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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko

I would like to report on personnel matters relating to the Vice-Minister of the Reconstruction Agency and a Special Advisor to the Cabinet. At the Cabinet meeting it was decided that Vice-Minister Yasuo Harada (for Land and Infrastructure)of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, will replace Vice-Minister Masahiro Nakajima of the Reconstruction Agency, effective today, January 28. Also effective today, Mr. Nakajima will be appointed to the position of Special Advisor to the Cabinet as the successor of Mr. Yukiyoshi Minehisa. In that position Mr. Nakajima will contribute to the local response at the Fukushima Bureau of Reconstruction and Revitalization in Fukushima Prefecture, under the dual headquarter system that seeks to ensure a thoroughly "hands-on approach." For further details please contact the Reconstruction Agency.


  • The issues related to the revision of the commentary to the Courses of Study for schools
  • The issues related to the Chinese media report on a debate between the Japanese Consul General and the Chinese Ambassador in Munich

REPORTER: The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) revised its commentary to the Courses of Study for schools. The content of the revisions includes the fact that the Senkaku Islands of Okinawa Prefecture and Takeshima of Shimane Prefecture are inherent parts of the territory of Japan, and that there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. Given that China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are raising objections to these revisions. Could you tell us the Government's stance on this matter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: I received a report that today MEXT has revised its commentary for Courses of Study for the purpose of further enhancing education relating to Japan's territories, and the roles of the various relevant organizations in the event of natural disasters. The correct understanding by children who will shoulder the future of our country about the territories of Japan is extremely important. The revisions are also made to sections other than those about the territories of Japan including the roles of relevant organizations in times of disaster, such as the fire service and Self-Defense Forces (SDF). It is important for children to further deepen understanding on these as well. The Government expects that school education will be further enhanced as a result of the revisions to the commentary.

REPORTER: On a related note, I would like to ask why the revisions have been made at this time, when relations with China and the ROK are somewhat strained. Also some have suggested that with the visit to Yasukuni Shrine and other matters the Government is leaning towards the right in the political spectrum. What are your thoughts on this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The current revisions have been made entirely from an educational perspective, and I believe that it is only natural for any country to correctly educate its children about its inherent territories. There was no particular objective in the timing of the revisions; they were implemented as promptly as possible from an entirely educational perspective. If you would like to know from a technical standpoint about the timing of the revisions, please contact MEXT.

REPORTER: How does the Government intend to explain the revisions and seek understanding from China and the ROK?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The Government would like to provide a proper explanation to neighboring countries with regard to the concept for the current revisions.

REPORTER: According to some reports in weekly magazines, the Japanese Consul General attended a meeting at the Chinese Consulate-General in Munich, where he engaged in a debate with Chinese officials. Chinese media are trumpeting that the Consul General of Japan left the meeting part way through after having his arguments refuted. What are the facts behind these reports and other such details?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: I read the weekly magazine reports you mentioned and given that this matter is being widely raised in web-based forums. So I have confirmed the facts of the matter. Our recognition is as follows. At a meeting held in Munich on January 15, the Chinese Ambassador to Germany expressed criticism of Japan based on a mistaken recognition concerning the visit to Yasukuni Shrine by Prime Minister Abe. In response to this, the Japanese Consul General in Munich, who was attending the same lecture, explained the intention of the Prime Minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine and also about the path Japan has followed as a peaceful nation following the end of the Second World War. He then asked the Chinese participant about the intentions of China's recent moves, including the increase in military-related expenditure. The Chinese Ambassador gave a response that did not answer the question posed in any way at all, eliciting laughter from many people in the audience. When a German participant in the audience subsequently asked about the situation in the South China Sea, the Chinese Ambassador did not respond head-on to the question, but instead continued with fresh criticisms of Japan concerning the Senkaku Islands. For some reasons, the rule of this meeting was that one person could only ask one question and extra questions were not permitted. Therefore, Consul General Mizutani decided that rather than remaining in the venue, in order to express his dissatisfaction with the comments of the Chinese Ambassador he would leave the meeting part way through the question and answer session. I believe that the way the Chinese media have reported in complete contradiction to the facts. It would appear that the intention of the Chinese side was to further spread its own unilateral view. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Japan will continue to use various opportunities to carefully explain its own concepts.


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