Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  April 2013 >  Monday, April 15, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, April 15, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Response to the situation of North Korea
  • The abduction issue
  • Opinion polls on the current administration
  • The bill to reduce the House of Representatives seats

REPORTER: Could you tell us if there is any new information relating to a missile launch by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no new information to report.

REPORTER: I believe that today in North Korea a ceremony is being held to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung. Are there any signs that the situation in North Korea may change from tomorrow onwards?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: North Korea continues to engage repeatedly in provocative words and actions, however, I believe that it is the role of our Government to not allow these actions to affect its judgment and to maintain a stance of making every effort to ensure the safety and security of the public. This is the stance that the Government has consistently taken since North Korea began its repeated provocative words and actions. In the meeting between Secretary of State Kerry and the Prime Minister today it was also confirmed that North Korea should be urged to refrain from such actions as they will serve absolutely no benefit.

REPORTER: There are some who now consider that the current situation will become drawn out. In such a situation, how is the Government positioning the issue of cooperation with countries concerned on the abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In actual fact, in the meeting today between the Prime Minister and Secretary Kerry, the Prime Minister has expressed his gratitude to the United States for its cooperation on this issue and has requested continued support. Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida also made a similar request in his meeting with Secretary Kerry yesterday. In addition, at the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting  the Government could ensure that the statement issued by the meeting included an expression of concern about the abduction issue, as a humanitarian issue. The Government will continue to take all opportunities to raise the abduction issue in the international community and seek to achieve a resolution, using our stance of dialogue and pressure with regard to North Korea. The resolution of this issue is one of the greatest priorities for the Abe administration and we will continue to make every endeavor in that regard, in cooperation with various other countries.

REPORTER: On a related note, Mr. Hideshi Mitani, Deputy Director of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue came to visit you recently. As far as it is possible to do so, could you tell us the content of your discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Are you asking whether he met me? He did come to the Prime Minister's Office, but due to the nature of the discussions I would like to refrain from discussing them here.

REPORTER: Did you meet him?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: He came to the Prime Minister's Office.


REPORTER: Returning to the topic of the Prime Minister's meeting with Secretary Kerry, I am aware that the Prime Minister stated that he seeks to resolve the abduction issue during the course of his administration. What was the response to this statement from the United States side?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not heard specifically what the response was, but as the United States has expressed understanding for and supported our position to date, I imagine that the United States responded that it would provide further cooperation on this issue.

REPORTER: Returning to the missile issue, over the last few days a path towards dialogue has been sought and there is a growing view that North Korea will actually not launch a missile. What is the Government's view concerning the possibility that a missile will not be launched?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In all honesty, the Government is receiving a great deal of varied information relating to North Korea and the fact remains that North Korea is engaged in provocative words and actions. As I have already stated, Japan will not allow North Korea's provocative words and actions to affect our judgment and we will respond to any situation that requires a response. The situation is nothing more and nothing less than that.


REPORTER: According to an opinion poll implemented by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the approval rating of the Cabinet has surpassed 70 percent for four consecutive polls. Can I ask for your reaction to this poll? Also, with regard to the bill to reduce the number of seats in the House of Representatives by five seats with no increase in numbers - the so-called "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill - more than 60 percent of respondents in the poll stated an opinion that the bill should be enacted during the current session of the Diet. Can I ask for your reaction to this poll result, given the current opposition by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The approval rating in excess of 70 percent is something that we welcome and are grateful for. Just over 100 days have passed since the inauguration of the current administration and I believe that during this time the Cabinet has engaged in concerted and dedicated efforts to address various issues, such as the revitalization of the Japanese economy, reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and thorough crisis management with regard to such issues as North Korea and the Senkaku Islands. I think that this poll demonstrates that the public are supportive of the results of our efforts to date. Furthermore, in order that we can respond to the public's expectations, the Government intends to continue on its course single-mindedly, without becoming complacent, and fearlessly do what needs to be done. With regard to the bill to reduce the number of House of Representatives seats by five with no increase, as can be seen from opinion polls in all newspapers, more than 60 percent of the public think that this bill should be enacted. I concur entirely with public opinion in this regard. At the end of last year at the time of the dissolution of the Diet, then-Prime Minister Noda, together with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito Party, approved the draft "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill. Given that it was approved in this way, consultations on how to achieve the redrawing of constituency boundaries have already begun in the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts and if opposition is voiced to the procedures to decide the redrawing of boundaries, which are being implemented on the basis of the approval of the draft "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill, then I think that such opposition would not be understood by the public at all. Looking back to the end of last year, the three parties reached an agreement on reducing the number of Diet seats. It is therefore natural that we should engage in fundamental reform. However, what we need to do first is to proceed with the "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill, which has already been decided through consultations between the three parties of the DPJ, New Komeito and the LDP and approved by the Diet. Unless we carry through the pledge made on the basis of this bill I think it will lead to the public losing confidence in the political process. Therefore, I believe that during the current Diet session it is necessary to act on the report received by the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts, which was based on the "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill and see that the bill is duly enacted, which will naturally then lead to fundamental reform. Given the fact that there are still a variety of differing opinions among parties and parliamentary groups with regard to the actual number of seats to be reduced, I think we should first proceed by enacting the "0 increase, 5 reduction" bill, which is something that has already been agreed on. I believe that fundamental reform will definitely be taken forward, as the various court rulings on the constitutionality of the current electoral system are something that political parties and individual politicians should take on board with all earnestness.


Page Top

Related Link