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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, February 24, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issues related to Japan-Republic of Korea relations
  • The issues related to Japan-China relations
  • The issue related to the sabotage of Sea Shepherd


REPORTER: Tomorrow, February 25, the Republic of Korea (ROK) will celebrate the one-year anniversary of President Park Geun-hye's presidency. Given that the two countries have not yet held a summit meeting since the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye, could you share with us your thoughts on Japan-ROK relations with the ongoing situation since President Park Geun-hye took office?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have repeatedly said on a number of occasions, our stance is that our door is always open for dialogue. I think when issues do exist, it is important for leaders to engage in open dialogue.

REPORTER: Some people have labeled President Park Geun-hye's diplomatic stance toward Japan as 'tattling,' where the President repeatedly criticizes Japan at meetings with other countries. Do you believe that the attitude of President Park Geun-hye is causing Japan-ROK relations to be even more challenging?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of such opinions, but Japan always presents its stance in a straightforward manner, and our door is always open for dialogue. We will continue to address the issue with such a basic stance.


REPORTER: I understand that the youth exchange program between Japan and China promoted by both governments was in hiatus for some time, but the Governments are now working to restart the program. Could you share with us how the arrangements of the Government are currently progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not know how the arrangements are progressing, but I believe that it is important that we continue to engage in exchange of business, culture, and youth.

REPORTER: Exchange between the countries halted after the Prime Minister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine. How do you view recent developments where there are now signs of recommencing exchange?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In my view, it is basically  positive. However, after his visit, the Prime Minister informed the public of the reason for his visit to Yasukuni Shrine and said that the visit was to pray for the souls of all those who made ultimate sacrifices for the very sake of the country and to pay his respects. The Prime Minister also stated that he pledged to build a country which will never wage a war again. Our basic stance is that we carefully and thoroughly communicate this, and as such, I believe that it is important that we continue to engage in exchange of business, culture and youth.

REPORTER: It was reported that the Sea Shepherd, an anti-whaling organization, sabotaged Japanese whaling vessels by firing signal flares, among other actions. This is the third attempt to sabotage the vessels since the beginning of the year. Could you share your thoughts with us and how the Japanese Government is planning to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Sea Shepherd sabotaged Japanese survey whaling vessels, the Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 3, such as by firing signal flares and throwing rope. As a result of these actions, the Japanese vessels sustained damage, such as the rope got caught on the propellers of both vessels. So far, no crewmembers sustained any injuries, and operation of the vessels remains unaffected. However, we believe that these sabotage activities themselves are extremely dangerous acts, and should never be condoned. Via diplomatic routes, the Japanese Government asked the Netherlands, the country in which Sea Shepherd's vessel is registered, to take effective measures.


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