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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 17, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Media reports regarding the UK government's interceptions of other countries' communications during the G-20 London Summit 2009
  • Japan-U.S. relations
  • Crisis management system during the Prime Minister's absence
  • Constitutional revision

REPORTER: It has been reported in some UK media that during the 2009 (G20) Summit the UK Government intercepted emails and telephone calls of delegates from the participating nations. As the G8 Summit is approaching could you share with us the Government's views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these media reports but I do not know any further details, and I therefore cannot make any further comments at this time on behalf of the Japanese Government.

REPORTER: According to the reports, the interception was conducted in order to gain intelligence on other countries [during the G20 Summit]. In light of these reports, and with the G8 fast approaching, does the Government intend to take any measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We regularly engage in all kinds of diplomatic negotiations but I must refrain from commenting on matters such as this. We are doing everything within our power.

REPORTER: I believe that the Government attempted to arrange a bilateral summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Obama during the G8 Summit but it appears that the meeting will not occur. Could you provide us with the facts, and if the meeting is indeed not going to take place, could you tell us why?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The two held talks back in February and also recently had a 30 minute telephone conversation. I believe that the two leaders share an extremely strong sense of trust. Therefore I understand that we do not have the need to hold another formal meeting at this time. However, I believe that close cooperation between the President and Prime Minister will be maintained through various means.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning crisis management while the Prime Minister is away. I believe that today you will be outside of Tokyo on political duties. Could you explain the details of the crisis management system in place while the Prime Minister is away? I understand that the Deputy Prime Minister will be the acting Prime Minister but could you tell us the details of the crisis management system that will come into effect during instances of unexpected events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, either the Prime Minister or myself remain within Tokyo at any given time, but this is not an official rule. I believe, however, that there is no problem as we have both Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretaries Seko and Sugita in Tokyo while we always ensure that I am able to return to Tokyo within 30 minutes.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding comments made by Prime Minister Abe in Poland concerning the Constitution. He remarked that in relation to the amendment of Article 96 it has been opined that the requirement for a two-thirds majority vote should remain unchanged for constitutional changes that concern pacifism, basic human rights and popular sovereignty. Have the Government and the ruling parties commenced discussions on whether the requirements for proposing constitutional change should be gradual or be divided up into a number of stages?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARYSUGA: We have not yet commenced any concrete discussions on that, but if the Prime Minister made such comments, I would take that to mean that the Prime Minister holds this opinion. Furthermore, pacifism, basic human rights and popular sovereignty, as you just mentioned, are among the items for constitutional change on which the Liberal Democratic Party places emphasis. Therefore it is only natural that there is a great deal of discussion on these topics.


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