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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • The Prime Minister's plan to visit Mongolia

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to give an overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved the fiscal 2013 provisional budget of revenue and expenditure for the general accounts. The meeting also approved the fiscal 2013 general account provisional budget, special account provisional budget, and the provisional budget for governmental institutions. The Minister of Finance then made a statement concerning these matters.

I would like to speak on the visit of Prime Minister Abe to Mongolia. If scheduling permits, Prime Minister Abe is planning to visit Mongolia on March 30 to 31 to hold talks with Government officials, including President Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Altankhuyag. Prime Minister Abe's upcoming visit to Mongolia will be the first by a Japanese Prime Minister in seven years. It is anticipated that the visit will facilitate exchange of opinion on a broad range of topics such as political and security issues, economic issues including resources and  people-to-people exchanges. Through this we hope that the strategic partnership of Japan and Mongolia will further strengthen.


  • The current situation of North Korea
  • The Prime Minister's plan to visit North Korea
  • The textbook authorization


REPORTER: I would now like to ask a question regarding North Korea. The Korean Central News Agency has reported that the Korean People's Army Supreme Command issued a statement that says all field-artillery units will be immediately placed under class-A combat readiness to counter pressure placed on it by the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. How does the Japanese Government assess this state of class-A combat readiness?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have heard of this a number of times. North Korea has taken provocative action on a number of occasions and it is something that we have viewed as extremely regrettable. We intend to strongly demand that no further provocative action is taken. Having said that, we have brought together the director-generals of the relevant ministries and agencies under the leadership of the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management, and have been sharing information in order to be fully ready for all possible developments.

REPORTER: In your opening statement you announced the visit of the Prime Minister to Mongolia. Could you share with us your thoughts on the objectives and significance of the Prime Minister visiting Mongolia at this point in time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When I spoke about Mongolia earlier, I touched on the objectives of the visit, specifically about economic and people-to-people exchanges. The purpose of the meeting is to conduct extensive exchange of opinion on political and security issues, economic issues including resources and people-to-people exchanges, which includes politics, security and resources, and thereby further strengthening the strategic partnership of Japan and Mongolia. This is our ultimate goal.

REPORTER: Mongolia has historically had a strong relationship with North Korea. You said earlier that the objective of the Prime Minister's visit includes discussing politics and security. Do you believe that the North Korean situation will be a topic of discussion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the agenda of topics to be discussed will be addressed at a summit meeting, however the Prime Minister will visit Mongolia with the aforementioned objectives and I would naturally think that a topic such as that would be raised.

REPORTER: I believe that the President of the People's Republic of China has been making assertions regarding territorial issues while visiting Africa and Russia. Is the Japanese Government planning to request understanding on the Senkaku Islands situations, or is the Government planning to explain the stance of Japan during the upcoming visit of Mongolia?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are not visiting Mongolia with a specific third country you just mentioned, in mind. Furthermore, the visit is designed so that, as I said earlier, a broad range of topics including politics, security, resources, and economic and people-to-people exchanges can be discussed.

REPORTER: You mentioned resources in relation to the upcoming visit of Mongolia. I believe that the Abe administration has put large effort into the energy strategy, which is illustrated by the establishment of the energy strategy and the holding of meetings on the topic. Could you tell us in detail the relationship between this and the visit to Mongolia?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is said that Mongolia has the largest volume of coal in the world, that is untapped coal. Some have also said that Mongolia also has other precious mineral resources. When we consider the strategic energy policy for Japan, we believe that Mongolia is a very important country. Since the nuclear power stations in Japan have stopped operating, we have spent more than 3 trillion yen on importing energy resources. In light of this, Japan positions Mongolia as one of the most important countries when we look at our energy strategy and resources.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the results of the textbook authorization announced yesterday. A statement that says that the mass suicides of residents during the Battle of Okinawa were forced by the military was among those authorized. This is a change from previous text books. Could you share your views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Newspapers today reported the results of the textbook authorization. This authorization is completed after academic and specialist deliberation based on curriculum guidelines by the Textbook Authorization and Research Council of publications written and edited by private publishers. Therefore I believe that this is a fair and neutral authorization and that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) completes this authorization process with utmost care. Please contact MEXT for further details.

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