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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 23, 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 concerning the ceremony held in Shimane Prefecture on February 22 to commemorate “Takeshima Day.” There are some members of the media reporting that the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has criticized the fact that a Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister attended this event, even though it is hosted by a prefectural government. If the Government were to designate a “Takeshima Day” and hold a ceremony in Tokyo, it would be possible, even when the Diet is in session, for the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, the minister in charge of this issue, and also yourself to attend. What are your thoughts on this point?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in the afternoon of February 22, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK lodged a protest to the Embassy of Japan in the ROK concerning the “Takeshima Day” ceremony held by Shimane Prefecture and the attendance of Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Yamashita at the ceremony. In response, Japan counter-argued that, in view of the Government of Japan’s position on the Takeshima issue, it cannot accept the ROK protest. In any case, the issue regarding Takeshima is not something that can be solved in a single day, and we would like to firmly indicate to the ROK that we cannot accept what cannot be accepted, and to respond in a level-headed and resolute manner from a broader perspective. Takeshima is indisputably an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law. The attendance of a Parliamentary Vice-Minister under such circumstances would normally not create any issues with other countries and the Government has absolutely no intention of adversely impacting Japan-ROK relations. The response made on this occasion was decided after taking various circumstances comprehensively into consideration.
 
REPORTER: I recall that the designation of “Takeshima Day” by the Government was one of the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) election pledges in 2012. That pledge has remained unfilled after more than five years, so do you have a comment on this point?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, Japan has clearly argued its position on the issue of Takeshima. Under such circumstances, we will respond to this issue from a broader perspective.
 
REPORTER: Does that mean that your position has changed from the time you were in opposition to the time that you took on administration of the Government? I would also add that President Ohtsuka of The Democratic Party has indicated that it would consider the proposal seriously.
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There has been absolutely no change in the LDP’s position on this issue between the time before and after the inauguration of our administration. We have clearly stated to the ROK that Takeshima is indisputably an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law. We will continue to respond to this issue from a broad perspective.
 
REPORTER: A study conducted by UNICEF comparing newborn mortality rates around the world has found that Japan is the safest country in the world for newborns. Meanwhile, among the ten countries with the highest newborn mortality rates there were eight African countries, which continue to suffer from poverty and conflict. May I ask for your thoughts on the findings of this study?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, immediately after the Second World War, the state of mother and child health in Japan was extremely poor. Since then, during the postwar period, we have continued to improve healthcare and medical services to the present day. Such measures include the development of legislation such as the Child Welfare Act, the Immunization Act and the Maternal and Child Health Act, as well as the distribution of maternal and child health handbooks, prenatal checkups and baby and infant checkups covered by national insurance, and the implementation of vaccinations for measles and other diseases. Such initiatives, coupled with advances in medicine and medical technologies, have resulted in Japan being evaluated as the safest country in the world for newborns in the recent study done by UNICEF. In addition, it is of great concern that currently eight out of the ten countries with the highest newborn mortality rates are in Africa. Japan has continued to promote the concept of human security, which seeks to enable people to realize their full potential. In order to maximize the potential of African countries, which are rich in natural resources and have large populations, we will continue to actively promote assistance to these countries through such means as the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
 

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