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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, October 25, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Prime Minister's visit to Turkey

If scheduling permits, Prime Minister Abe is planning a trip to Turkey from October 28 to 30. When Prime Minister Abe visited Turkey in May this year, Prime Minister Erdoğan invited him to the ceremony to mark the opening of the undersea rail service below the Bosphorus Strait. The Japanese technology has made a significant contribution to the construction of the undersea rail service and this project itself is symbolic of the cooperation between Japan and Turkey. For these reasons, the Prime Minister has decided to attend the ceremony. Moreover, Turkey is a member of the G20 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and, as a stabilizing force in the region, is an important emerging nation. Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Erdoğan will take this opportunity to broadly exchange views on bilateral issues and regional affairs under the Strategic Partnership between Japan and the Republic of Turkey that was signed in May. Furthermore, to coincide with the Prime Minister's visit, business representatives from the private sector will also visit Turkey. I anticipate that this visit will further strengthen our economic relations with Turkey.


  • The military exercises conducted by the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Takeshima.
  • The unconfirmed information of China's military exercise in the Pacific Ocean

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the military exercises that were conducted by the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Takeshima. I understand that the exercises were effectively a simulation of the response to be taken upon the visit of Japanese civilians to the islands. Could you share with us the Government's view on this and what action the Government intends to take in response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the ROK conducted military exercises on Takeshima on October 25. In light of Japan's stance on the sovereignty of Takeshima, the holding of the exercises cannot be tolerated and are extremely regrettable. The Japanese Government immediately lodged a strong protest with the ROK Government this afternoon in Tokyo and Seoul via diplomatic routes.


REPORTER: Some believe that today's military exercises were conducted as a means of protesting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan's release of a video on the internet asserting Japanese sovereignty over the islands. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have no knowledge of such views. In any case, I do not know the intent of today's military exercises but Japan has consistently maintained its position that Takeshima is an inherent territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law and as such, we have lodged a strong protest.

REPORTER: You said that the Japanese Government lodged a protest in Seoul and in the ROK via diplomatic routes, but could you tell us more specifically at what level and to whom the protests were lodged?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Protests were lodged in Tokyo and Seoul. In Tokyo, the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned an envoy from the ROK Embassy in Tokyo to the Ministry in order to lodge the protest. In the ROK, the counselor of the Japanese Embassy lodged a protest with the Director of Northeast Asia Division 1 of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

REPORTER: I understand that very strong actions were taken on this occasion, but does the Japanese Government in response intend to demonstrate its stance by, for instance, once again, or in fact for the third time, proposing to take the matter to the International Court of Justice?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, Japan has first of all lodged a strong protest today with the ROK as actions such as today's military exercises cannot be tolerated in light of Japan's position on the sovereignty of Takeshima. As things currently stand we have lodged a strong protest.

REPORTER: This is unconfirmed information, but sources suggest that China also conducted some kind of military exercise in the Pacific Ocean. Have you heard anything about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan always maintains a close eye on the actions of the Chinese Navy. I must refrain from discussing anything specific regarding this matter as doing so may expose our intelligence gathering capacity and other information.


REPORTER: Pardon me, but if I may return to the topic of the military exercises conducted by the ROK, I have two more questions. Firstly, could you share the reasons or explanation provided by the ROK Government in response to Japan's protest? Secondly, I believe that one of the points of contention between the two countries is when the next Japan-ROK Summit Meeting will be held. Is there a possibility that today's events will have any impact on this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that the ROK response was in line with its conventional position. Asserting our stance, of course, I believe it should be further discussed during the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting. . Therefore, I believe today's events will have no impact on the meeting. Our unchanging stance is that our door for dialogue is always open.


REPORTER: On October 17, a staff of the Japanese Embassy in the ROK was denied to observe the National Assembly despite having received prior approval. We also saw today the incident on Takeshima. Do you still believe that the ROK is a good neighbor of Japan? If I may ask your views in this regard.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Both Japan and the ROK, in a sense, pursue the same liberalism, and the ROK is an extremely important country for Japan. We believe that we should not allow the issues that exist between us to act as a roadblock to the friendship we share. I believe that, in a sense, it is natural that we should strive to maintain our friendly relations while at the same time continuing to assert what must be asserted.


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