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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, June 5, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Japanese national football team's qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • Japan-ROK relations

REPORTER: Last night, the Japanese national football team managed to secure a draw moments before the game was over, securing its place in the World Cup finals for the fifth consecutive tournament. Can you please share your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I would like to sincerely congratulate the Japanese national team for becoming the first team in the world to make it through the qualifiers and to secure a place in the World Cup for the fifth consecutive tournament, sweeping the entire country in a wave of euphoria. Although I unfortunately could not watch the match as it was being played, I later watched it on video after I got home. Therefore, I know that it was indeed at the very, very end that Japan scored a goal in additional time, and managed to draw the match. The players played persistently without giving up - indeed, I believe that it was a total team effort that earned them a place in the World Cup finals and that they greatly inspired many people. Looking ahead to the actual tournament, I hope that the team braces itself and succeeds towards an even higher goal.


REPORTER: Regarding China, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has refuted your statement about the shelving of the Senkaku issue being contrary to facts, saying that it is a historical fact. What is your opinion in response to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Deputy Director General made the statement in response to Mr. Nonaka's statement. The other day, Mr. Nonaka mentioned Prime Minister Tanaka, correct? He mentioned the former Prime Minister, but we are talking about something that happened 40 years ago. Moreover, Mr. Nonaka had heard what he did through hearsay. It seems very odd to me that without presenting any definitive reasoning, Mr. Nonaka would go so far as to say this in China, while there upon the country's invitation. I believe many Japanese people share my opinion. In yesterday's press conference, I stated that there is no factual basis for the assertion that Japan and China have agreed to shelve the issue or to maintain the status quo, and I stated that no such issue exists. I said this based on historical facts and based on objective facts.

REPORTER: Looking at China's recent moves, I get the sense that China is trying to appeal to international public opinion or views. What is your view of China's intentions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In that sense, perhaps this latest case is a typical example. While I will refrain from saying any more on this matter concerning a single individual, cases like this have taken place a number of times previously and perhaps this latest case is one example which epitomizes what you stated.

REPORTER: Related to this, as you just said, I believe that as a standard tactic China is fine with simply having the Senkaku issue understood by the world as a territorial dispute, or it invites people who share similar views with the Chinese Government to come to the country. How will Japan be responding to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In light of the historical facts to date and based upon international law, no matter from what angle one looks at this, there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan. Therefore, Japan will explain this to the world through various diplomatic channels.

REPORTER: With regard to the statement made by the new Ambassador to Japan of the Republic of Korea (ROK), he made a statement of which the main point can be interpreted to mean that as a precondition for realizing a Japan-ROK summit meeting, Japan must present an understanding of history that the ROK can find acceptable. What are the thoughts of the Government regarding the Ambassador's statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have repeatedly explained Japan's position on our understanding of history at these press conferences and also at the Diet. Diplomatic authorities of both sides will continue to deepen their understanding. In any case, we recognize that Japan and the ROK are important partners for cooperating for the peace and stability of Northeast Asia, including the issue of North Korea. Therefore, Japan will make efforts to be able to forge future-oriented Japan-ROK relations from a broad perspective.

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