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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The TPP
  • Cyber-related issues
  • Japan-China relations
  • The balance of trade figures for June

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Japan joined the negotiations from yesterday and has now been shown an apparently tremendous volume of documentation relating to the negotiations to date. Has Chief Negotiator Tsuruoka provided any kind of report from the meeting to the Government thus far?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point I have yet to receive a report. I expect to receive a report on the progress of the TPP negotiations in due course and today I hear that in addition to negotiations being participated in by the Chief Negotiator, Japan has also participated in working groups in the four areas of government procurement, rules of origin, the environment, and legal and institutional issues. In addition, this afternoon the Japan session is due to be held, in which the Chief Negotiator will be joined by negotiators from all areas participating in turn as discussions are advanced in each area. Following Japan's participation in negotiations documentation relating to the negotiations was received and currently this text is being examined and analyzed. In this way Japan is making every effort to utilize its negotiating power to realize an outcome in the national interest. That is the current status.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning cyber-related issues. It has emerged from among the documents in the possession of Edward Snowden that in October last year President Obama ordered senior United States government officials to draw up a list of cyber-attack targets. Could I ask for the Government's reaction to the United States' response to cyber issues and whether there are plans to ask the United States Government about the facts of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe that the Government of Japan is in a position to comment about the documents that have been referred to in press reports.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister is set to start a round of visits to Southeast Asian countries tomorrow, during which he is also scheduled to meet Vice President Biden of the U.S. Is it likely that he will raise cyber-related issues as a theme for discussions, given that it is a common global issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister is indeed scheduled to meet with Vice President Biden, but nothing has been decided about what specific topics will be covered. The meeting is being positioned as a courtesy call on the Prime Minister and therefore I imagine that discussions will seek to further deepen feelings of mutual trust.


REPORTER: There are press reports that Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki is to visit China by the end of the month, where he will meet with his Chinese counterpart. What is the status of arrangements for such a visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the press reports, but at the current point nothing has been decided. What I would say, and what I have said previously, is that Japan's basic stance is that we will not negotiate over matters that are non-negotiable, but that our door is always open to dialogue as we seek to advance a strategic relationship of mutual benefit from a broad perspective, responding in a calm and firm manner.

REPORTER: The balance of trade figures for June have recently been released and they show that the trade balance continues to be in deficit. What is the reaction of the Government to these figures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to exchange rates, the depreciation of the yen may have caused a short-term increase in payments for imports, but on the other hand exports are picking up and it can be expected that this upturn in exports will lead to the deficit being eliminated or reduced. However, the exchange rate fluctuation means that fuel prices are also rising, and this is a trend that will need monitoring.

REPORTER: Returning to the question concerning Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki, would a visit to China be implemented with a view towards realizing a Japan-China summit meeting? The Government is continually stating that the door is open to dialogue in Japan-China and Japan-Republic of Korea relations, which would imply that there is no hurry to realize summit meetings with either country. Has there been any change to the envisaged schedule towards a summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There has been no change whatsoever. Both countries are working to advance the strategic relationship of mutual benefit at the working level and there is no change at all to our open-door stance, or to our basic policy of emphasizing what needs to be emphasized.


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