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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The completion of the mission by astronaut Mr. Wakata
  • The consultations with the ruling parties on the right of collective self-defense
  • Mr. Naryskin, Chairman of the State Duma’s plan to visit to Japan
  • U.S. Presidential visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki

REPORTER: Earlier today astronaut Koichi Wakata completed his mission at the International Space Station (ISS) and landed on Earth. Could you give us a reaction to that, if you have one?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Earlier, I also received such a report from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology saying that he landed safely in Kazakhstan. It was reported that astronaut Wakata's motto as the first Japanese ISS commander was the "Japanese spirit of harmony," and as you have all seen from the footage he built up harmony and demonstrated the Japanese-style of leadership that values this considerateness. I think he performed admirably in carrying out his duties there on the ISS, which has Japanese, American and Russian crew members, and in landing safely. I think it is something the Japanese people can be enormously proud of.

REPORTER: This morning the two Secretary Generals and two Chairmen of the Diet Policy Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito had a meeting. The beginning of consultations with the ruling parties on the right of collective self-defense seems to have been started from next week, on the 20th. What sort of discussions do you anticipate having?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister will hold a press conference tomorrow where he will share the Government's basic vision on this matter. Thus, under the circumstances I would like everyone in the ruling parties to consider the matter carefully and I hope we can hold full-fledged discussions during those consultations.


REPORTER: This question relates to the relocation of Futenma Air Station. Some media reports say the Government has decided on a policy to begin work next month on tearing down existing facilities inside Camp Schwab, where alternative facilities for the relocation to Henoko will be constructed. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We received approval from the Governor of Okinawa for landfill construction and we are currently proceeding with preparations toward commencing work, like which involves surveys, designs and so on, I am not aware of the details of individual projects among them. I believe you should direct that question to the Ministry of Defense.

REPORTER: Mr. Sergey Naryshkin, Chairman of the State Duma and a close confidante of Russian President Putin, is expected to visit Japan in June. Does the Japanese Government have any plans for Prime Minister Abe, or perhaps the Chief Cabinet Secretary or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to meet with him?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that Mr. Naryshkin, the Russian Chairman of the State Duma, expresses a desire to attend a ceremony at the Russian Culture Festival, a privately sponsored cultural event to be held in Japan in June. At the present time the itinerary for his stay has not yet been released, so the Government has not made any such decision.

REPORTER: Regarding the incorporation of Crimea, European countries are taking action with sanctions such as travel bans for Russian Government officials. Is there no particular problem with Mr. Naryshkin coming to Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has also issued a travel ban list. However, Mr. Naryshkin is not on said list. As such, I do not believe there is any violation, and I do not think your point stands.

REPORTER: In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, we learned that Acting Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller suggested to the White House that President Obama visit the sites of the atomic bombings. There have been loud calls asking for a presidential visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but how do you view such a move by the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think it is incredibly important to have world leaders visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which suffered atomic bombings, and truly see firsthand the actual damage caused by nuclear weapons. At the same time, I also think it is significant in terms of boosting the momentum behind nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. U.S. President Obama in particular has stated a world without nuclear weapons as a goal, and Japan shares this goal as well. Nevertheless, in the end this is a decision for the U.S. Government to make. If they do make such a decision, then we would of course welcome this.

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