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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Chinese student saving the life of a child in Osaka and the Japan-China relations
  • The media report on reorganization of TEPCO with regard to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
  • The issue related to the catastrophic situation caused by the typhoon in the Philippines
  • The issue related to Japanese government's protection against wiretapping

REPORTER: Later today the Prime Minister will recognize a Chinese student studying in Japan with a letter of appreciation for saving the life of a child in Osaka. First, how do you feel about this recognition, Chief Cabinet Secretary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think the Chinese student's actions were very courageous. The Japanese Government has decided to recognize this brave deed with a medal of honor and the Prime Minister also wanted to express his gratitude to him. This is my take on the matter.

REPORTER: There has been a great deal of coverage in the Chinese media about this recognition by the Government of Japan, with most stories being very positive. What do you think of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was the first time I have heard about these media reports. The Government of Japan is very glad and grateful for this positive coverage.

REPORTER: Do you think this matter offers some prospect for an improvement in Japan-China relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather than this single incident alone, I would like to remind you that Japan has always kept the door for dialogue open, as you already know. And every Japanese national understands quite well the importance of Japan-China relations. Through our mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests and in light of the fact that Japan and China are indeed the second and third largest economies in the world, I think that both countries share responsibility for the peace and security of the world, and particularly those of the Far East.


REPORTER: There have been reports that the Government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will separate the reactor decommissioning and contaminated water treatment unit of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station from TEPCO's nuclear power division and set up a new independent committee to run it. Are these reports true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am aware of these reports and I would like to state here that nothing has been decided yet. Regarding the organizational structure of TEPCO, I think that TEPCO's number one priority right now should be to fully follow through on its role of cleaning up contaminated water, which is currently a matter of great importance, as well as putting an end to the nuclear accident, decommissioning reactors, giving compensation to victims and providing a stable supply of electricity. I believe that TEPCO itself should be making the decisions first while tackling these matters.


REPORTER: I know I ask this in almost every press conference, but I would like to inquire about the situation in the Philippines. Can you tell us what you know as of now about the current activities of the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR) Medical Team and the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I would like to talk about the situation in the Philippines as of this point in time. Presently, the safety of another four Japanese nationals has been confirmed. This means that the safety of 40 of the 133 Japanese nationals on the hardest hit islands of Leyte and Samar has been confirmed. The Government will continue striving to provide assistance to as many people in need as possible and as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: On the same topic, can you tell us about the activities of the SDF and medical team dispatched as a JDR Medical Team?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I understand that the Government of the Philippines has announced a death toll of 1,833, and  is continuing with its efforts to ascertain the damages. With regard to Japan, last night two SDF personnel arrived in the Philippines and this morning 35 SDF personnel left on a commercial flight to the Philippines from Narita Airport. Furthermore, 10 SDF personnel left at around two o'clock this afternoon on an Air Self-Defense Force KC-767 aircraft from Komaki Airport. In any case, these teams have been making their way to Leyte Island in order since last night and are beginning their activities as they arrive.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question given the comments made on a television show yesterday by a senior researcher at the National Institute for Defense Studies. Previously, you said careful attention is being paid to ensure that no wiretapping is taking place with regard to the Prime Minister's conversations. I would like to inquire if the same thorough measures are being taken for other ministers and top government officials.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regard to the issue of the collection of communications records of the United States National Security Agency, Japan and the United States are firmly and appropriately communicating on this issue. In this context, I have stated that we are making doubly sure that information about the Prime Minister, including the information on his mobile phone, is protected. I understand that each ministry is taking security precautions in accordance with their own responsibilities.

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