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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, June 6, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 15 measures for submission to the Diet as well as promulgation of legislation, cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry made a statement concerning the FY2013 Measures to Promote Manufacturing Technology; the Minister of the Environment made a statement regarding the FY2014 Annual Report on the Environment, the Sound Material-Cycle Society and the Biodiversity in Japan; Minister Amari made a statement about the establishment of the National Council on Social Security System Reform; the Minster of Health, Labour and Welfare made a statement regarding the promotion of social security system reform; and the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning emergency grant aid to support internally-displaced persons and others in Ukraine.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Amari made a statement about trends in consumption following the increase in the consumption tax rate and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement concerning a special exhibition of the Room for Consumer.


  • The attendant of the inauguration ceremony for Ukraine’s President
  • The right of collective self-defense
  • The issue of the Japan-North Korea relations
  • The Prime Minister of India’s plan to visit Japan

REPORTER: I have a question about the personnel decisions made by the Cabinet. It has been decided that Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takao Makino will attend the inauguration ceremony for Ukraine’s president elect as a special envoy. Could you share with us how this decision was made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan would like to offer its congratulations to the new president and, at the same time, as a member of the G7, Japan would like to proceed with discussions on how to address the situation in Ukraine, while working closely with the relevant countries. With this belief and commitment in mind, the Government decided to dispatch the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs.

REPORTER: Today there will be consultations among the ruling parties regarding allowing the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. However, reports indicate that full-fledged discussions regarding the right of collective self-defense itself have not yet to commence. This means that these discussions likely will not occur in time for the Government to make a Cabinet decision during this session of the Diet. What are your thoughts on this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This meeting was initially held on a weekly basis, but now they are taking place twice a week and the time has also been extended. Under this new format the ruling parties have been holding earnest discussions. During these meetings the Vice-President and Secretary-General have stated that the discussions are being held in time for the current session of the Diet. As such, I would like the ruling parties to fully accelerate their consultations and reach a conclusion.

REPORTER: I have a related question. During his press conference yesterday evening, the Prime Minister made a statement that the Government would move forward with a focused and thorough approach. It is believed that the Prime Minister was urging the ruling parties to accelerate their consultations. However, the New Komeito side is adopting a very cautious approach as usual. For example, the other day Chair of the Policy Research Council Keiichi Ishii stated the need to hold sufficient discussions, so as to ensure that future generations will be able to understand the matter. Both you and the Prime Minster initially stated that there was no predetermined deadline. Can you therefore explain why the Prime Minister is urging the ruling parties to accelerate its consultations?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather than this being a matter of the Prime Minister’s personal intentions, as I have often stated, this has to do with changes in the international environment. In light of the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, we must establish seamless legislation for the purpose of fully protecting the lives and property of the people and maintaining national security, as soon as possible. In light of this, the Government has already announced its basic orientation based on the report of the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security. Now, it is time for the ruling parties to discuss the matter in more detail. If we determine that a Cabinet decision is necessary, then we will make such a decision. This has been our policy from the beginning, and I believe that the Prime Minister made his statement with this in mind. 

REPORTER: My question relates to Japan-North Korea relations. North Korean Ambassador to Japan Song Il Ho agreed to an interview with Kyodo News in Pyongyang. With regard to the special investigative committee for victims of abduction, Mr. Song said that preparations are moving forward and clearly stated that although coordination was still taking place internally in North Korea, North Korea will steadily make preparations in a responsible manner. Do you have any expectations regarding this statement? Or, do you have any comments on behalf of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think it is appropriate for me to comment on each and every media report on this matter. In any case, as promised in the recent Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations, North Korea will promptly implement comprehensive and immediate investigations and will make positive progress toward the eventual resolution of all issues related to Japanese nationals, including the abduction issue and the return of victims of abduction. The Government has very strong expectations with regard to these promises. 

REPORTER: I have a related question regarding the method by which North Korea will inform Japan once it has set up the Special Investigation Committee. Will this be carried out through official diplomatic channels? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Through these consultations we have coordinated with North Korea on various issues. It is the Government’s stance to have North Korea fulfil each and every one of these matters. Therefore, this communication will, of course, be reported through diplomatic channels. 

REPORTER: There is a report that Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, will visit Japan at the beginning of next month. Can you inform us of the facts and status of any arrangements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, after Prime Minister Modi assumed his position, telephone talks were arranged between both Prime Ministers. During the talks, Prime Minister Abe extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Japan. As such, both countries are currently making arrangements for the visit, so no concrete schedule has been finalized at the moment. In light of this, I believe that the final arrangements are being made based on these telephone talks.

REPORTER: Just to confirm, am I right to assume that Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Japan soon?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from providing any specific details at the moment since the final arrangements are still being made. I think the visit will depend on both country’s Diet sessions and each leader’s schedule. 

REPORTER: Please allow me to return to the topic of Ukraine. There are reports that soon Russian President Putin will travel to France where he will hold Russia-France and Russia-UK talks, and there is speculation he may even meet with President Obama. What are your expectations for this series of summit meetings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The most important thing is that the situation in Ukraine be resolved through peaceful dialogue. The G7 will evaluate the results of the next election and President Putin himself has accepted this. The G7 will therefore support the new administration in Ukraine and will seek a resolution through dialogue. The most important thing is that this situation be resolved peacefully and not with the use of force.

REPORTER: I think the fact that the Government has refrained from holding talks among senior-level officials, including summit meetings, since the Ukraine crisis broke out is having an effect. However, would Prime Minister Abe consider holding a summit meeting if the opportunity presented itself, given that the other G7 countries have resumed summit meetings with Russia? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While Japan will remain in step with the other G7 countries, it is also the case that many issues exist between Japan and Russia. We are therefore always prepared to engage in dialogue.

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