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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, March 14, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The TPP
  • The hostage incident in Algeria
  • The election of a new Pope
  • Japan-China relations
  • The issues of North Korea

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, at this morning's meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, with regard to the timing of the disclosure of the preliminary calculations concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), you stated that if the Prime Minister does announce Japan's participation in the TPP negotiations, then naturally the calculations would be disclosed at that timing. In other words, the calculations will be disclosed at the same time as the announcement of Japan's participation. Is that correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In responding to questions asked at the Budget Committee meetings, the Prime Minister stated that when the timing is right he will determine whether or not Japan will participate [in the negotiations], bearing in mind such calculations. In this light, I believe that the calculations will be revealed naturally when the Prime Minister makes his decision.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the process in relation to the statement made by the Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Governments concerning the incident in Algeria. In yesterday's press conference, you said that an investigation will be conducted. What is the status of the investigation since then?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is what I stated in yesterday's press conference, and so that is the course of action I have instructed the staff to take. However, we have not yet received a response. We are steadily making requests.

REPORTER: This morning, the members of the ruling party's project team on ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals overseas visited the Prime Minister. Those who were in attendance have said that the Prime Minister noted that he would like to bring up the matter of the revision of the Self-Defense Forces Act during the current session of the Diet. My first question is, do you plan to revise the Self-Defense Forces Act through a cabinet legislation? Also, what is the schedule for this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, today, the ruling party submitted such a report to the Prime Minister a short while ago. As for the Government, we also have the Verification Committee. While the Government and the ruling party work together, the ruling party has made some proposals in its report concerning what must be done to ensure that Japanese nationals can safely engage in their activities overseas. Therefore, we would like to take responses while sincerely considering the proposals. We have just received the report today, but this is the general direction in which we would like to move forward.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Pope. A new Pope who will lead some 1.2 billion Catholics in the world was elected. If you have any thoughts or impressions regarding this, could you please share them with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan would like to sincerely congratulate His Holiness Pope Francis I on his selection. We hope that under the leadership of the new Pope, further favorable relations between Japan and the Vatican can be forged. Furthermore, Japan will make full plans for sending a representative of the Government to the installation ceremony of the new Pope and so forth.

REPORTER: Will a Cabinet member be attending the installation ceremony?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whether or not it is a Cabinet member, we intend to dispatch an individual who is appropriate.

REPORTER: Today, it is anticipated that Xi Jinping will be selected as President at the National People's Congress in China. Will the Japanese Government be extending any congratulatory words or the like?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, we will express our congratulations if Mr. Jinping is formally appointed.

REPORTER: Through telephone talks? What is the possibility of such options?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That has not yet been considered.


REPORTER: For the first time the U.S. has indicated in its report that it deems North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as posing a serious threat to the security of the U.S. and East Asia. The report also touched on the possible use of nuclear weapons. What is Japan's view of this analysis?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the U.S. Director of National Intelligence made such a report. We have continued to state on a regular basis that North Korea's continued development of nuclear and missile capabilities will seriously undermine the safety of the whole international community, including Japan, and that it is absolutely unforgivable. In this sense, with regard to the fact that the U.S. expressed a tough stance, our belief is that the U.S. and Japan share the same understanding. We intend to execute the Security Council resolutions pertaining to North Korea, while working together more closely with the countries concerned, including the U.S., Russia, China, and the Republic of Korea. We also believe that North Korea must indeed comply with the Joint Statement of the six parties. In this sense, with the U.S. expressing such a tough stance, we will work to fully encircle North Korea.

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