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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japan comfort women issue
  • Japan-China relations
  • Japan-U.S. relations

REPORTER: Today, in Glendale in the U.S., a statue symbolizing the issue of comfort women was erected and an unveiling ceremony was conducted. Can you please share your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government's basic view regarding this issue is that we should not turn the comfort women issue into a political or diplomatic issue. Based on this viewpoint, we have in fact requested Glendale city officials, including the Mayor of Glendale and the members of the Glendale City Council, to take appropriate responses, stating that the installation of this memorial is at odds with our viewpoint. It is very regrettable that a statue of a young woman was set up nevertheless.


REPORTER: Regarding this matter, a short while ago, you stated that this was "at odds with our viewpoint." Specifically, what viewpoint is it at odds with?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to this issue, the Government of Japan has made maximum efforts for the implementation of welfare projects through the Asian Women's Fund to offer realistic relief to former comfort women, and to obtain understanding regarding the sincere feelings of the Japanese people. Also, the Government of Japan believes that we should not turn the comfort women issue into a political or diplomatic issue, and we have been explaining this to the City Council members and the City Mayor. I understand that the Mayor was not in attendance at the ceremony. 


REPORTER: Yesterday, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki returned to Japan. During his stay in China, I understand that he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi of China. Has this visit moved Japan and China closer to holding a bilateral summit meeting? Can you please explain the outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe at this moment in time, nothing concrete has been decided with regard to a Japan-China summit meeting or foreign ministers' meeting and so on. However, the Japan-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships. Although a variety of issues arise precisely because we are neighboring countries, the Japan-China relationship is an inextricably linked relationship. As the two countries make mutual efforts based on this recognition, I believe it is imperative for both countries that we cherish our mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests. We, including the Prime Minister, have consistently stated that it is important to hold dialogues and that Japan's door is always open.

REPORTER: Have you received any report from Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki? What kind of sense did he get from the visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I was briefed a short while ago. Vice-Minister Saiki reported that he had a wide-ranging, serious, and candid exchange of views with Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi of China, among other Chinese officials, regarding the current Japan-China relationship. In any case, I believe it is important that we continue to maintain communication while making use of a variety of channels.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the Japanese Government seeks to arrange for President Obama to visit Japan around spring of next year. Can you please verify the facts and tell us the current status of the arrangements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When Prime Minister Abe visited the U.S. in February of this year, Prime Minister Abe extended an invitation to President Obama during the Japan-U.S. summit meeting. At this moment in time, no specific arrangements are being made between Japan and the U.S. with any particular timing in mind.


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