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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The right of collective self-defense
  • The 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests
  • The japan-North Korea Government-level consultations
  • The incident between the Russian jet and the U.S. military aircraft
  • The gubernatorial elections for Okinawa Prefecture

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the right of collective self-defense. This question was asked during yesterday afternoon's press conference, but please allow me to ask again. My question concerns the new conditions that allow the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to provide support for allied forces, which were presented by the Government during yesterday's consultations among the ruling parties. Setting aside the outcome of the discussions among ruling parties, it appears that the new conditions would allow the SDF to provide logistical support in combat areas, in addition to the non-combat areas in which they are presently able to operate. It seems to me that the new conditions disregard the Government's current policy that Japan should not aid another nation's use of force, a policy that is derived from Article 9 of the Constitution. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in relation to the ongoing consultations among the ruling parties, the ruling parties asked the Government to devise some real-world case examples based on the issues identified by the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security. The Government therefore presented a collection of concrete case examples that it is examining to the ruling parties for discussion in their consultations. Earnest discussions on those case examples are now taking place at the consultations and I anticipate that they will facilitate a deeper understanding of the issue. Following the discussions, the Government will determine its course of action. If we deem that a change of constitutional interpretation is necessary, we will then make a Cabinet decision on this. This is how we are proceeding at this stage.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on a related topic. If the SDF were to provide logistical support in a combat zone, the likelihood of the SDF suffering casualties from being drawn into combat would be much greater. Given that the Government has in fact indicated that it would be permissible to deploy the SDF under such conditions, does that mean that the Government prioritizes contributing to the international community through proactive contributions to peace, even if this were to result in the deaths of SDF personnel?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is not the case at all. The Government devised these case examples as a vehicle for better examining what is required to protect the lives and property of the people and the security of the nation. The ruling parties are currently holding discussions and if the Government deems that a change of constitutional interpretation is necessary as a result of those discussions, we will do so. If that is the case, the changes would of course require the formulation of legislation. Therefore, we will examine its purpose and the issues at the Diet to ensure the formulation of effective legislation. I believe that this is how we will proceed with this matter.

REPORTER: Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests in China. Could you share with us what the Japanese Government’s hopes are for the Chinese Government, for example greater democracy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Japanese Government believes that it is extremely important that the universal values of the international community, such as freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law are upheld in China. In light of this, the Japanese Government has conveyed our views to the Chinese Government on many occasions, and we anticipate that the Chinese Government will take positive steps.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another related question. What are the Japanese Government's views on human rights in China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, when the protests occurred, the Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time issued a statement that said that it is extremely regrettable that the use of military force has resulted in such tragic circumstances and the loss of so many lives. Returning to your question, as you said, if the media reports are indeed true that human rights activists and attorneys are being detained, this would constitute a violation of human rights and freedom, universal values held by Japan and many other nations, and we would feel great concern. The Japanese Government will continue to keep a close eye on the situation in China.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations. There is a media report saying that North Korea informed the Japanese Government of its intention to never abandon nuclear weapons. Could you please share the facts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in relation to North Korean issues, we have not changed our policy of comprehensively resolving outstanding issues, including the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues as per the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. I must refrain from discussing the details of communications between the Japanese Government and the North Korean Government, but during the course of the recent consultations, the Japanese side urged North Korea to exercise self-restraint in its nuclear and missile development as well as in the provocative military acts that can lead to increased tension in the region. In this regard, the Japanese side also urged North Korea to comply with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, the UN Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Regardless, our policy remains unchanged that we will continue to work in cooperation with the U.S. and the Republic of Korea as we address security issues concerning North Korea.

REPORTER: It came to light recently that a Russian fighter jet flew unusually close to a U.S. military aircraft in April over the Sea of Okhotsk. The U.S. lodged a protest to the Russian military. Could you share with us the Japanese Government's thoughts and what you intend to do?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media reports and the incident. Furthermore, the Japanese Government keeps constant watch and monitors the areas surrounding Japan. However, the incident concerns countries other than Japan and I would therefore like to refrain from commenting.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the gubernatorial elections for Okinawa Prefecture. According to a local paper, Naha City Mayor Onaga made the decision to run in the Okinawa Prefecture gubernatorial elections that are scheduled to take place in November this year. Mayor Onaga has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko. However, he also served as the Head of the Election Strategy Headquarters in the lead-up to the previous election, in which current Governor Nakaima was reelected. Mr. Onaga also served as a senior member of the Okinawan chapter of the Liberal Democratic Party. There are therefore concerns that this will split the conservative vote. Could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Mr. Onaga has not yet directly informed me of his intention to run in the election. Therefore, I would like to refrain from commenting. However, Mr. Onaga was initially in favor of relocation to Henoko. As such, I believe that Mr. Onaga will make his position clear once he confirms his candidacy.


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