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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The Information Security Policy Council

Following this press conference, from 4:30 pm, the 33rd meeting of the Information Security Policy Council will be held. The Abe Administration is planning to formulate a new information security strategy in order to ensure the economic development of Japan, the security of the nation, and the safety and security of the people. During today's meeting, it is expected that discussion on the direction and vision of the new strategy will take place. Following the conclusion of the meeting, officials in charge will brief you on the outcome.


  • The hostage incident in Algeria and consideration for establishing a National Security Council
  • Japan-EU EPA negotiations

REPORTER: Today a memorial ceremony was held for employees of JGC Corporation. I believe that a number of Government officials, including the Prime Minister, attended the ceremony and am I right to understand that you also attended?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes I did. I attended the ceremony, which was held in Yokohama. Both the Prime Minister and I should not be away from Tokyo at the same time and I therefore left for the ceremony as the Prime Minister was about to cross Tama River on his way back.

REPORTER: So you took turns in attending the ceremony while one of you remained in Tokyo. Reflecting on the tragedy, could you share with us your resolve to protect Japanese nationals abroad, to fight terrorism, and to form a National Security Council (NSC)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I attended the ceremony and I had the opportunity to offer flowers for the victims of the incident. Tragic acts of terrorism such as this should never be allowed to happen again and I strongly condemn any acts of terrorism. At the same time, when I consider the feelings of the victims, who had been doing an outstanding job in Africa to secure energy for Japan, I am once again convinced that I must take firm heed of those feelings and develop robust means to ensure that a tragedy like this will never occur again. Meanwhile, the Government is currently carrying out the verification of the incident. In order to duly fulfill our responsibilities, we are attempting to discover what the Government could have done better, so that we can reflect on our shortcomings. We are also trying to work out how the Government can assist the private sector in situations like this. This incident triggered the launch of meetings of experts for the NSC. Learning from this incident, the Government will exert every effort to ensure that Japanese nationals working abroad remain safe and in the event of an incident, negative consequences are kept to a minimum.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on a related topic. I believe that the Verification Committee was initially saying that they hope to come to a conclusion or produce something sometime in May. Have there been any changes to this schedule?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Verification Committee has been investigating the incident and as per the initial schedule, we will work alongside the committee to develop effective measures.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question. Am I right to understand that you are aiming to, if possible, submit bills on the NSC during the current Diet Session?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, that is correct. We believe that the NSC will be extremely important in addressing security issues, particularly overseas security issues. Therefore, we are hoping to submit the bills, if possible, during the current Diet session.

REPORTER: I would like to clarify something. Are you merely hoping to submit the NSC bill during the current Diet session? Would having the bill enacted be something extra?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, if we submit the bill, we would like to see the bill enacted.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU. I understand that the EU has so far said that they will discontinue negotiations within one year if non-tariff barriers are not eliminated by Japan. Could you share with us your thoughts on the fact that these negotiations seem to now have a deadline and that negotiations will need to move quickly to be able to reach agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the EU has made demands for non-tariff measures and government procurement. During the course of negotiations, the Japanese Government will earnestly address the interests of the EU and we will continue negotiations with enthusiasm aiming for a comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreement including tariff elimination, services, and trade and investment rules. However, unlike other countries, the negotiating mandate to the EU from EU member states has effectively set a one year deadline. I understand that we do have a one year deadline but we will continue negotiations in good faith.


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