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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, May 22, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • An explosion in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China
  • The ASEAN’s informal defense minister’s meeting
  • Exercise conducted by the Self-Defense Force
  • The market stock price
  • The right of collective self-defense

REPORTER: So far, over 30 people have been confirmed dead following an explosion in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. What information does the Government have at this time? Also, do you know if any Japanese nationals were affected by the incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, at around 8 am on May 22, an explosion occurred in Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The explosion killed 31 people and injured over 90 others. Japan would like to express its condolences for those who were killed by this incident, and offer sympathy to those who were injured and to the family members of those who were affected. Japan will continue to closely monitor the developments related to this incident. As of this moment, we have not received any information regarding any injuries to Japanese nationals.

REPORTER: In Urumqi, there was an explosion last month as well which killed and injured many people. How do you view the situation in China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The details of the incident are still not clear. Japan is not in a position to verify the background of this incident. In any case, we will of course continue to closely monitor the developments related to the incident.

REPORTER: According to media reports, Japan will be participating in ASEAN’s informal defense ministers’ meeting to be held in Myanmar in November. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, during the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit held in Tokyo last December, Prime Minister Abe proposed holding an informal Japan-ASEAN meeting with the attendance of defense ministers in order to discuss non-traditional security issues. I am aware that Japan and ASEAN are currently making arrangements to hold this meeting. However, this process also involves our counterparts, and we are therefore not yet able to answer any questions about the details of the meeting. For this reason, I would like to refrain from answering your question.


REPORTER: I have a question with regard to the exercise conducted by the Ground Self-Defense Force (SDF) to simulate the recapture of a remote island. The Ground, Maritime, and Air SDF are conducting a combined exercise to simulate the recapture of a remote island. The exercise is being conducted on an uninhabited island among the Amami Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture. On the 22nd, the SDF conducted a landing and takeoff exercise using helicopters and boats. What is the aim and intention of this training?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Let me give you the facts. From May 10 to 27, an integrated exercise, including a landing and takeoff exercise, is being conducted at the Sasebo Base, the Amami Islands, and the waters and airspace to the northeast of Okinawa, aimed at increasing the SDF’s integrated operation capabilities for countering the invasion of remote islands. For more information, I ask that you please ask the Ministry of Defense. This exercise is being conducted not with any particular country or region in mind, but to increase the integrated operation capabilities of the SDF.


REPORTER: My question concerns stock prices. Today, the Nikkei Stock Average increased by nearly 300 yen from the previous day and returned to the 14,300 yen-level after one week. What caused this increase? Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on stock price movements to avoid causing unnecessary confusion in the market. However, higher stock prices are better than lower prices. The Government will continue to follow the trends of the financial market. The Government’s priority is to quickly put the economy on a growth track. Therefore, the Government will continue to fully and steadily implement the three arrows of Abenomics.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the right of collective self-defense. Of the two cases that were illustrated in the panels at the Prime Minister’s recent press conference, I first have a question regarding the example involving a U.S. vessel. A U.S. vessel is one way of rescuing Japanese nationals, but some also point out that if the contingency is in the Korean Peninsula, for example, then an SDF aircraft could go there and rescue Japanese nationals. Such a response would require the improvement of the Japan-ROK relationship. What is your view regarding such cases?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Prime Minister explained during his press conference that seamless preparations must be made to ensure that we are able to respond to any situation to fully protect the lives and property of the people, and the security of the nation. From this perspective, the members of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security were asked to examine a variety of scenarios. Two cases were presented during the recent press conference. The ruling parties are now discussing this matter, including such cases. I would like to refrain from making comments, as the consultations among the ruling parties are ongoing.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the other case of “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid) of an NGO. Some NGOs find it difficult to imagine the SDF coming to the rescue of an NGO from the standpoint of maintaining the SDF’s neutrality from the military. Do you have any thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: If a Japanese NGO were to actually be attacked a close distance from the location of the SDF’s PKO activities, does it really make sense for the SDF not to protect the NGO? The Prime Minister presented this example during his recent press conference as he believes that these matters should be given consideration. In my view, as the party responsible for protecting the lives and property of the people, and ensuring national security, one of the critically important roles of the Government is to always be ready to provide seamless responses in any situation.



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