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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, March 25, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The first meeting of the Healthcare and Medical Strategy Promotion Council
  • Japan-EU summit telephone talks

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In order to implement healthcare and medical strategies in a unified manner by the ministries concerned, the Healthcare and Medical Strategy Promotion Council, which brings together the directors general in charge from the ministries concerned, was established under my leadership on March 15. Today, at 9:30 am, the members of the Council met to hold the first meeting of the Healthcare and Medical Strategy Promotion Council. At the meeting, I instructed the directors general of the ministries concerned to make concerted efforts among the relevant ministries, with a view to compiling healthcare and medical strategies and implementing relevant measures. The implication was that, as it is clear what needs to be done, I would like the efforts to be translated into action and for it to deliver results. For details, I ask that you please direct your questions to the Office for Healthcare and Medical Strategy.

Next, today, from 6:30 pm, telephone talks will be held between the leaders of Japan and the European Union (EU). Although the initially scheduled 21st Japan-EU Summit was postponed due to the EU leaders' response to Cyprus issue, the telephone talks will be held to ensure that there is close communication between the leaders on both sides even in these circumstances. During the talks, it is expected that the EU will explain the situation regarding Cyprus and that consultations will be held regarding the start of the negotiations for the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement and political agreement.


  • Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the return of land south of Kadena base in Okinawa. Yesterday, in speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Abe expressed his resolve to advance the negotiations with the U.S. to be able to clearly show a schedule for the land returns. What is the specific timeframe that the Prime Minister is aiming towards? Also, can you please elaborate on this matter, including the status of the coordination work?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The basic stance of the Government is that the indefinite use of the Futenma Air Station must be avoided and that the current plan for relocation must be implemented swiftly. With regard to the reclamation of publicly-owned waters, as the consent of the Nago Fisheries Association was obtained on the 22nd, as you are aware, we promptly submitted the application for land reclamation approval to the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture on that very same day. We are aware of the existence of critical opinions in Okinawa. However, we will continue to provide a careful explanation of the views of the Government and seek understanding. In this context, during the Prime Minister's meeting with President Obama, the Prime Minister urged the U.S. to move forward quickly on the plan concerning the return of land south of Kadena Air Base. Therefore, although the timing is as yet undetermined as our counterpart is also part of this process, both countries are currently engaged in earnest negotiations for the land returns. 

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, regarding a related matter, there were some press reports  that during this same meeting, regarding the land areas south of Kadena, the Prime Minister directly and specifically requested that the President speed up the return of Camp Kinser or the Makiminato Service Area. Can you please verify the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of this. However, I am aware that during that summit meeting, the Prime Minister made a clear-cut and strong request to the President regarding the return of land south of Kadena and that the President gave a positive response.


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