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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The possibility to hold foreign ministerial meeting in conjunction with the ASEAN Region Forum
  • The issue concerning the right of collective self-defense
  • The infection of the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
  • The plan for summer holiday of the Prime Minister

REPORTER: There are press reports that state that in conjunction with the ASEAN Regional Forum at the beginning of August the Government is planning to hold foreign ministerial meetings with North Korea and the Republic of Korea (ROK). What are the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth to the reports you mention. The attendance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at the ASEAN Regional Forum has not even been decided yet. That is the current situation.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the right of collective self-defense. Following the Cabinet decision on this issue there have been a series of debates in the Diet yesterday and two days ago. Do you consider that the understanding of the people of Japan has deepened concerning this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yesterday and the day before yesterday intensive discussions took place concerning this matter in the Budget Committee meetings of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors. In those discussions the Prime Minister took the lead on behalf of the Government in providing repeated explanations about the recent Cabinet decision. The Prime Minister repeatedly noted that the Cabinet decision was ultimately taken for the purpose of implementing the necessary minimum measures for self-defense in order to protect the lives and peaceful livelihood of the people of Japan and the safety of the nation. The Prime Minister also responded clearly to criticisms that have been seen in some sections of the mass media, and noted that the measures would not mean that Japan would participate in a war to protect other countries. The Prime Minister also noted that there are many people who are misunderstanding that once the Cabinet decision has been made it will be immediately possible to exercise the right of collective self-defense. With regard to this point he responded that the Cabinet decision represents nothing more than a starting point for the development of security legislation by the Government. The Government will develop legislation based on a basic orientation, which will then be deliberated by the Diet. The Prime Minister noted that this process would be conducted seriously over the course of approximately one year. The Government will continue to make efforts to gain the understanding of the people of Japan with regard to this issue.


REPORTER: The number of people who may have been infected with Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in West Africa has now exceeded 600. The World Health Organization (WHO) is apparently not recommending restrictions on travel or commerce, but as the holiday season approaches the number of travelers is also likely to increase. What is the Government’s view with regard to this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the report that you have just mentioned, which states that the number of deaths due to Ebola now stands at 603 in West Africa. Given this situation and in view of the fact that many people will be departing for their holidays during the summer season, information will be provided on the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) and the Quarantine Information Office of MHLW. In addition, awareness-raising posters will also be put up at quarantine stations targeting both those leaving the country and those returning from overseas travel. In this way we aim to maintain a state of alert and awareness among travelers. In addition, the Government will also work in close cooperation with the WHO to monitor international disease trends and respond appropriately.


REPORTER: It has been reported that President Obama of the United States is to take a 16-day summer holiday from August 9 to 24. Do you and the Prime Minister have plans to take a summer holiday?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister will of course be taking a holiday and I also would like to take a break. However, at the very least we will take our holidays while remaining mindful of measures for crisis management.


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