Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  November 2013 >  Tuesday, November 5, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to NSC
  • The issue related to wiretapping allegation of the U.S. NSA
  • The issue related to the reform of the civil service system

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the responses provided during this morning's meeting of the special committee of the House of Representatives pertaining to the National Security Council (NSC). Today, I understand that members of the Japan Restoration Party (JRP) pointed to whether it wasn't superfluous to have a four ministers' meeting, which meets once every two weeks, an emergency meeting for emergency situations, and a nine ministers' meeting. Chief Cabinet Secretary, I would like to once again ask your view regarding the fact that these opinions are still being expressed at the Diet.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think the members understood our explanations well. The four ministers' meeting, will meet around once every two weeks, or twice a month. It is a meeting for the four ministers to share their understanding regarding security-related bills, diplomacy, and other such matters. The emergency meeting is, indeed, designed to deal precisely with emergency situations. And the nine ministers' meeting is the same as the existing Security Council. This meeting will fully ensure civilian control in various situations, such as situations of armed attacks or situations in areas surrounding Japan. In this sense, I believe these three NSC meetings are critically important and are therefore extremely relevant.

REPORTER: Because the existing Security Council does not function sufficiently, I believe the NSC will be able to centralize information and do a range of other things, but what I do not really understand is that the nine ministers' meeting will be kept in spite of this. Moments ago you mentioned that the reason was civilian control. However, the four ministers are also civilians. Why are the nine ministers needed as civilians? I would think the Cabinet meeting also acts as civilian control.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I stated that the nine ministers' meeting will ensure so-called civilian control. To retain the so-called civilian control function, the nine ministers' meeting will make decisions, and on this basis, Cabinet decisions will be made. The four ministers' meeting will develop strategies. What the four ministers' meeting will actually do is examine strategies in a flexible manner.

REPORTER: This format of holding the four ministers' meeting once every two weeks and an emergency ministers' meeting in an emergency situation - as the four ministers will meet once every two weeks, I think this would create a large information gap between the nine ministers and four ministers. Accordingly, I think it was also pointed out today that the nine ministers' meeting might end up becoming simply an approval body. What is your view regarding this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So far we have been holding the nine ministers' meeting. The basic vision will be decided at the four ministers' meeting.  In order to ensure so-called civilian control, actual decisions will be made at the nine ministers' meeting.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the wiretapping allegations involving the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). This morning, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato stated during his press conference that the Japanese Government requested that the U.S. maintain communications with Japan. Specifically, what is the Government requesting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: According to media reports, it had come to light that Japan was also one of the targets of communication interception by a U.S. intelligence agency. However, due to Japan's relationship with the U.S., I would like to refrain from commenting on this matter. Japan and the U.S. are maintaining communication as appropriate, and Japan has requested to the U.S. to establish even closer communication in light of the present circumstances. I believe this is what Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato has stated.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Previously, you stated during your press conference that there is no problem with regard to Prime Minister Abe's mobile phone. What makes you so sure that there is no problem, and that you have taken all possible measures, amid all the media reports and fuss over the tapping allegations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from responding due to the nature of the matter. However, I made the statement based on reasonable evidence.

REPORTER: While the U.S. may be an ally, what do you think of the fact that, on the basis of the media reports, it is alleged that Japan was a target of wiretapping?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, for its part, has consistently taken thorough measures against wiretapping. It was in this context that I made the statement.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the reform of the civil service system. During this morning's Cabinet meeting, the bill for the reform of the civil service system was approved by the Cabinet. Under the new legislation regarding personnel evaluations of high-ranking officials, you, Chief Cabinet Secretary, will have the substantial role of, for example, creating a list of 600 candidates for senior official positions of deputy director-general level and higher. The Government and ruling parties have consistently voiced the opinion that 600 would be too many people and it would be impossible for you to review them all. What is your reaction to the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Cabinet decision was made. This was done following an intra-party procedure. Therefore, the bill will be submitted to the Diet, and we hope to get it passed as quickly as possible.

Page Top

Related Link