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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, May 23, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

I would like to speak about the release of the written request by the late Masao Yoshida, former Plant Chief of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which the Government has previously mentioned. The late Masao Yoshida submitted a written request in relation to the handling of his interview records to the Government's Investigation and Verification Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The Government recently decided to make the written request publicly available. We are currently making preparations to share the written request online and in other media at around 5 pm today. For more details on this topic, please contact the Office for the Reforms of Nuclear Regulatory Administration of the Cabinet Secretariat.


  • The release of the written request by former Plant Chief of Fukushima daiichi Nuclear Power Station
  • Chairman of the State Duma of Russia’s visit plan to Japan
  • The right of collective self-defense
  • The establishment of Mountain Day


REPORTER: Could you tell us the reason for going public the written request on the website)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the written request, which Mr. Yoshida submitted to the Government's Investigation and Verification Committee, Mr. Yoshida shared his opinion regarding the disclosure of the records of his interview to the Secretariat of the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. I assume that Mr. Yoshida made his opinion clear because he believed that the Government's Investigation and Verification Committee might have been unsure as to how to proceed. The written request gives permission for the record to be disclosed to the Independent Investigation Commission. For this reason, we believe that it has been cleared the legal issue and therefore decided to disclose the document.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning Sergey Naryshkin, the Chairman of the State Duma of Russia who will be visiting Japan in June. In light of the Ukrainian situation, the EU and the U.S. believe that Mr. Naryshkin should be subject to sanctions. Does the Japanese Government welcome Mr. Naryshkin's visit to Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that Chairman Naryshkin expressed his intention to visit Japan in early June in order to attend the opening ceremony of the Russian Cultural Festival. On April 29, the Japanese Government announced the suspension of visa issuance to certain Russian Government officials. The details of the list of people who are subject to these sanctions have not been disclosed. However, I understand that the Chairman's visit to Japan and his attendance of the ceremony will not be problematic in terms of the sanctions.

REPORTER: I assume that you do not view this as a problem as he is not on the list. However, it has been reported that Chairman Naryshkin will hold talks with senior officials of the Japanese Government. Are these reports correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No talks have been arranged at this stage.


REPORTER: I would like to confirm something with regard to questions and answers exchanged during a Cabinet Committee meeting. In relation to the right of collective self-defense, you said that the Government will first seek legislative measures for the gray zone bills, that is, start with what can be readily accomplished. Did you mean that the Government will also seek a Cabinet decision for matters that are more likely to be approved? So, rather than try to address everything all at once, does the Government plan to approach the matter in smaller steps?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, that was not my intended meaning. What I said was that the Prime Minister encouraged us to first reconsider if the current law is sufficient to protect the lives and property of the people and ensure the security of Japan. The Government presented a basic orientation to seek to put in place a swift and seamless response and I understand that the ruling parties will take on the responsibility of determining the order of priority. In light of this, the Prime Minister instructed further studies on the view that the Constitution permits the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense if a situation could pose a serious impact on the security of Japan. Consultations within the ruling parties are currently in progress in keeping with those instructions. Furthermore, the Government will determine how to proceed with the matter in light of the progress of consultations.


REPORTER: A new public holiday, Mountain Day, has been declared for August 11. Could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am the minister responsible for the decision to establish Mountain Day. According to the Act on National Holidays, the objective of Mountain Day is to provide citizens an opportunity to enjoy mountains and to be grateful for the blessings that mountains provide. As you all know, approximately 70% of Japan's land mass is covered by mountains. To make the most of this opportunity the Government will make thorough efforts to spread awareness about mountains, so that citizens are able to make the most of the holiday and enjoy the mountains.


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