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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan-ROK relations
  • Response to the situation of North Korea
  • The People's Daily of China's opinion piece about Okinawa

REPORTER: During the summit meeting between the United States (U.S.) and the Republic of Korea (ROK), I believe President Park Geun-hye of the ROK stated to the U.S. President that Japan must have a correct understanding of history. What are your thoughts regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the specific exchanges which took place during the U.S.-ROK summit meeting. In any case, I would like to refrain from responding about the summit meeting exchanges between other countries in my capacity as a representative of the Government.

REPORTER: Meanwhile, in an interview with the Washington Post, President Park Geun-hye explained that she told President Obama her view that Japan should have a correct understanding of history, and expressed that Japan should express remorse over the history. Are you aware of these facts? Also, what are your thoughts regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of that. However, as Japan's views are clear, we will make efforts to obtain understanding of our views through diplomatic channels.

REPORTER: When you say, "Japan's views are clear," what are you referring to?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So, as I have stated repeatedly on these occasions with regard to history, the Yasukuni issue, and the understanding of history, the Abe Cabinet shares the same recognition that during a certain period during World War II, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Concurrently, the Abe Cabinet similarly expresses its feelings of profound mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, of that war. I have also stated a number of times on these occasions that this matter need not be turned into a political or diplomatic issue. I believe that these things are not understood, and therefore we will strive to have our position fully understood.


REPORTER: Regarding North Korea, it seems that the Bank of China of China notified the Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea that the Bank of China was suspending its transactions, closing its accounts, and imposing financial sanctions. Can you share with us your thoughts, if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While I am aware of the news reports, I do not have knowledge of the specific details. However, given that a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution has been adopted, if China, which is said to have the most influence on North Korea, does take such actions in accordance with this resolution, then we welcome China's statement. We welcome this statement in light of the critical importance of the international community to make united efforts in urging North Korea to honor its commitments on denuclearization, on the ban against missile programs, and on the abduction issue - a critically important issue for Japan.

REPORTER: As you just stated, if China indeed does go ahead with such measures, what then do you think about the fact that China has gradually stepped up pressure on North Korea, when China until now had been quite cautious about such measures? What is your analysis of the underlying factors?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China too has committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In this regard, I believe China is very much starting to feel the threat. I believe this is what led to China making this statement. As we have already decided on the commitments at the Six-Party Talks and in the UN Security Council resolutions, we welcome moves by the respective nations towards making united efforts as the international community to strengthen the pressure on North Korea to ensure that it abides by the resolutions, and the decisions reached at the Six-Party Talks.

REPORTER: I understand that in today's People's Daily of China, an opinion piece written by a scholar was published which questions why Okinawa belongs to Japan. Leaving this matter itself aside, there has been an emerging discourse among scholars and others in China recently which poses questions about Okinawa belonging to Japan. What is the Japanese Government's view regarding these developments in China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As has already been made clear, there is no doubt that Okinawa is an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. If what you have stated is taking place in China, then I believe the discourse is completely unreasonable.

REPORTER: I believe there were some news reports yesterday that North Korea removed missiles from a launch site. And today, China's financial sanctions have been reported. What does the Japanese Government think about the correlation between these two reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like to refrain from making projections or comments on this here. However, we are at least aware of the news reports regarding North Korea's missile issue, and the intelligence regarding this is in fact currently under analysis. China's financial sanctions in this context, which we have also learned from news reports, if true, are welcomed by Japan.

REPORTER: On a related matter, I believe the only example of financial sanctions that were effective against North Korea was the case involving a Macau bank and so on a few years ago. To date, countries have requested China to exercise its influence. In this sense, was China's statement something that Japan expected? Did Japan want China to take such actions? Was it part of the set of measures? Also, what do you think about the impact this will have? If you could please answer these two questions.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was in large part what Japan expected from China. If China does move ahead in this direction, then I believe this will give momentum to the efforts of the international community to thwart North Korea's accidental firings.

REPORTER: Then in regard to this case, Japan has not requested China to close certain bank accounts, or did not work with the countries concerned in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The UN Security Council resolution also states the bank accounts. In this sense, as you have stated a moment ago, we believe these sanctions are extremely effective based on past track records. In this sense, we frankly welcome China's statement.


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