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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, March 29, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Sovereignty Restoration Day on April 28
  • The comfort women issue
  • The Northern Territories issue
  • Yasukuni Shrine
  • The Consumer Price Index of February


REPORTER: Regarding the Government-organized ceremony for the Sovereignty Restoration Day on April 28, the ruling and opposition parties at the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly have prepared respective resolutions and are currently coordinating with each other towards the passage of a resolution. In any event, the proposals contain different arguments with regard to the restoration of full sovereignty. What is the view of the Government regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to this matter, it is a fact that, leaving aside the question of territory, Japan as a country existed even under occupation and we believe there was partial sovereignty. This was negotiated with the General Headquarters. Sovereignty in this sense was formally fully restored 60 years ago (last year) on April 28. Thereafter, Japan rejoined the international community, and as a sovereign nation, was able to negotiate with the U.S. or the Allies for the return of such islands as Amami, Ogasawara, and Okinawa. In this sense, I believe April 28 marks one of the milestones for Japan. Also, Japan held a ceremony jointly between the Government and Okinawa Prefecture to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the return of the main island of Okinawa on its milestone day. Furthermore, I believe it is important that there is a day like Sovereignty Restoration Day for all people of Japan to once again be reminded that it had taken 20 years for Okinawa to return to Japan, during which time the people of Okinawa experienced much suffering, and that the current burden of the U.S. bases must be reduced. 

REPORTER: On March 26, the Kyoto Prefectural Assembly adopted an opinion statement which asks the Government to pay compensation and apologize to women who had been comfort women. Regarding this matter of comfort women, the Abe administration has stated that it will listen to the opinions of experts and draft a new statement. In drafting the new statement, do you plan to refer also to this opinion statement of a local prefectural assembly?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe we have never said that we would draft a new statement.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Northern Territories. According to news reports, a U.S. company plans to construct a geothermal power plant in the Northern Territories. It was reported that when the Japanese Government expressed objection to this to the company, the company responded that it will go ahead with the construction. In the case of inter-state issues, I believe the Japanese Government usually lodges a protest. However, in cases like this when a private company of a third country is involved, how does the Japanese Government intend to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have diplomatic channels with the U.S. Through these inter-state channels with the U.S., Japan will naturally inquire as to what led to this project. (Abridged) Japan has of course notified to the U.S. that a U.S. company is engaged in such an activity in the Northern Territories based on a request from Russia. I would also like to add that we have naturally notified Russia that this is the territory of Japan.

REPORTER: I'm sorry to go back to an earlier topic, but I have a question regarding Yasukuni Shrine. As the Annual Spring Festival approaches, will you be requesting ministers, senior vice ministers, and parliamentary secretaries or Cabinet members to refrain from visiting Yasukuni Shrine?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe announcements to this effect have never been made to date.

REPORTER: If I may ask another question, could you please share with us your personal thoughts on visiting Yasukuni and whether or not you plan to make a visit yourself?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As was the case during the first Abe Cabinet, it has been the stance of the Abe administration not to announce whether visits will or will not be made. This has been the case up to now, so I believe this will remain the case.


REPORTER: It was announced today that the consumer price index of last month (February) fell by 0.3%. The index has decreased for the fourth consecutive month. I believe that the effects of Abenomics have still not translated into price increases. Can you share your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The consumer price index has indeed decreased by 0.3% over the year. I believe there is no doubt that the economy is still in a state of moderate deflation. I believe there are a variety of reasons for this. In any case, we are now making every effort to achieve the flexible "three prongs" of Abenomics in order to quickly overcome yen appreciation and deflation and dispel the deflationary outlook, and we believe that these efforts will certainly yield successful outcomes.


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