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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, November 25, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to the NSC bill and the special intelligence protection bill
  • The issue related to Futenma Air Station
  • The issue related to Air Defense Identification Zone

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the National Security Council (NSC) bill. Later today the bill is expected to be approved in committee, and it is also anticipated that it will receive the approval of not only the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito, but also, following revisions, the support of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Your Party, and the Japan Restoration Party. What is your thought on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This bill will certainly provide the basis for Japan's security, and as such it has received the support of not only the ruling coalition parties, but also the opposition parties. It has already been passed by the House of Representatives and is currently being deliberated in the House of Councilors. The Government hopes that it will be duly passed in accordance with the original concepts.

REPORTER: On the other hand, with regard to the special intelligence protection bill, the ruling coalition parties are seeking to gain the passage of the bill through the House of Representatives tomorrow. However, even the Japan Restoration Party, which has indicated its acceptance of the revisions to the bill, has stated that deliberations were insufficient, and accordingly it will not accept any moves to pass the bill tomorrow. Is there no change to the Government's policy to move to vote on the bill tomorrow?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is entrusted to those on site. I believe that those people on site are working diligently from each of their standings towards achieving the passage of the bill.

REPORTER: On a related note, opinion polls carried out by media organizations about the special intelligence protection bill have shown that opinion is divided on the subject. I believe it is difficult to say that the understanding of the public has been gained at the current stage. I believe that there are people suggesting that the Government should continue the process of deliberation and consultation, and not focus on gaining the passage of the bill in the current session of the Diet. However, I believe that the Government is aiming to achieve the passage of the bill during the current session. Could you reiterate for us the reason why the Government is sticking to this position?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Following a Cabinet decision, the position of the Government has been that all bills that were submitted to the Diet during the current session should be passed, and it was with this decision in mind that the various bills were formulated and submitted. The Government therefore wishes to request the Diet to ensure that all submitted bills can be passed by the end of the current session. In particular, the other related bill also being deliberated by the special committee is the NSC bill, of which its passage and entry will form the basis for Japan's national security. Accordingly, given the paramount importance of acquiring high-quality intelligence, I hope that by building up intelligence measures we will be able to accumulate intelligence from all relevant sources, including from allied countries. It is with this in mind that the Government would like those involved in the Diet to work hard to ensure that the related bills are passed during the current Diet session.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Futenma Air Station. This morning LDP Secretary-General Ishiba held a meeting with five Diet members of both houses from Okinawa, and confirmed with them the Government's policy regarding the relocation of the U.S. Forces Futenma Air Station to Henoko, in Nago City. Could I ask for your thoughts with regard to this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today's meeting confirmed that the policy of the Government and of LDP headquarters is shared with the Diet members from Okinawa. Given the extremely difficult environment in Okinawa, I would like to welcome this development.

REPORTER: What impact do you think the outcome of the meeting today will have on the approval for the landfill application by the Governor of Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has consistently followed a policy of submitting the landfill application based on the concept that in view of deterrence and also the elimination of danger at Futenma Air Station, the relocation to Henoko is the best option. Having said that, it is a fact that the people of Okinawa are being asked to bear a significant burden, and the Government will do everything it can to alleviate this burden. In the midst of steadfast efforts to gain the understanding of the people of Okinawa on this point, the Government would like to wait for a final decision on the landfill application by the Governor of Okinawa.

REPORTER: In a press conference, Secretary-General Ishiba has stated that in order to eliminate the dangers presented by Futenma Air Station, it was agreed in the meeting today to not rule out any possibilities, including the relocation to Henoko. At this point, does the Secretary-General believe that there are any possibilities other than the relocation to Henoko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that it is only natural for the Government to make every effort to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa, and we are currently continuing to make every endeavor in that regard.


REPORTER: The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has issued an announcement concerning the establishment of an "Air Defense Identification Zone." Foreign Minister Kishida has already commented on this announcement, but can we ask for your reaction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has expressed deep concern about China's establishment of such a zone, which is a profoundly dangerous act that unilaterally changes the status quo in the East China Sea, escalating the situation, and which may cause unintended consequences in the East China Sea. This concern has already been expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Government intends to call strongly on China to revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace. In addition, the "zone" set by China seemingly describes the airspace over the Senkaku Islands, an inherent part of the territory of Japan, as if it were a part of China's "territorial airspace." Japan cannot accept at all such a description. The Government has already issued a strong protest to China through diplomatic channels, conveying its concerns, and demanding that China revoke such measures. Japan is currently working and consulting closely with the United States and other relevant countries, and will strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint. Japan will continue to respond firmly but in a calm manner against China's attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo by coercive measures with the strong determination to defend resolutely its territorial land, sea and airspace.

REPORTER: With regard to your statement about "coercive measures," do you perceive that the measures that have been taken by China are an extension of the "coercive measures" that you mentioned? Or do you think that these measures by China are a sign that the Chinese military or similar organization ran out of control?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In all honesty, I do not know what is going on internally in China. However, looking at these measures it is inevitable for us  to think that they are an attempt to change the status quo using coercive measures. Japan is committed to defend resolutely its territorial land, sea and airspace firmly, but in a calm manner.


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