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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The understanding of history
  • Japan-China relations (the development of gas field in the East China Sea)
  • The announcement of the official campaign period for the House of Councillors election

REPORTER: In the recent question time in the party leaders' debate (held at the Japan National Press Club) in response to a question concerning the war with China and colonial rule in Korea, the Prime Minister stated that basically such matters should be left to historians to discuss. However, he also stated that he had not made comments to the effect that Japan did not engage in acts of aggression or colonial rule. He noted, however, that what he said previously was that he was not in a position to define what constitutes "aggression." These comments are a little hard to understand. Could you tell us what the Prime Minister meant?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I was not present at the question time in the Diet, so I cannot make an unequivocal response, but I imagine that what the Prime Minister was saying was that, as he has repeatedly stated, he had never denied aggression and colonial rule. That is my impression, although I didn't hear the interaction in the Diet myself.

REPORTER: If that is the case, given that the Murayama Statement uses the words "colonial rule" and "aggression," with regard to whether the Prime Minister will or will not use such words and how they are to be treated, the Prime Minister has stated that he is not in a position to define such words, which seems to suggest that while he does not deny the definition and words used in the Murayama Statement, he does not know the definition…

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: However, I would remind you that the Prime Minister has formally stated that the Government will continue to succeed the Murayama Statement.


REPORTER: The point about the Prime Minister not being in a position to define the words is particularly hard to understand…

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it was simply a case of the Prime Minister saying that the matter should be left to historians, although I am not sure. I did not hear the question time in the party leaders' debate myself.

REPORTER: Still on the same topic of Japan-China relations, with regard to the issue of the gas fields in the East China Sea, around when did the Government become aware of the current developments being progressed by China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is a matter related to confidential state affairs and I would like to refrain from commenting about when the Government became aware of the situation.

REPORTER: You have stated that a protest was made to the Chinese Government, but could you tell us when and by which route such a protest was made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I received a report that in the morning of June 27, the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs issued a protest to the Chinese Ambassador to Tokyo and in the afternoon of the same day a Minister of the Japanese Embassy in China issued a protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.

REPORTER: What response has been received from China at the current time in response to these protests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not yet received a report about this.

REPORTER: In a lecture on Sunday you stated that the gap between Japan and China in their bilateral relations is becoming narrower, so do you think that the construction of these facilities by China will have an impact on Japan-China relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although it is the case that the developments are on the west side of the median line, in other words the Chinese side, it is the case that construction on a new marine-based platform has begun. Our position is that such unilateral development is unacceptable and we have issued a protest accordingly.


REPORTER: The official campaign period for the House of Councillors election will be announced tomorrow, so could you give us your frank opinions concerning your enthusiasm for the upcoming campaign?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather than my enthusiasm, I would like to note that in the approximately six months since the inauguration of the administration of Prime Minister Abe, all Cabinet ministers have made concerted efforts to advance the three priority areas of revitalization of the Japanese economy, reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and thorough crisis management. I believe that the upcoming election will, for the most part, represent an opportunity for the public to deliver its judgment on the outcome of our actions over the course of the last six months. We have newly issued election pledges, which are very similar to those that were announced in the House of Representatives election last year, and it is on the basis of these pledges that we will engage in the election campaign and put our case to the people of Japan. I believe that the public's evaluation of our efforts to date will become clear at this election. However, I expect that the fact we have engaged fearlessly in doing the things that have needed to be done up to now will result in a good outcome at the election.

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