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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, July 10, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue concerning the temporarily travelling of Osprey aircraft
  • The intensive discussion about security in the Budget Committees
  • The protest to the media relating to the North Korean abduction issue

REPORTER: This question is about the Osprey aircraft. It appears that there is discussion in Kanagawa Prefecture about Osprey aircraft temporarily travelling to Naval Air Facility Atsugi on July 15. Could you provide more detailed information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We were provided information yesterday from the United States regarding the possibility of one Osprey aircraft stopping at Naval Air Facility Atsugi on July 15 for personnel transport purposes before flying to Camp Fuji, and then returning to Futenma on July 18. The Ministry of Defense (MOD) swiftly informed the relevant municipalities of this information.
REPORTER: On a similar note, I hear that this is the first such case in eastern Japan for the Osprey. As such, it seems that this relates to the future operations of the U.S. forces. Please comment on how this will impact eastern Japan and how that will be explained to the municipalities.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is considering various ways to reduce the burden on Okinawa, such as by holding Osprey aircraft training outside of Okinawa Prefecture. The MOD will continue to promptly notify the relevant municipalities when we receive information from the United States about Osprey aircraft flights, including in cases such as this one.
REPORTER: On July 14 and 15, the Budget Committees of the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives will hold intensive discussions about security. Meanwhile, there are indications that there is still insufficient understanding among the people regarding allowing the exercise of the right of collective self-defense. What points in particular will the Government look to explain to the public in the Budget Committee discussions so as to seek their understanding?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Have July 14 and 15 been decided? I understand that this is still under discussion. In either case, I plan to make an explanation in the Diet after the Cabinet decision is made. If the ruling and opposition parties come to a consensus in the Diet, then that will be the natural course of action. The Cabinet decision was made precisely because of the need for seamless legislation that secures the lives and livelihoods of the people, and ensures the national security. I am sure opposition party members will engage in thorough discussions about the decision from the perspectives of their respective parties, and the Government will thoroughly answer any questions, with the Prime Minister leading such efforts.
REPORTER: This is a related question. With regard to the right of collective self-defense, in Diet deliberations and press conferences, when the Prime Minister is asked questions about the risk of the Self-Defense Forces becoming embroiled in warfare, or about the emotional demands of this on the people, the Prime Minister has not provided direct answers. Do you not think the Prime Minister needs to provide a more thorough explanation to the people in Diet deliberations about the risk associated with exercising the right of collective self-defense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that the Prime Minister has provided very clear explanations to date. I would like you to understand that first, coordination on the matter of security will be held among the ruling parties. Once we have gained the understanding of the ruling parties we will seek a Cabinet decision. Only then we will present a bill to the Diet. Once it is presented as a bill, there will of course be discussion from various angles in the Diet, as would be the case for processing any bill. In this context, the Prime Minister will provide thorough answers as the bill is presented in the Diet so as to gain sufficient understanding from the people. The pros and cons of the bill will then be discussed in the Diet. We will indeed hold thorough discussions on the matter in the Diet.

REPORTER: In this morning’s press conference, you mentioned that the Government would protest reports by parts of the media relating to the North Korean abduction issue. Was there a protest?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This afternoon the Government requested that the Nikkei Shimbun immediately correct grossly inaccurate facts that it published today in an article on the front page of the morning edition of its newspaper. The Government submitted a joint protest through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, and the National Police Agency. We protested that the facts of the report were completely false. Moreover, these false facts were reported by a news agency with tremendous social impact and this is not the first time that this has happened. This has significant social impact, including on the feelings of the abductees and their families. I have been informed that the Government has expressed its regret over the matter, and summoned the relevant persons from the Nikkei Shimbun to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present them with an official letter of protest.


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