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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, July 18, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan-China relations (the development of gas field in the East China Sea)
  • Japan-ROK relations
  • North Korea

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question with regard to the East China Sea. On the 17th, Reuters reported that Chinese state-owned enterprises have a plan to newly develop seven gas fields in the East China Sea and that two of those fields are located very close to the Japan-China median line. First of all, can you tell us whether or not the Government is aware of the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the reports. To date, Japan and China have agreed to cooperate to make the East China Sea, in which the Japan-China border line has not yet been defined, into a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship. With regard to the reports you have just noted, we are now confirming with the Chinese side. If it is found that China is going ahead with the unilateral development of our overlapping sea areas, then Japan's basic view is that this is unacceptable.

REPORTER: Then, Chief Cabinet Secretary, I understand that Chinese Government officials, including the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have stated that there is no reason that China should be criticized for development in its own sea area. In principle, if Japan sits idly as China moves forward defiantly, I believe it is possible that China's development plans could make even further progress. Does the Government have any intention to take any measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this time, this matter is still being confirmed. Japan and China have agreed to cooperate as I stated earlier. If it is found that China is going ahead with unilateral development, then Japan will not accept this. We will take full responses against China based on such a standpoint. This matter is now being confirmed.

REPORTER: I understand that at the end of June, Japan expressed grave concerns to China over China's unilateral construction work on the west side of what Japan deems to be the median line of the East China Sea. What was China's response following this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China has expressed its principle position. However, as of now, we have not obtained a clear response in regard to the grave concerns that we have expressed. Japan will continue to lodge a strong protest to the effect that Japan will not authorize China's unilateral development in our overlapping sea area.


REPORTER: The 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) is visiting Japan, and he will meet with Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida this morning and with Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the late afternoon. I believe talks and exchanges of views will take place regarding the understanding of history and the Takeshima dispute. What kinds of discussions are you expecting for improving the relationship with the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Bearing in mind the recent Japan-ROK foreign ministers' meeting and Vice-Minister Saiki's visit to the ROK, I believe it is important that the two sides carry out a series of communication in a pragmatic way with regard to the variety of pending issues, including the issue of North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Do you believe that the series of meetings which will take place this time around will be conducted with an eye to holding a Japan-ROK summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated before, as there are no urgent pending issues in particular, I believe at this time, it is important to carry out these series of communication in a pragmatic way.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding North Korea. With regard to the discovery of military supplies, such as missiles, from a North Korean cargo vessel, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged the facts yesterday, and various countries have voiced that this is a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution. What is the view of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This matter concerns the execution of the Security Council resolution, and Japan is following this matter with deep interest. Japan intends to take steps in close contact with relevant countries. Generally speaking, if it is found that this was a violation of the Security Council resolution, then the effectiveness of the resolution should be ensured, as the content of the Security Council resolution should be complied with. In this light, Japan will take further steps to fully implement the Security Council resolution in coordination with the international community.

REPORTER: Then you are saying that although North Korea, a party in this matter, has acknowledged the facts, the circumstances still do not permit the Japanese Government to make a judgment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is now being investigated by the Panamanian authorities. As the investigation findings have not yet been released, I believe I should refrain from answering your question at this moment in time on the basis of speculation. However, as I noted a short while ago in general terms, if the investigation of the Panamanian Government finds that it was a violation of the Security Council resolution, then, as it is natural that the resolution is complied with, Japan will strongly call for compliance. Japan, in coordination with various countries, will ensure compliance with the Security Council resolution.


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