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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Sovereignty Restoration Day on April 28
  • The test development of methane hydrate
  • Consideration on the revision of Article 96 of the Constitution
  • Nuclear test by the U.S.
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The TPP

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, I would like to once again ask a question regarding the "Sovereignty Restoration Day." With previous Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Tanigaki, for example, it was evident that he had strong feelings towards 4.28 when the LDP came out with a draft Constitution. Meanwhile, I have not heard you speak about Prime Minister Abe's feelings towards 4.28. As I understand that His Majesty the Emperor is also attending the ceremony, can you once again briefly explain how it was decided and who in the Cabinet decided to hold the "Sovereignty Restoration Day" ceremony in this format?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: By concluding the San Francisco Peace Treaty, Japan rose out of post-war occupation, restored its sovereignty, and furthermore, rejoined the international community. In this sense, I believe (4.28) was the "Sovereignty Restoration Day" that symbolizes the "peaceful Japan" of the post-war era. It was the Prime Minister who decided to hold a ceremony for "Sovereignty Restoration Day." In particular, last year was the 60th anniversary (of the entry into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty), and therefore, LDP had wanted to hold the ceremony in the milestone year of the 60th anniversary. With LDP resuming the administration, this year we are able to hold a Government-organized ceremony in commemoration of the 60th anniversary so to speak.

REPORTER: So you had this same feeling last year as well, and now that you have resumed the administration once again, your wish is coming to fruition this year.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, that is correct. This was the day when post-war peaceful Japan restored its sovereignty, rejoined the international community, and started on its path. With that in mind, we are holding the ceremony.

REPORTER: Is this day being named the "Sovereignty Restoration Day"?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The details are currently being reviewed. However, we as a party understand that this was the day when Japan restored its sovereignty. Therefore, now that we have risen to the administration, we would like to hold the ceremony on this day with these thoughts in mind. However, whether or not it will be this particular day will be examined going forward. 


REPORTER: With regard to the "Sovereignty Restoration Day," I recall you saying before that some people have expressed concerns in light of the Okinawa issue and so on. Who expressed these concerns, and how were they expressed? Also, how were these concerns cleared up within the administration in order to establish this "Sovereignty Restoration Day"? If you could please elaborate on these points.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We received opinions from a variety of people regarding the holding of the ceremony for the "Sovereignty Restoration Day." From the perspective of the Okinawan people, occupation was still going on, Thus we share the belief that the ceremony must be executed with consideration paid to the Okinawan people.

REPORTER: On a related note, how do you exactly intend to demonstrate consideration towards Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In fact, at today's Cabinet meeting as well, in his statement the Prime Minister expressed the Government's view or instructed that the views of the Okinawan people are borne in mind and that the burden of the bases in Okinawa is reduced as much as possible.


REPORTER: Regarding the test development of methane hydrate, Japan has succeeded in extracting natural gas from the seabed. Can you share your thoughts on this as well as your views regarding its impact on the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, the test production of natural gas from methane hydrate succeeded for the first time in the world. For resource poor Japan, this is truly an achievement to be welcomed. The Government would like to make every effort to establish technologies to translate the test results into future commercialization (of methane hydrate). In particular, as the depletion of resource is anticipated going forward, I believe this is an extremely welcome achievement for Japan.  


REPORTER: I believe you stated recently that the revision of Article 96 of the Constitution was a priority. What kind of position will you be seeking from the Japan Restoration Party (JRP) with regard to the revision of the Constitution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, JRP clearly sets forth as a party policy that Article 96 should be revised. So does Your Party. There are also many people from the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) who believe that Article 96 should not be modified. After the House of Councillors election is over, we would like to seek the cooperation of a variety of people.   


REPORTER: The United States (U.S.) announced that it conducted a new type of nuclear test. Can you first tell us the response of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to this nuclear test, I am aware that this test was conducted twice in order to maintain and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. stockpile of nuclear weapons. However, this test does not entail nuclear explosions which are banned under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), and Japan has no intention at all of lodging a protest or carrying out other such actions.

REPORTER: The Obama administration calls for a world free of nuclear weapons. What is your impression regarding the consistency with this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our understanding is that this nuclear test was aimed at maintaining safety and effectiveness. President Obama supports initiatives aimed at a world free of nuclear weapons. We as a Government support Mr. Obama's world free of nuclear weapons, and therefore, we will continue to work with the U.S. to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.  

REPORTER: Today, at a symposium, Special Advisor to the Cabinet Yachi made a statement with regard to the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands to the effect that if China so wishes, perhaps Japan could take the position of accepting to settle this matter fairly at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Does the Government have room to consider this? What is the current position of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is the first time that I heard this. Our position is that there is no territorial dispute. However, I'm sure China has its own views, and we will not refuse China's expressing its own view. We believe the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Therefore, our position is that no territorial dispute exists.  


REPORTER: I believe that the recommendations from the party's discussions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be compiled at the final meeting tomorrow. Is my understanding correct that the Prime Minister will make and announce his decision after receiving the recommendations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather than after receiving the recommendations and so on, I would like to say that my understanding is that the Prime Minister will make a decision at an appropriate time by holistically considering the various issues, including issues with the U.S. and other participating countries, and relationships with these countries.

REPORTER: I have another question. What exactly is the coordination with the U.S., and what is the status of its progress?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As these are negotiations or consultations, I would like to refrain from explaining them. However, there is the U.S. and currently three countries - I naturally believe that coordination with these countries will become necessary.


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