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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 25, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan-ROK relations
  • The TPP
  • The Verification Committee on the Terrorist Incident against Japanese Nationals in Algeria


REPORTER: I am sorry to change the subject, but today was the inauguration ceremony of the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK). Can you share with us any thoughts you have on the inauguration of President Park?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have stated numerous times that the ROK is Japan's most vital neighbor with which we share basic values and interests. Taking this opportunity of the establishment of a new administration in both Japan and the ROK, the Government will strive to build future-oriented and multilayered relations with the Government of the ROK.

REPORTER: Regarding a related matter, protests are growing within the ROK in response to Parliamentary Secretary Shimajiri's attendance of the Takeshima Day ceremony. It seems that a private group of 6 million self-employed individuals and others in the ROK announced that it would start a campaign to boycott Japanese products. This is bound to affect the Japanese economy. What is your view regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the ROK are, as I stated just now, most vital neighbors. Therefore, we will make efforts to be able to mutually build future-oriented relations with the Government of the ROK. 

REPORTER: Regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), I believe the Prime Minister is explaining about this at the Board meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). It still seems to be the case that some members of the LDP have a deep-seated opposition to making an early announcement to join the TPP negotiations. How do you want this to be addressed within the LDP?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the Japan-U.S. summit meeting, the Prime Minister succeeded in arriving at the recognition that the requirement for Japan's participation in the negotiations would not be the making of a prior commitment to eliminate tariffs with no sanctuary, which was the policy pledge that the LDP set forth during the election. Regarding how the Prime Minister will make a decision while bearing this in mind, today, the Prime Minister will explain the content of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting during the Board meeting. The Prime Minister's decision as to whether or not Japan will join the negotiations will be made with the consensus of the Government. However, naturally, I believe that the Prime Minister will make the decision in the context of listening sincerely to the various opinions within the LDP.

REPORTER: Another question related to this, it seems that there are some LDP members who believe that a little more time should be spent on the procedure. However, your view is that this should not drag on for too long. There seems to be a gap there. Is it possible that the Government will slightly adjust its schedule in the context of listening to the opinions of the LDP?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like to address this carefully, while listening sincerely to the discussions within the party. However, as there are also the current negotiations with the U.S., I believe the Prime Minister will make a decision bearing these in mind.


REPORTER: What is the status of the report being compiled by the Verification Committee regarding the incident in Algeria? Also, what is the schedule for the experts' meeting that is scheduled to be launched next month?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated from before, the Verification Committee, which is currently working with ministries and agencies, plan to compile the findings regarding Algeria at the end of this month, around the 28th, although this may change due to the circumstances of the Diet. After this is done, based on the findings of the Verification Committee, we will immediately consult with experts. Upon holding a number of meetings, if possible, we hope to set out a vision prior to the long national holiday (from the end of April).  

REPORTER: Regarding this, is it correct to understand that the members of the experts' meeting have already been selected? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is being done right now. (Abridged) It still has not been decided, but we are nearly there.


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