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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 16, 2018 (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]

Opening Remarks by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: On Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, Prime Minister Abe will attend the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) being held in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. At this summit meeting, the leaders and representatives will discuss a wide range of fields, including issues faced by the region, such as maintaining a free and open maritime order and achieving self-sustained and sustainable development, as well as cooperation in international fora. Prime Minister Abe is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with the leaders and representatives of the participating countries. Additionally, the representatives from New Caledonia and French Polynesia are to attend the meeting for the first time. Furthermore, the leaders and representatives attending the summit will participate in a memorial service held in one of the disaster-affected areas, and, while enjoying cuisine made with ingredients from Fukushima Prefecture, they will have a chance to see clearly for themselves the robust recovery that Iwaki City has made.
 
Q&As
 
REPORTER: This morning, in addition to the cancellation of a ministerial meeting with the Republic of Korea (ROK), North Korea has indicated that it might cancel the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, protesting the joint military exercises between the ROK and the United States. How does the Japanese Government see this situation?
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: U.S.-ROK joint military exercises are an important pillar of deterrence, alongside Japan-U.S. joint training exercises and Japan-U.S.-ROK security and defense cooperation. Regarding the U.S.-ROK joint military training exercises, it is a matter that should be arranged between the U.S. and the ROK. The Government recognizes the importance of the steady implementation of U.S.-ROK joint military exercises for ensuring peace and security in the region. The Government continues to closely monitor the situation, while constantly gathering and analyzing information on the developments of North Korea with grave interest and responding to it in coordination with the countries concerned.
 
REPORTER: I have a follow-up question. You mentioned that you were currently gathering information in cooperation with the countries concerned. Is there any plan to share such information through telephone talks and other occasions with the U.S., the ROK or other relevant countries?
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: As you are aware of, the Government constantly holds designated telephone meetings; when necessary, we will hold such a meeting as part of our efforts to share information.
 
REPORTER: How does the Government analyze the intention of North Korea behind the announcement of its unilateral cancellation prior to the inter-Korean ministerial meeting? Do you see it as an attempt to disturb the process in advance of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting?
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: I would like to avoid conjecturing about the future actions of North Korea. In any case, the Government would like to prepare for and is currently preparing for this historic U.S.-North Korea summit meeting with the United States, while thoroughly conveying our position to the United States, to ensure that this meeting serves as an opportunity to make progress towards the resolution of the various issues of concern surrounding North Korea. Simultaneously, we will of course continue to engage in Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and seek close cooperation from related countries including China and Russia in order to make North Korea to change its policies.
 
REPORTER: Regarding its cancellation of the inter-Korean ministerial meeting, North Korea cited reasons such as the participation of F-22 stealth fighters in the recent U.S.-ROK joint military exercises. If we view North Korea’s statement in another light, it could be said that the participation of the F-22 fighters in the training played a role in placing pressure on North Korea. Do you believe the participation of F-22 fighters would be necessary in U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, and other exercises in which the U.S. participates?
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: The U.S.-ROK joint military exercises are arranged between the U.S. and the ROK. I would therefore like to refrain from making comments. Meanwhile, it is a shared view between Japan and the U.S., between Japan and the ROK, and among Japan, the U.S. and the ROK that such pressure should be maintained at this stage.
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: Today, it is expected that a bill to promote more gender-balanced assemblies would be enacted in the Diet. It is the first legislative act since World War II aimed at increasing the number of female parliamentarians. Looking at the results of the House of Representatives election held last year, the number of female Diet members remains at about ten percent. Including the recent comment by Minister Aso, I believe that male-dominant politics needs to change moving forward. What are the Government’s thoughts at the current stage?
 
DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: To materialize a society where all women shine is one of the priority issues of the Abe administration, and a number of policies are being implemented in that regard. Looking into global indicators, such as the Gender Gap Index in which Japan ranked 114th and that I mentioned at the previous WAW! Conference, several indicators in the index show that Japan significantly underperforms in the field of women’s active participation in politics and business. In response, we have been asking the business circles to increase the opportunities for women to actively participate in business, including the appointment of female executives. In politics, we strongly hope to create an environment where female parliamentarians can play more active roles. We look forward to them enjoying great success by doing so.
 
(Abridged)

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