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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, March 13, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issues related to Japan-Republic of Korea relations
  • The issues related to RIKEN
  • The issues related to the illegal leakage of Toshima’s research data

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Japan-ROK vice-ministerial talks. During yesterday’s talks, the Republic of Korea (ROK) requested that Japan sincerely address the issues of the understanding of history and comfort women. How does the Japanese Government intend to address these issues? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki visited the ROK and held talks with First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong regarding the current status of Japan-ROK relations and the way forward. In particular, the vice ministers discussed a number of issues of concern, exchanged views on the situation in North Korea, and agreed on the importance of the Japan-ROK partnership. However, I would like to refrain from answering questions about the specific content and details of this exchange of views between the diplomatic authorities. Nevertheless, in any case, as the Government has made clear on numerous occasions, the Abe Cabinet succeeds the position of previous Cabinets with regard to the understanding of history. Concerning the comfort women issue, which you just asked about, Japan’s stance to date has been consistent. We believe the issue of property claims between Japan and the ROK, which includes the comfort women issue, was resolved fully and definitively with the signing of the Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and Economic Cooperation in 1965. We would like everyone to understand that the Japanese Government has done as much as possible based on this stance. For example, the Government and the Japanese people collaborated to establish the Asian Women’s Fund, which implements “medical and welfare support projects” and provides “atonement money,” to offer realistic relief to former comfort women. Furthermore, the Prime Minister sends letters to former comfort women. Because Japan and the ROK are neighboring countries, a number of difficult issues exist between us. Nevertheless Japan considers it to be critical that our two countries work together to forge multi-layered and future-oriented relations from a broad perspective. It is precisely because such individual issues exist between us that the Japanese Government attaches importance to dialogue at high political level, including dialogue between the leaders of our two countries. We will undertake a variety of initiatives to gain understanding for Japan’s views.         

REPORTER: I imagine that the focus of the talks was on the realization of a summit meeting. Are you saying that there are still many differences in opinion between the two sides which make it difficult to realize a summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have explained the position of Japan repeatedly at these press conferences. Our position is clear. Japan’s door is always open for dialogue, and we should hold a summit meeting precisely because difficult issues exist between our two countries.


REPORTER: My question concerns stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. As Japan’s approach to science becomes the focus of worldwide attention, RIKEN will hold a press conference on the 14th. Ms. Obokata is not scheduled to attend this press conference. In light of her absence, among other factors, there is growing mistrust inside and outside Japan about the researchers in question as well as about RIKEN’s approach. What is your opinion on this matter? Also, given that Ms. Obokata herself is not holding a press conference, is it conceivable that the Government would make the final decision regarding the selection of RIKEN as a designated national research and development entity?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to RIKEN itself, the institution’s talented researchers have been conducting remarkable activities to date. In light of this, the Government views RIKEN as an outstanding institution that is a suitable candidate for becoming a designated national research and development entity. That is why, yesterday, the Council for Science and Technology Policy acknowledged that RIKEN is one of the leading research and development entities in the world based on objective criteria. The Council therefore decided to include RIKEN as one of the candidates for becoming a designated national research and development entity. We are aware that RIKEN is investigating the research on STAP cells and that it will be presenting its findings on the 14th. In addition, during yesterday’s meeting of the Council, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology stated that, as the minister in charge, he would closely monitor RIKEN and give the appropriate guidance. In any case we will make the final decision regarding the selection of designated national research and development entities once the Cabinet approves the draft bill for the establishment of such entities. Therefore the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will carefully assess RIKEN’s governance and other such matters, and based on this, the Government will make a decision as to what to do.  

REPORTER: According to today’s media reports, Toshiba’s research data was illegally given to an ROK company. Can you please explain if this is true? Can you please also give us your reaction to this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This matter received a lot of coverage in today’s newspapers and I am aware of it. I would like to refrain from commenting on individual issues like this. However, generally speaking, it is extremely important for Japan, a technology-oriented nation, to take thorough measures to prevent the leakage of valuable technology and to ensure appropriate protection. In this context, in June of last year, the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters established the Intellectual Property Policy Vision. This Vision sets out initiatives for protecting trade secrets, and accordingly, the Government is now fully working on these initiatives. With regard to the media reports you asked about, I would like to refrain from commenting on them.  





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