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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, April 3, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The tsunami advisories announcement cause from the earthquake in Chile
  • The issue of revising the National Referendum Act

REPORTER: At the moment, tsunami advisories have been issued for vast areas along the Pacific coast. Can you please tell us what damage reports you have received so far and what measures the Government will be taking?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I would like to share some information regarding yesterday’s earthquake which had an epicenter somewhere off the northern coast of Chile. At 3 am today, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for the Pacific coast stretching from Hokkaido to Kanto, for the Izu Islands, and for the Ogasawara Islands. As of 10 am, tsunamis were observed in regions such as Hokkaido and Tohoku. A tsunami of up to 40 cm was observed in Kuji Port in Iwate Prefecture. Yesterday, at 5 pm, the Government established an Information Liaison Office within the Crisis Management Center, and the Government is working as one and making every effort to take the initial response and gauge the situation. At this point in time, we have not received any information in particular regarding damages. We ask that the people continue to fully pay attention to tsunami information and stay clear of the coast or estuaries until the tsunami warning is lifted. I seem to have said “tsunami warnings” instead of “tsunami advisories.” My apologies. What I meant was “tsunami advisories.”      

REPORTER: Today, seven ruling and opposition parties are expected to reach a formal agreement on jointly submitting a proposal for revising the National Referendum Act, the law that sets out the procedures for the amendment of the Constitution of Japan. Can you please once again share your comments on reaching this stage?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), presented what we consider to be a Constitution that is suitable for the 21st century, in the form of a draft proposal of constitutional revisions. The LDP has been broadly calling for constitutional revisions among the public. First of all, we view it as essential that we resolve the three tasks that remain in relation to the national referendum system, which constitutes the foundation for the revision of the Constitution. Once that is done, we must make thorough and steady efforts to revise the Constitution, while bearing in mind the deepening national debate on the subject and the reviews of the Commissions on the Constitution of the House of Representatives and House of Councillors. In that sense, I welcome the fact that the draft revisions were agreed upon among the ruling and opposition parties, and that the groundwork is being laid for the passage of the bill.

REPORTER: It has come to light that the Japan Restoration Party has a draft report of the party’s views regarding the right to collective self-defense. It contains six requirements for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, including if there is an imminent and illegitimate act of aggression against Japan. It is said that the party’s views are similar to those of the Abe administration. Could you first please comment on this?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as a representative of the Government I would like to refrain from making comments regarding developments in discussions held by opposition parties. Having said that, I do think that in light of the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, it is a good thing for opposition parties or anyone else to also carry out constructive discussions on how to fully ensure the security of Japan.

REPORTER: I assume the Government will be having the support of responsible opposition parties. Meanwhile, the other ruling party, the New Komeito, still maintains a cautious stance. Will there be any impact on the discussions with the New Komeito? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe so. In any case, the Government will receive the report of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security and then present its own basic views while drawing on the recommendations of the report. The Government will first explain its views carefully to the ruling parties. Upon obtaining their understanding, a Cabinet decision will be made. This is the order we have in mind.   


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