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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 4, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 13 general and other measures, draft bills, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Yamamoto made a statement concerning Northern Territories Day.


  • The issues related to Northern Territories Day
  • The issues related to Japan-Russia relations
  • The issue related to the name of Sea of Japan in Virginia in the United States

REPORTER: Regarding Minister Yamamoto's statement concerning Northern Territories Day, which you just mentioned, what exactly did he say?


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister Yamamoto essentially said, "This coming February 7 is Northern Territories Day. On this day, the will be held at Hibiya Public Hall in Tokyo with the attendance of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to demonstrate domestically and abroad the firm determination of the Japanese people who demand the early return of the Northern Territories. Furthermore, a variety of events will be held throughout Japan mainly on this day. To resolve the Northern Territories issue as quickly as possible, I will make persistent efforts to promote a broad campaign to demand the return of the Northern Territories, while working to further elevate public opinion. I ask for the understanding and cooperation of all Cabinet members."  

REPORTER: During the ongoing meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister stated that after attending this Rally, he will be attending the opening ceremony in Sochi, and then on the following day, the 8th, he will hold a summit meeting with President Putin. What is the significance and aim of this Japan-Russia Summit Meeting? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Circumstances permitting, the Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics on February 7 and hold Japan-Russia Summit Meeting with Russia on the 8th for the fifth time since taking office. This visit to Russia is in response to an invitation extended by President Putin who attaches considerable significance to the Sochi Olympics, and Japan believes that this visit will contribute to further strengthening the personal trust between the two leaders. Bilaterally, Japan and Russia have held a series of working-level meetings, including the recent Vice-Ministerial Meeting and Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Nevertheless, in the context of deepening trust at the summit-level, Japan considers that it is important to make progress on the peace treaty negotiations by promoting cooperation with Russia in a variety of fields and enhancing   entire Japan-Russia relations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It has been reported that the Japan-Russia Vice- Ministerial Meeting, which was held on Friday of last week, concluded with the two sides merely continuing to assert their principle claims on the issue of the Northern Territories. Is the gap closing at all between the two sides?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, this will be the fifth summit meeting held in the thirteen months since the Prime Minister took office. In terms of overall Japan-Russia relations, cooperation between the two countries is progressing in a broad range of fields. Therefore, Japan believes it is important first and foremost that a relationship of trust is forged.  

REPORTER: My question concerns a subject that has also been raised a number of times at these press conferences; namely the issue of the bill being deliberated in Virginia in the United States, which would require that both Sea of Japan and East Sea be listed in the state's public school textbooks. Following its passage by the Virginia Senate, it appears the bill will also soon be passed by the House of Delegates. May I ask how the Japanese Government will be dealing with this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated numerous times, the Sea of Japan is the only internationally established name for the sea area concerned, and the U.S. Government has also supported the sole use of the name Sea of Japan. Japan will seek better understanding and support for the name Sea of Japan from the international community by fully asserting the aforementioned position and taking appropriate measures, including in the case in question.


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