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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The scope of use of the right to collective self-defense
  • The meeting with the delegation of business organization from China
  • The issue of restarting operation at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station of TEPCO

REPORTER: In a press conference with domestic journalists while on his overseas visit, Prime Minister Abe has made a comment that he would not apply geographic concepts to the scope of use of the right to collective self-defense. To date, discussions on the scope of activities of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have been framed in the context of the establishment of restriction, but the Prime Minister's comments would seem to suggest that such restriction could be lifted. What is the Government's view with regard to the formulation of the scope of SDF activities in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is currently the case that deliberations are ongoing in the forum of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, which is giving consideration to the issue of how to maintain the peace and  security of Japan, given the changes in the security environment since the previous report. The Government would like to wait until the panel issues the results of its deliberations. The Prime Minister himself has noted that deliberations in the panel have only just begun and therefore our basic stance is to wait until conclusions are reached by the panel.

REPORTER: I believe that you have just received a delegation of business organizations from China. I would like to ask you about the background the aims and objectives of the meeting with Chinese business leaders. Also, after the meeting concluded the Chinese side indicated in an impromptu interview that politics is politics and economics is economics, and although there are various issues concerning the understanding of history, these need to be dealt with separately. Could I ask for the view of the Government on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This afternoon I had a meeting With senior corporate executives from China, who are currently visiting Japan for the purpose of exchanging opinions between representatives of business organizations in Japan. With regard to the background to the meeting, given the recent series of difficult issues facing Japan-China relations, it was felt that it is important to engage in bilateral private sector and economic exchange. This was the basic concept on which the current mission to Japan was founded, and the Chinese delegation indicated a desire to engage in exchange with representatives of business organizations in Japan and also with myself. This request resulted in the meeting being held today. As I have often said, Japan's door is always open to dialogue and I believe that meetings such as the one held today will contribute to the further development of our strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

REPORTER: On a related note, since the inauguration of the Abe Administration, various Japan-China issues have presented themselves, including with regard to the Senkaku Islands, and a Japan-China summit meeting has yet to be realized. Do you feel that starting with exchange on the economic and private sector level will be conducive to further interaction and summit meetings on the political level in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, upon receiving the courtesy call from the representatives of business organizations, I noted the importance of private sector exchanges for Japan-China relations and stated that for Japan, our bilateral relationship with China is one of our most important bilateral relationships. I also noted that the further development of China is of the great importance for Japan and the world, and that we should return to the starting point of a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" to further develop our ties. I also stated the basic view of the Government that our door is always open to dialogue. I believe that meetings and exchanges such as the one implemented today between  Japanese and Chinese business organizations will prove useful in further developing and improving Japan-China relations.


REPORTER: On a related note, what major issues did the Chinese side raise in today's meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Chinese side noted that it was visiting Japan out of a desire to discuss real and practical matters as they are engaged in cooperative economic partnerships with Japan, and also to further promote and deepen economic exchanges between the two countries.


REPORTER: I raised this question in the morning press conference also, with regard to the issue of restarting operations at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The president of TEPCO and Governor Izumida of Niigata Prefecture have had a meeting in which TEPCO made a request to install heat exchanger vents at the power station, in response to which Governor Izumida stated that he would examine the request. Can I ask for the evaluation and opinions of the Government with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that the meeting started at 2:40 pm and finished a short while ago. Although I have not received a report concerning the content of the meeting, whatever the case, I believe it to be important for power companies to make efforts to gain the understanding of local residents and governments. I have heard that on the previous occasion when the president of TEPCO and the governor of Niigata met it was literally just that, a meeting at which the two parties merely met face to face. However, on this occasion I would surmise that as the governor concluded by stating that he would consider the request, it is perhaps not the case that the two sides have strongly disagreed, compared to the previous meeting.

REPORTER: So by surmising that they have not disagreed strongly, are you viewing the outcome of the meeting in a positive way?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not know what the final outcome will be. The governor has stated that he would give the request due examination.


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