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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The establishment of an office on territorial and sovereignty issues under the Senkaku Islands
  • Yasukuni Shrine

REPORTER: I would like to once again ask a question in relation to the Senkaku Islands, a topic that was also raised at this morning's press conference. While you used strong words and described the incident as extremely regrettable, it appears that, contrary to the desires of Japan, China's conduct has become increasingly provocative. For instance they had a vessel remain within Japanese territorial waters for around 14 hours; the longest ever. Could you tell us how the Government views this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated during this morning's press conference, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Japan to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and lodged a stern protest against the vessel's entry and prolonged stay in Japanese territorial waters. The Deputy Minister also once again emphasized that Japan cannot accept China's own claims and requested that the Ambassador relay this message back to the Chinese Government. The Deputy Minister once again strongly urged the Chinese Government to exercise self restraint and to act responsibly.

REPORTER: Does the Government have any further plans to take more definitive action toward China, such as issuing a warning?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: If a situation like the one today occurs again, the Government will make even stronger protests.

REPORTER: I understand that the Territorial and Sovereignty Measures Planning and Coordination Office has been formed. Could you tell us from your own and the Government's perspectives, what exactly this Office will be responsible for?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the main purpose of the office is to act as a domestic public relations office.

REPORTER: What do you mean by public relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has been very clear and consistent that the Senkaku Islands are a Japanese territory and that this is the case under international law, and also that Takeshima is an inherent part of the territory of Japan. The Government would like to ensure that the Japanese public is fully aware of the facts of the situations.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on a related topic. I understand that the Cabinet Office was predominately responsible for public relations. Could you tell us of your objectives in forming a dedicated office?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you know, we also have a Northern Territories Affairs Administration. The office has been formed to increase public awareness of territorial and sovereignty issues with the cooperation of the Northern Territories Affairs Administration. We will also plan and develop ways to encourage the public to understand the relevance of the Northern Territory issues.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the personnel decision in relation to the Bank of Japan Governor. On the weekend, Mr. Yoshimi Watanabe, the President of Your Party, revealed that he recommended to Prime Minister Abe five individuals, including Mr.Yoichi Takahashi, Mr.Heizo Takenaka and Mr.Kikuo Iwata, as candidates for Bank of Japan Governor. Given that the Government values dialogue with opposition parties, am I right to understand that these five individuals are the leading candidates?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whoever it turns out to be, as the Prime Minister always says, we are seeking someone who can boldly implement monetary easing policies and I understand that the Prime Minister will make the final decision based on this criterion.


REPORTER: I apologize for changing the topic but I would like to ask a question regarding visits to Yasukuni Shrine. Today at the meeting of war-bereaved families held at the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) head office, Chairperson of the LDP Policy Research Council Takaichi expressed her expectations for the Prime Minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine on the anniversary of the end of the war, stating "I am looking forward to seeing the Prime Minister and many Cabinet Members offering their prayers of appreciation to the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine this summer." Could you tell us if the Government is actually considering such a visit by the Prime Minister, and could you also tell us how the Government views these comments by Chairperson of the Policy Research Council Takaichi?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To be frank, the Government is not considering this. However, I am aware that the Prime Minister consistently says that it is only natural that the leader of the nation visits Yasukuni Shrine for the war dead who dedicated their lives for the nation and to express respect for those war dead. I am also aware that the Prime Minister has stated that "it was extremely regrettable that I was not able to visit Yasukuni Shrine while I was in office" in relation to the previous Abe Cabinet. Regardless, I understand that the Prime Minister himself will make the appropriate decision.


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