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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 17, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • U.S.-North Korea relations
  • Live ammunition drills in Hokkaido by U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa
  • Prime Minister's comments on Facebook regarding a former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • The presidential election in Iran

REPORTER: I believe North Korea proposed to the U.S. the holding of senior-level direct consultations. North Korea is making active attempts to engage in dialogue. What is your analysis of North Korea's posture?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This news came up very suddenly. However, I would like to refrain from making predictions about the intentions of North Korea. No matter what kind of a dialogue it is, it must lead to the denuclearization of North Korea. It is critical that North Korea first demonstrate a sincere stance towards denuclearization.

REPORTER: Related to this, it seems that the U.S. is saying that it will not hold talks without denuclearization. Have you received any notification from the U.S.?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing in particular. It would seem natural that the U.S. would make such an assertion.


REPORTER: Regarding the matter of the Yausubetsu Training Area, the drill of the U.S. Marine Corps based in Okinawa resumed on the 15th amid local protests. Many local people feel that the resumption was decided unilaterally and have expressed concerns. How does the Government intend to respond to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that local people are protesting the resumption of the firing drill, and at the same time, are requesting the decisive execution of recurrence prevention measures. In this context, the drill resumed from the afternoon of the 15th. We understand that the U.S. is carrying out the drills while taking thorough safety measures. On the 15th and 16th following the resumption, among the two batteries, the battery that caused the incident was removed to ensure the prevention of recurrence. My understanding is that they have not participated in the drills. We, while bearing in mind the opinions of the municipalities, will continue to request that the U.S. forces take all possible measures to ensure security and will provide careful explanations to local municipalities.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding Mr. Hitoshi Tanaka [, former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs]. Mr. Tanaka, whom Prime Minister Abe criticized on Facebook as not being qualified to talk about diplomacy, appeared on our BS TV program yesterday. He stated that as Japan is a democratic nation, it is not as though freedom of speech is suppressed, nor was this the Prime Minister's intention when making his remarks. With regard to the interview article with Mr. Tanaka, he said that he made the statements with conviction and will continue to make such statements. Can you please share with us your impressions or opinions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is probably his intention. However, at the time, as Prime Minister Abe was the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and was in the best position to know the most about the background of the abduction issue, I believe he was communicating in a way that would not lead to misunderstanding.

REPORTER: Over the weekend, Secretary General Hosono of the Democratic Party of Japan raised questions about the Prime Minister's way of making statements on Facebook, stating that as someone in the highest position of authority, the way the Prime Minister worded his personal attack on a private individual was far too forceful. What is your view of this argument?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe it was a personal attack. I believe the Prime Minister deemed that it was necessary to make the facts clear regarding this extremely important issue of abductions.

REPORTER: Regarding Iran's presidential election, a moderate candidate won the election, earning the majority of the votes. Can you please explain the Government's thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government expects that under the President-elect Dr. Rouhani, Iran will conduct serious dialogues with the international community and make concrete progress towards a peaceful solution of its nuclear issues, and play an important role for the stability and peace in the Middle East. The Government of Japan on its part, based on its traditional friendly relationship with Iran, will continue to work with Iran so that Iran effectively addresses issues of the international community, above all its nuclear issue.


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