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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Prime Minister's plan to visit Canada and the U.S. and attend the 68th session of the UN General Assembly

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe will, circumstances permitting, visit Canada and the U.S. from September 23 to 27 and attend the 68th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York. During his stay in Canada, Prime Minister Abe will hold talks with Prime Minister Harper of Canada and conduct other activities. Canada is a partner in the Asia-Pacific region with which Japan shares fundamental values. The promotion of Japan-Canada cooperation in a wide range of fields, including political, security, economic, and people-to-people exchanges, is critical. Through Prime Minister Abe's visit to Canada, the first visit to Canada by a Japanese Prime Minister in seven years, the Prime Minister looks forward to developing a vision for promoting the Japan-Canada relationship. In addition, the Prime Minister will attend the UN General Assembly Session held in New York in the U.S. On the 26th, the Prime Minister will deliver an address and host a reception on the theme of "Japan's revitalization." On this occasion, the Prime Minister is expected to hold talks with the leaders and other officials of the countries concerned. Through his attendance at the UN General Assembly Session, Prime Minister Abe will proactively explain Japan's vision and position regarding the global issues facing the international community.


  • The special intelligence protection bill
  • The contaminated water issue
  • The situation in Syria
  • Government responses to airspace intrusion including by unmanned aircraft

REPORTER: I have a question on the special intelligence protection bill. I understand that at yesterday's meeting of the Project Team of the New Komeito Party, the Government stated that it would consider incorporating into the bill statements about the "right to access information" and "freedom of the press." Is my understanding correct that the Government is moving in this direction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is in the process of carrying out various reviews, while fully taking into account such issues as the people's "right to access information" and "freedom of the press." The Government would like to further review issues such as the ones you have mentioned.

REPORTER: Is it correct to interpret your response to mean that the Government is considering incorporating those statements in a forward-looking manner?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally the Government is making considerations in a forward-looking rather than a backward-looking manner.


REPORTER: Regarding the contaminated water issue, the Chairman of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party, Ms. Takaichi, has said that the party will consider establishing a special measures act. If a decision is made to create a special measures act, I believe that would mean that the Government will be entering into a new phase. Is there agreement within the Government on exploring this possibility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the contaminated water issue, as I have repeatedly stated during these press conferences, the current law stipulates that this issue be dealt with by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). However, many problems occurred, and they were only dealt with through haphazard measures after the fact. Therefore, recognizing that this is indeed an urgent issue, and furthermore, an issue that requires advanced technologies, it was decided that the Government will play a proactive role in thoroughly and fundamentally reviewing this matter, even by using reserve funds. The Basic Policy for the Contaminated Water Issue was approved on September 3. In accordance with the Basic Policy, the Government will respond to this issue in close coordination with the ruling parties.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with the contaminated water issue. The issue of Japan's dissemination of information regarding this matter has been pointed out by various parties, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Yesterday, you stated that Japan's information dissemination will be strengthened, including towards the foreign media. It was believed that the first opportunity Japan had to rectify its bad reputation was the Prime Minister's visit tomorrow to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. At first, the visit was closed to the foreign media. However, as a result of strong requests, it was decided that one reporter for the foreign media would be allowed to join. What is your personal view regarding this current situation of information dissemination?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that at first the foreign media were not included. After hearing that, I instructed that it should be opened up to the foreign media. I believed it was critically important that the media naturally accompanies the Prime Minister, circumstances permitting, and disseminate information. This matter was brought to my attention, and I instructed that the matter be dealt with immediately.

REPORTER: What kind of appeal will be made by Prime Minister Abe, who is making the visit under these circumstances, and to whom will it be made? What is the purpose of the visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister would like to once again carefully confirm the situation at the site in person. As the Government has said clearly that it will take responsibility to settle the contaminated water issue, the Prime Minister would like to see the situation once more in person. On this basis, the Prime Minister will give appropriate instructions. That is what I think.

REPORTER: Concerning Syria, in order to bring an end to its civil war, there are calls for the Geneva 2 international conference to be held among the Assad Government, dissidents, and relevant countries. What is the Government's view regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan believes that the Geneva 2 conference should be held with the participation of the Assad Government and anti-government forces, and Japan very much commends the efforts being made by the countries involved towards holding this conference. Japan too will work closely with the international community to proactively address the various issues, including through the Geneva 2 conference, for the improvement and normalization of the situation in Syria.

REPORTER: Regarding the incident that occurred several days ago involving an unmanned aircraft approaching areas around Japanese coastal waters, some media reports have stated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense will spearhead the work to establish guidelines on Japan's responses, including shooting down such aircraft. Can you verify whether the reports are true or not?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true that the Government is considering various responses to airspace intrusion, including intrusion by unmanned aircraft. However, in general, if an unmanned aircraft flew over Japan or intruded into Japanese airspace, the protocol calls for Self-Defense Force units to implement necessary measures in accordance with Article 84 of the Self-Defense Forces Act, as would be the case with manned aircraft. As to the details of the measures pertaining to airspace intrusions by unmanned aircraft, I believe I should not reveal Japan's strategy, and therefore, I would like to refrain from answering your question. It is the case, however, that careful consideration will be given to Japan's response measures.


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