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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue regarding the China and Southeast Asian countries
  • The issue of Ukraine
  • The 42nd anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa

REPORTER: I understand that China is undertaking reclamation on a reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea and that the Philippines lodged a protest with China. Do you know if this is true? Also, clashes between China and Southeast Asian countries have been intensifying over territorial disputes. How do you view the current situation?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are now confirming the facts of this matter. In any case, the issue with regard to the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability of the region and is a common concern of the international community as a whole, including Japan. Japan urges the parties concerned to refrain from unilateral acts that heighten tensions and to act on the basis of the principle of the rule of law. Japan regards that the parties concerned should clarify the grounds for their claims in line with relevant international law.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the joint military exercise between China and Russia. Yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense of China announced that a joint exercise between the Chinese and Russian navies would be conducted in sea areas in the northern part of the East China Sea from the 20th to the 26th. The Chinese media reported that the exercise would be conducted in sea areas northwest of Okinawa and the Senkaku Islands. Will the military exercise have any impact on Japan’s sovereignty, including over the Senkaku Islands? What is the view of the Japanese Government? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of the announcement made by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense. As I have stated repeatedly, the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. With regard to the matter you just noted, in fact, Russia announced that the Russia-China military exercise would take place in the South China Sea. Either way, Japan does not perceive that the exercise will have any impact whatsoever on Japan’s valid control of the Senkaku Islands. Japan will closely follow Russian and Chinese military moves, including joint exercises, with great interest.

REPORTER: As conflict between the U.S. and Russia continues over the situation in Ukraine, how does the Japanese Government intend to maintain Japan-Russia bilateral relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The issue with regard to Ukraine does not only concern some of the EU countries. Rather, it affects the international community as a whole, including Asia. Japan will work with the rest of the G7 members and play a role towards the peaceful and diplomatic resolution of this matter. At the same time, amid the further increasing severity of the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan regards the Japan-Russia relationship to be of critical importance. While engaging in a series of dialogues with Russia, we will promote a bilateral relationship that contributes to the national interests of Japan.       

REPORTER: Tomorrow, May 15, will mark the 42nd anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan. Even now, there is no change to the excessive burden placed on Okinawa by the bases, with 74% of the U.S. forces’ facilities being concentrated in Okinawa, for example. Once again, could you please share with us your understanding of the current situation and your plans regarding the promotion and development of Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just explained, tomorrow will mark the 42nd anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa. Okinawa experienced tragic ground battles during World War II, and on top of that, was placed outside of Japan’s administrative rights for as long as 27 years after the war. In light of this, I recognize that Okinawa endured a series of hardships not experienced by other regions. Even after the reversion, Okinawa faced a variety of obstacles, including shouldering the heavy burden of the bases. Despite this, the ceaseless efforts of our forefathers have led to the steady development of Okinawa. Given these circumstances, and taking into consideration deterrence and other aspects, the Government will steadily carry out the land reclamation and realize the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko according to plan. Furthermore, in carrying out the relocation, the Government will eliminate the dangers and alleviate the burden placed on the people in Okinawa Prefecture as quickly as possible, according to plan. With regard to the measures for the promotion and development of Okinawa, as was indicated in this year’s budget, the Government will make every effort to support these measures.


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