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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The situation of the damage from Typhoon No. 26
  • The Kono Statement of 1993
  • The special intelligence protection bill
  • The meeting of Japanese and Chinese senior foreign ministry officials

REPORTER: Regarding the situation of the damage from Typhoon No. 26, it seems that the damage was severe in Izu Oshima Island. There is information that 7 bodies were found and around 30 people cannot be contacted.. What is the situation of the damage that has been notified to the Government? Also, as the Prime Minister has issued instructions, what responses will the Government take from now on?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As a result of the effects of Typhoon No. 26, strong winds and heavy rains have caused damages over a wide area spanning from northern Japan to western Japan. According to information as of 10:30 am today, it has been confirmed that 8 people have died, 37 people are missing, many are injured, several houses have collapsed or flooded, among other damages, including in Izu Oshima Island. The details are currently under investigation. I would like to express my condolences to the victims and offer my heartfelt sympathy to everyone who has been affected. The Government has stepped up its information gathering arrangements since yesterday. An Information Liaison Office was established within the Crisis Management Center of the Prime Minister's Office at 7:06 am today. Bearing in mind also the instructions issued by the Prime Minister at 9 am, the Government has been taking initial responses, including information gathering. Furthermore, from 11:30 am today, a disaster response meeting among relevant ministries and agencies was held with the attendance of Minister of State for Disaster Management Furuya, and the Government is working as one to respond to the disaster. Typhoon No. 26 is expected to change to an extratropical cyclone off the coast of Sanriku this afternoon. As the typhoon approaches and passes, wind gusts exceeding 30 m/s may blow in the Pacific Ocean side of eastern Japan and northern Japan and the sea may become severely rough and choppy. We ask that people continue to pay full attention to the latest weather information.

REPORTER: I have a related question. At this point in time, are you not considering the dispatch of a government investigation team or the like?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This has not yet been decided as of this time. However, instructions have been given for an array of arrangements to be made. As of yesterday, the Government requested the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF).


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Kono Statement of 1993. With respect to what our newspaper have revealed concerning the Government's interviews of comfort women that became the basis of the Kono Statement. Chief Cabinet Secretary, first of all, can you confirm the truth of our report? Are you aware of the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the content of the newspaper article regarding the interviews conducted with former comfort women in the Republic of Korea (ROK). However, I would like to refrain from commenting. I am aware that at the time, the Government of Japan carried out a study, including a comprehensive study of government documents as well as interviews in the ROK.

REPORTER: At the time, the so-called Kono Statement was released on the basis of the content of those interviews. However, a report has come to light which erodes the validity of that basis. What are your thoughts regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I stated moments ago that I would like to refrain from commenting on the content of the newspaper article. Furthermore, if I may add, with regard to the comfort women issue, Prime Minister Abe is deeply pained when thinking of the women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering. His feeling regarding this matter remains unchanged from past Prime Ministers. We believe that we should not turn this issue into a political or diplomatic issue.

REPORTER: Does that mean that the administration's stance to succeed the Kono Statement remains unchanged?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is exactly as I have stated before.

REPORTER: During your press conference on December 27 of last year, you stated that the matter of reviewing the Kono Statement should be examined by also listening to the opinions of experts. Is there any change between your view then and now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My view has not changed whatsoever. I believe I have not said anything to the effect that considerations should be made, including on the review of the Kono Statement, neither at my press conferences nor at the Diet. In any case, as I stated moments ago, the Abe Cabinet believes that we should not turn this issue into a political or diplomatic issue. Furthermore, what I have stated to date is that, I believe it is desirable that this issue be further examined from a scholarly perspective, bearing in mind the process that led to the Cabinet decision at the previous Abe Cabinet, and in the context of future research on various issues by historians and experts.

REPORTER: Regarding the special intelligence protection bill, I believe the Government is in the final stage of coordinating with the New Komeito Party. However, I understand that there are still differences in views, including on the revision of the Public Records and Archives Management Act. What are your thoughts regarding the general schedule for the submission of the bills?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you noted in your question just now, we are in the final coordination stages with the ruling New Komeito Party. We are currently making every effort to obtain the understanding within the ruling parties. Arrangements are now being made to obtain their understanding  in order to submit the bills swiftly.


REPORTER: Regarding reports that a Chinese senior foreign ministry official met and held talks with a Japanese senior foreign ministry official to exchange views regarding the Senkaku issue and other issues. Chief Cabinet Secretary, what are the facts which you are aware of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am aware that this has been reported. Japanese and Chinese diplomats have dialogues and communications at a variety of levels. We would like to refrain from disclosing or revealing information about them at every such instance. Although the source of the information on the matter you have pointed out  is not clear, as for Japan, it decides to either make or not make announcements about mutual visits of diplomatic authorities in view of various circumstances, including the level of the talks, the subject matter, and the relationship with the counterpart country. It is true that Japan and China have dialogues and communications on a variety of levels, and I believe this is not something which has to be reported at each and every such instance.

REPORTER: Then you are saying that you cannot disclose the content of this matter in question?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true that diplomatic authorities strive to maintain communication by exchanging views with each other in a variety of senses, including, but not limited to this time. However, we would like to refrain from commenting on a case-by-case basis.

REPORTER: Then can you tell us which side made the request to hold the talks in question?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the details, including such matters. However, it is true that Japan and China strive to maintain such communications at a variety of levels.

REPORTER: Regarding the meeting of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security which will be held later this afternoon, the Government has thus far stated that it would like to receive a report from the Expert Meeting by the end of the year. Does this schedule remain unchanged even now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Advisory Panel is currently discussing a variety of themes, and I believe that will be the schedule in principle. However, I believe a variety of issues may arise as further meetings are held going forward. Therefore, I believe it is not the case that all of the discussion must be completed by that timeframe. Nonetheless, it is true that the discussion is moving forward in that direction.


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