Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  October 2020 >  October 26, 2020 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 26, 2020 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

[…]
 
REPORTER: I have a question about the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The number of countries and regions that have ratified the treaty has now reached 50, which is the condition for its entry into effect. The treaty will enter into effect from January next year. There are voices at home and abroad that request Japan to ratify the treaty as the only country to have suffered atomic bombings. How does the Government see this?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: As I have stated before, as the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war and which knows the inhumanity of nuclear weapons, Japan has a mission to lead the efforts of the international community toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. The Government is aware that on October 24, the conditions for the entry into force of the TPNW were met, and it will enter into force on January 22 next year. Japan shares the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons that the TPNW aims for. However, Japan concerns that the TPNW has not been widely supported, not only by the nuclear weapons states but also non-nuclear weapon states. As the security environment surrounding Japan becomes ever more severe, we believe it is appropriate that the Government steadily seeks ways to advance nuclear disarmament in a realistic manner, while responding appropriately to real security threats, including maintaining and strengthening deterrence. I have stated before that Japan will not sign the TPNW as it differs from our approach, and that position has not changed.
 
REPORTER: […] The United Nations is calling on countries that have not ratified the TPNW to attend the Conference of the Parties, which will be held after the TPNW enters into effect, as observers. The UN has high hopes that Japan will attend such a meeting. What are the Government’s intentions on this point?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: The details such as format and substance of the meeting of the Conference of the Parties are yet to be known. As such, we are not in a position to comment on the possibility of Japan’s participation. In any event, we will carefully consider this issue based on Japan’s position, which I have described previously.
 
REPORTER: […] In your response, you raised maintaining and strengthening deterrence as the reason for Japan not to participate in the TNPW. Meanwhile with the TPNW seemingly set to enter into effect, Mayor MATSUI of Hiroshima City stated that the NPW would require us to fundamentally rethink our reliance on nuclear deterrence, leading to a tension between ideals and reality at a higher level. Is there any possibility that Japan will review its position on nuclear deterrence?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: As I have said before, as the security environment surrounding Japan becomes ever more severe, the Government considers it realistic to steadily seek ways to advance nuclear disarmament in a realistic manner, while responding appropriately to real security threats, including maintaining and strengthening deterrence.
 
REPORTER: […] I have asked about the Government’s stance on signing the treaty last week and also today. In the sense that the Government shares the goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, does the Government welcome or is it able to welcome the decision on the TPNW’s entry into force?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Rather than the TPNW itself, as I mentioned before, Japan’s position is to firmly advance initiatives in the international community towards the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons. I have already explained how Japan sees the TNPW from this perspective. In any case, we will continue to steadily advance a variety of measures, as we have done to date, working with both nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapons states towards the realization of our stated goal.
 
REPORTER: […] Since the TPNW’s adoption in July 2017, the Government of Japan has stated that it will not ratify the treaty, but instead seeks to fulfil a bridge-building role between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, working towards advances in nuclear disarmament. What kind of bridge-building do you think that Japan has achieved to date?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Firstly, one example would be the draft resolution that Japan submitted to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last year, titled “Joint courses of action and future-oriented dialogue towards a world without nuclear weapons,” which was adopted with the support of 160 countries, including nuclear weapon states the United Kingdom and France. A similar draft resolution has also been submitted this year. In addition, Japan has organized the meeting of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament since 2017, and held the Track 1.5 Meeting for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament this March in Tokyo as an initiative to follow up on and further develop the discussions of the Group of Eminent Persons. Also, in November last year, at the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Japan hosted the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) among 12 countries, at which a Joint Ministerial Statement was also adopted. Furthermore, in order to achieve significant outcomes at the 10th Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that is to be held next year, the Government is stepping up its efforts to act as a bridge between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, by engaging the international community among other measures.
 
REPORTER: […] I have a question about the selection of the next Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The candidates for the next Director-General have been narrowed down to two persons, one from the Republic of Korea (ROK) and one from Nigeria. There are press reports suggesting that Japan has decided to support the Nigerian candidate, not the ROK candidate. Could you clarify the facts behind such reports?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Firstly, for diplomatic reasons, countries do not disclose which candidate they support for elections at international organizations. It is the case that the WTO is face various urgent challenges that require the implementation of reforms, including issues relating to the Appellate Body of the WTO, which has fallen into a state of paralysis, and the creation of rules for the digital economy, the importance of which has been further highlighted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The Government hopes that the next Director-General will tackle these challenges and steadily advance WTO reforms.
 
REPORTER: […] The ROK has currently filed complaints to the WTO over Japan’s tightening of export controls as unjust. Regarding this situation, does the Government have any concern that it could affect the fairness of the dispute settlement procedures if the ROK candidate were to be selected as the next Director-General?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: First, I would like to refrain from responding to a hypothetical question. It is the Government’s hope that an eminent candidate who is capable of coordinating the interests among major countries and proactively contributing to the maintenance of and strengthening of the multilateral trade system will be chosen as the next WTO Director-General.
 
REPORTER: […] Following the entry into force of the TPNW, the use and even the possession of nuclear weapons will become a contravention of international law. Japan’s alliance partner the United States has large stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Could you tell us how Japan will continue to call on all nuclear weapon states, not just the United States, but others such as China and Russia, and persuade them to abandon and decommission nuclear weapons?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: As I have said previously, while responding to the security environment surrounding Japan, we must advance nuclear disarmament. Therefore, Japan intends to make an effort so that every country, including the nuclear-weapon states, work together towards this goal, by raising the awareness of its necessity at various fora and resolutions.
 
REPORTER: […] When you served as Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, you met with the atomic bomb survivors directly in Hiroshima, and on other occasions. The atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki have indicated their agreement with the TPNW and are calling strongly on the Government to sign and ratify it. Could you tell us how the Government intends to convey its concepts on this matter to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and what efforts it will make to gain their understanding?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: When I visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I heard from the victims of the atomic bombings about their current circumstances and also about their views on the TPNW. It is on such visits that the Prime Minister or I have also taken the opportunity to explain Japan’s stance on this matter.
 
REPORTER: […] China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has released a draft amendment to its central bank law for public comments, which would enable the issuance of a digital currency. It is reported that the timing of when such a currency would be issued has not been made clear. You previously stated that the issuance of digital currency by the Bank of Japan is naturally a matter that the Government needs to consider. Have there been any developments or is it still the case that no specific moves or plans have been made?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: First, I previously stated that there is no specific plan concerning the issuance of digital currency by the Bank of Japan and there is no change to that statement. However, in the midst of the digitalization of the economy, the Government must of course consider such matters. On October 9, the Bank of Japan published its approach to so-called central bank digital currency (CBDC), and I understand that the BOJ is making preparations with a view to implementing a pilot program early in fiscal 2021. The Ministry of Finance and other relevant ministries and agencies will conduct further reviews based on the status of considerations at the BOJ and from a broad range of perspectives, including ensuring the basic functions and characteristics that are required of legal tender, the stability of the financial system, and measures against money laundering.
 

Page Top

Related Link