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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Response to the situation of North Korea
  • Japan-China relations
  • Japan-ROK relations
  • The Sovereignty Restoration Day on April 28
  • Unauthorized access to a JAXA server

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding North Korea. Tomorrow North Korea will celebrate the founding of its army and there has been speculation that North Korea will make some kind of move on April 25. With today being the day prior to that date, are there any signs of missile launch preparations or anything else?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for the North Korean situation, nothing has changed. The Government remains in a state of high alert to ensure the lives and safety of citizens are protected in any possible situation.

REPORTER: It seems to me that recently there have been a significant number of events causing tension between Japan and China, including the violations of Japanese territorial waters by Chinese patrol vessels. Could you share with us what you think would be a breakthrough for Japan-China dialogue? Could you also share your thoughts on the possibility of holding a trilateral summit meeting involving Japan, China and the Republic of Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From Japan's perspective the door is always open for dialogue with China. As for the Japan, China and the Republic of Korea summit meeting, the Republic of Korea will be the host nation; therefore I expect that the Government of the Republic of Korea will take the lead as it is the host nation.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding Japan's relationship with the Republic of Korea. Major newspapers of the Republic of Korea, including the Chosun Ilbo, gave front page and extensive coverage to the comments made by the Prime Minister during yesterday's Budget Committee meeting. The Prime Minister made some comments in which he said that acts of aggression are matters that concern two nations and therefore may be perceived differently depending from which side you are looking. The Republic of Korea interpreted this as the Prime Minister denying past acts of aggression. These comments, combined with the Yasukuni shrine issue, have generated bad sentiment in the Republic of Korea where it is believed that Japan and the Republic of Korea have a diverging understanding of history. Could you share your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For Japan, both China and the Republic of Korea are very important neighbors. Therefore, I would never wish for yesterday's comments by the Prime Minister or the Yasukuni Shrine to influence the overall relationship of the two nations. This does not at all affect Japan's stance of maintaining a broad perspective and strengthening our relationship with those countries and their people.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister's comments have been interpreted in an unintended way. Consequently, it may potentially put at risk the cooperation the two nations should be making with regard to dealing with North Korea. What are you thoughts on this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that only a portion of the Prime Minister's comments were quoted and believe that the Prime Minister still shares my understanding that the Republic of Korea is an extremely important neighbor.

REPORTER: There have been some media reports that suggest the possibility of a meeting involving Defense Director-General level representatives of Japan and China sometime this month. Could you tell us if this is the case, and if so, how the arrangements are progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As of now I do not have any specific information. However, I believe that such arrangements are currently being made and Japan always keeps its door open for dialogue with China via diplomatic channels. Naturally we are communicating with China on various matters, which include this meeting.

REPORTER: I understand that the Government will host a ceremony for sovereignty restoration day this weekend. Could you once again tell us the significance of this ceremony? I believe that some demonstrations are scheduled in Okinawa and Tokyo for this day. Could you share with us the Government's view on the fact that the ceremony will be held in such circumstances?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have spoken on this issue on a number of occasions, but let me speak on the matter once again. The Government will host this ceremony as we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the enforcement of the San Francisco Peace Treaty with the purpose of reaffirming the significance of Japan's responsible contribution to the peace and prosperity of the international community and refreshing our determination to cultivate a future for our nation while learning from the experiences and lessons of the past. In reality Japan restored its sovereignty and returned to the international community when the peace treaty came into force. This peace treaty approves the restoration of Japanese sovereignty. In light of this, we believe that the San Francisco Peace Treaty provided Japan with a starting point for today's peaceful and prosperous nation. At the same time we of course cannot forget the troubled history of Amami, Ogasawara and Okinawa, where for a period of time after the war they were left outside of the administrative powers of Japan. Furthermore, we must give profound consideration to those who painfully overcame those hardships and work to reduce the burden placed on Okinawa by the military bases it hosts. The Government will host the ceremony to refresh our determination to cultivate a future for our nation that of course includes Amami, Ogasawara and Okinawa.


REPORTER: I believe that there has been a security breach of a server of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, originating from Japanese and Chinese IP addresses resulting in the possibility that space station manuals and other documents were leaked. Could you tell us the current situation and how the Government will address this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just stated, it has been reported to me that a JAXA server experienced unauthorized access. The Cabinet Secretariat, on behalf of the Government, has instructed the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, to which JAXA reports, to investigate the incident at JAXA, identify the cause and take preventative measures without delay.

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