more and nothing less. With regard to the Government’s position on Taiwan, as indicated in the Japan-China Joint Communique of 1972 that you have just mentioned, we do not take the position of “One China, One Taiwan” and the Government does not consider that the recent message of condolence to Taiwan poses any issues in relation to the Japan-China Joint Communique.
 
REPORTER: I would like to clarify one point. Are we to understand that in 2016 the message was sent to then President Ma Ying-jeou, whereas the recent message was addressed to the people of Taiwan?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have noted already, it was decided that it would be appropriate to send a message that is addressed to the people of Taiwan as a whole.
 
REPORTER: So, how does the Government make such distinction?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are several ways of determining the format in which such letters are sent, whether it be from the people of Japan or the Prime Minister, and whether it is to the country which is to receive the message. In this case it was determined that it would be appropriate to send a message broadly addressed to the people of Taiwan.
 
REPORTER: I have a question related to North Korea. Chairman Kim Jong-un has received a report from Kim Yong-nam, Kim Yo-jong and others, who visited the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the occasion of the PyeongChang Olympic Games, regarding the details of their meeting with President Moon Jae-in. It appears that Chairman Kim gave instructions to further improve the North Korea-ROK relations. Can I ask for a comment from the Government on this point?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from making comments concerning statements made by North Korea.
 
REPORTER: Ambassador of Japan to the ROK Yasumasa Nagamine has met with Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung of the ROK in Seoul and, I believe, the Ambassador has received a briefing on the details of the meetings between President Moon and North Korean officials. What kind of interactions took place and what views did the Government convey to the ROK?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is an external matter (of the ROK), and I would like to refrain from commenting on every such matter.
 
(Abridged)

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