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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



  • The issues related to a New York Times' editorial on Prime Minster Abe
  • The issues related to Japan-Russia relations concerning the situation in Ukraine


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning a New York Times' editorial. The editorial on March 2 essentially said that Mr. Abe's revisionism is dangerous. The article also says that he and other nationalists still claim that the Nanjing massacre never happened. Could you tell us if Prime Minister Abe ever said anything like this? Could you also share with us the current stance of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Prime Minister Abe never made such a statement. The Japanese Government's position is that "It cannot be denied that following the entrance of the Japanese Army into Nanjing in 1937, the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts occurred." The Abe administration shares the exact same view. I clearly stated that this is the Government's stance during a press conference on February 26. The New York Times published an article that completely contradicts the reality of the Government's position and makes totally false claims about what the Prime Minister Abe said. Therefore, the Japanese Government informed The New York Times that the editorial contains significant factual errors. We have also already lodged a protest and made a counter argument.

REPORTER: To follow up, I would like to clarify something about Prime Minister Abe that you just mentioned. I would like you to confirm that he never made such a comment even before becoming Prime Minister, or even when he was out of office. Moreover, the Prime Minister published a book that he co-authored with Naoki Hyakuta, in which they each contributed chapters. In the book, Mr. Hyakuta effectively said that the Nanking Massacre was fabricated at the Tokyo Tribunal to divert attention from war crimes committed by the U.S. I assume that it is because of opinions like this that foreign countries think the Prime Minister holds the same views. The Prime Minister has given Mr. Hyakuta extremely high praise in the past and actions like this could lead to misunderstanding. Could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regardless of what was written, the position of the Japanese Government is as I stated. I have stated on numerous occasions that the Abe Government holds exactly the same view.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the situation in Ukraine. The statement of the G7 meeting clearly criticizes Russia's actions. On the other hand, the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs' statement appears to be less direct. It seems to me that there is a difference in the sentiment of the two statements. Is this because of Japan - Russia relations  including the ongoing territorial issue? Could you share with us the views of the Government on this matter? I would like to ask one more question. The U.S. and Europe are considering imposing economic sanctions against Russia. Would this be something that Japan would also consider?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, after the G7 countries assessed the situation and developed a common understanding, we agreed to issue a joint statement. As a member of the G7, Japan supported the statement you mentioned. It is our hope that the situation will improve following the issuance of this statement. We will thoroughly address the matter while remaining in close cooperation with the countries concerned.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a follow-up question on an earlier topic. While I believe they are mistaken, The New York Times maintains their view on the Prime Minister. Am I right to understand that Prime Minister Abe never denied the Nanking Massacre, even when he was not Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe he never did. As such, the Japanese Government informed The New York Times that the editorial contains significant factual errors and we have already lodged a protest.


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