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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, May 15, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The submission of the report by the Advisory panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security
  • The 42nd anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa
  • Anti-Chinese riots in Viet Num

REPORTER: This afternoon, the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security will submit its report to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister was unable to receive the report during the first Abe Cabinet. If you were asked to speculate, what thoughts will the Prime Minister have in mind when receiving this report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that in engaging in politics, the Prime Minister has always thought about what is in fact necessary for protecting the lives and property of the people and ensuring national security, and whether or not this is possible under existing arrangements. The Prime Minister has also reconvened the Advisory Panel after his assumption. I would say that it is in this context that we have heard and discussed a range of opinions and today we will finally receive the report.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister will be giving a press conference this evening. While you just spoke about this, can you tell us what points the Prime Minister will primarily be focusing on when explaining this to the people?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: You can hear the explanation from the Prime Minister himself this evening. In any case, I assume that he will focus on the points I mentioned. Times have changed so dramatically and we now live in a globalized world. Nowadays, many people from Japan travel overseas, and there are also many Japanese people who live in abroad. With the times changing dramatically and also the security environment surrounding Japan changing, we have long thought about whether or not the existing arrangements are enough. I expect that this will be among the matters discussed at the press conference.

REPORTER: Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the reversion of Okinawa Prefecture to Japan. While the number of bases of the U.S. forces on mainland Japan has decreased to nearly one-fourth of their original number, the number of bases in Okinawa Prefecture has hardly decreased at all. Under these circumstances, the Government plans to build the Futenma replacement facility in Henoko, Nago City. The people in Okinawa Prefecture, including Nago, the host city, have expressed very strong opposition to this plan. Can you please share with us your impressions upon the 42nd anniversary of the reversion, as well as explain how the Government intends to obtain the understanding of the people in Okinawa? Also, with regard to the construction work, you often say in your press conferences that the work will proceed calmly. However, given that opposing views persist, is there no change in the Government’s plans to proceed with the construction work calmly?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, on this day of commemoration of the reversion of Okinawa, we would like to renew our resolve to alleviate the burden of the bases in Okinawa and to make every effort to realize the promotion and development of Okinawa so that it will become a frontrunner in Japan, by leveraging its geographical advantage and great potential, while being mindful of the people in Okinawa, who have overcome many different adversities. Furthermore, at the end of last year, land reclamation in Henoko was approved with the understanding of the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture. In light of the security environment surrounding Japan, maintaining deterrence, the elimination of the current dangers presented by Futenma Air Station, and alleviating the burden of the bases placed on Okinawa, we made the decision to relocate to Henoko, based on the choices available. Against this background, we will continue to proceed with the construction work calmly based on the approval that we received.    


REPORTER: I have a question in connection with Viet Nam and China. In Viet Nam, anti-Chinese riots have broken out, and in some areas Japanese companies are being caught up in the violence. Can you please comment on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I have been briefed that from the 13th to the 14th, anti-Chinese demonstrations took place in southern Viet Nam. I have been informed that Japanese companies were also affected by these demonstrations, suffering factory break-ins and broken windows. However, no Japanese nationals in Viet Nam have sustained any injuries. In response to this situation, on the 14th, Japan requested the relevant Vietnamese authorities in Tokyo and Viet Nam to ensure the security of Japanese nationals and Japanese companies, to take disciplinary action against the relevant parties, and to deal with the issue of compensation. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan is currently sending out warnings via emergency mass e-mails, its website, and other methods to Japanese companies in the area.

REPORTER: What does the Japanese Government think about the fact that the situation seems to be escalating daily?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After this situation unfolded, Japan urged the parties concerned to refrain from unilaterally changing the status quo by force and to resolve the matter through mutual dialogue. Japan’s position remains the same.

I have one announcement. It is about special tours of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Official Residence for fifth and sixth grade elementary school children and junior high school students. As part of the effort to close the distance between the Government and the people, and with the aim of achieving an open administration, children and students in elementary and junior high schools participated in special tours of the Prime Minister’s Office and Official Residence during their summer breaks last year. This year as well, we will conduct special tours in August during the students’ summer breaks. For more information regarding how to apply, please visit the website of the Prime Minister’s Office. 

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