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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to the devastating situation caused by the typhoon in the Philippines
  • The issue related to the special intelligence protection bill
  • The expectation from Ms. Caroline Kennedy, the new U.S. Ambassador to Japan
  • The issue related to a Chinese version of the National Security Council

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the devastation left by the typhoon in the Philippines. The safety of the remaining 100 Japanese nationals has not been confirmed. What is the situation since yesterday's press conference?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Telephone communications in the affected areas are still problematic. At this point in time, the safety of six more Japanese nationals has been confirmed, bringing the number of Japanese nationals whose safety has been confirmed to 36 out of a total of 133 Japanese nationals residing in Leyte Island and Samar Island. With regard to the developments since yesterday, two of the Self-Defense Force (SDF) members of the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Team, the deployment of which was decided yesterday, arrived in the Philippines last night. This morning, 35 SDF personnel have departed from Narita on a commercial flight. In addition, this afternoon, ten SDF personnel are expected to depart on an Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) KC-767 aircraft from Komaki Airport. Also, from late yesterday afternoon, the members of the medical team have been arriving on Leyte Island in order and swiftly commencing their activities. The Japanese Government will continue to make every effort to rescue as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: It seems that the provision of international aid is also now fully underway. Is the Japanese Government considering initiating any other additional assistance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Japanese Government has expressed that it will provide as much support as possible in coordination with the Philippine Government. The Japanese Government will offer utmost support in the context of responding to the request of the Philippine Government.

REPORTER: Regarding the safety of Japanese nationals confirmed since yesterday, you gave us the breakdown of the 133 Japanese nationals on Leyte and Samar. However, I believe other islands have also been affected. Has the safety of Japanese nationals on other islands been confirmed? In the first place. Are you confirming this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japanese Government is making every effort to collect information on the safety of all Japanese nationals. However, as of this moment, the information that has been confirmed pertains to these two islands.

REPORTER: With regard to the special intelligence protection bill, yesterday, Minister Mori expressed the view that the Government would consider establishing a third party organization to check the designations of special intelligence. Is this something that the Government is considering?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the remarks made by Minister Mori yesterday were in response to an interpellator's request that the Government consider the establishment of a third party organization. My understanding is that Minister Mori responded that the she humbly accepts the request. In any case, I believe what Minister Mori stated was that although multi-layered schemes have been designed to prevent arbitrary designations of special intelligence, further considerations need to be given to what kind of responses are possible in the course of the actual operation of the schemes.


REPORTER: The swearing-in ceremony for the appointment of Ms. Caroline Kennedy as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan was held, and Ms. Kennedy sent a video message to the Japanese people. Once again, could you please tell us what kind of role you expect from Ms. Kennedy, who will be assigned to Japan on the 15th?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated a number of times, the new Ambassador's father, the former U.S. President, is indeed one of the most renowned figures in Japan. Many people held high expectations of and respected then President Kennedy. The new Ambassador has described that she, as Ambassador, looked forward to developing close and friendly relations between Japan and the U.S. In this sense, we hold high hopes, and with the new Ambassador as a focal point, the Japanese Government will also take steps to further enhance our bilateral relationship with the U.S.


REPORTER: The Chinese domestic media have reported that a Chinese version of the National Security Council (NSC) will be created. How does the Japanese Government view such Chinese moves?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This concerns the activities of another country, and therefore, I would like to refrain from making any comments on behalf of the Government. However, the Japanese Government will closely monitor developments regarding Chinese internal affairs.

REPORTER: Returning to the subject of the special intelligence protection bill, a short while ago you mentioned about two times that multi-layered preventative measures have already been designed. Which part of the bill are you referring to specifically?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think in the bill, it is stated that measures are taken to avoid and prevent arbitrary designations of special intelligence. However, further considerations will be given to what kind of responses can be taken in the course of the actual operation of these schemes. I believe it was in this context that Minister Mori made those remarks yesterday. That is, I understand that Minister Mori was responding to the interpellators about whether or not the designations are arbitrary.

REPORTER: Specifically, when you say schemes in the bill, what are you referring to?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe these schemes will be implemented legislatively. The designation of special intelligence will be done according to a set of criteria that reflect the opinions of external experts. In addition, there is a basic policy that sets in principle the designation of special intelligence is valid for 30 years, and that the approval of the Cabinet is required for extending the validity to more than 30 years. Therefore, I consider that the Government has created multi-layered schemes. I understand that yesterday, in the context of the discussion that these measures were insufficient, Minister Mori stated that she humbly accepts these comments.


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