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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The deployment of Osprey aircraft
  • The approval rating of the cabinet at the opinion poll
  • The introduction of a crime of conspiracy

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Saga Airport, which you mentioned in this morning’s press conference. You stated that there is a possibility that the Osprey aircraft of the U.S. Marine Corps currently stationed at Futenma Air Station could use Saga Airport on a provisional basis. Is it the Government’s intention to spread such deployments around the country with a view to alleviating the burden of bases on Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Last year approval was granted for the relocation of Futenma Air Station to a reclaimed land site at Henoko in Okinawa. More than 70 percent of U.S. bases in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa and the issues we face are to eliminate dangers and alleviate the burden of bases. At the same time, U.S. Forces in Japan are a part of the nation’s deterrence. It is against this backdrop that the Government believes that everything possible should be done, including on the Japanese mainland, to alleviate the burden of bases on Okinawa. As part of this, Governor Nakaima of Okinawa Prefecture requested the termination of operations at Futenma within five years. As this matter also involves the operations of U.S. Forces I would like to refrain from making any definitive statements. However, what I will say is that, as a means of responding to the request made by Okinawa Prefecture, the Government is also considering using Saga Airport on a provisional basis until facilities at Henoko are completed, assuming that we can gain the understanding of the United States. The Senior Vice Minister of Defense has also issued such a request to Saga Airport. At the same time, given that it is important for such deployments to be accepted on a nationwide basis from the perspective of alleviating the burden of bases on Okinawa, the Government is making requests to this end through the Ministry of Defense.


REPORTER: Our company and Fuji News Network conducted an opinion poll over the weekend, in which the approval rating of the cabinet stood at 45.6%. The approval and disapproval ratings were both the worst since the inauguration of the second Abe administration. What are your thoughts on this result and what do you consider to be contributing factors?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated repeatedly, it is better to have a higher rather than a lower Cabinet approval. However, what is most important for the administration is to move to implement the things we have pledged to the public and advance them earnestly. I believe that it is important to explain thoroughly to the public about the things that need to be done and then move them forward to implementation.

REPORTER: In a press conference following the cabinet meeting Minister of Justice Tanigaki made positive remarks about the introduction of a new so-called crime of conspiracy. Is the Government considering the submission of related draft bills to the extraordinary Diet session in the autumn?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan is a signatory to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and it is extremely important for the Government to work in cooperation with the international community in fighting and preventing terrorism and organized crime. To that end it cannot be denied that legislation is required in order for Japan to fulfil its obligations under the convention. However, although this is a matter that is being considered under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, it is important that careful and comprehensive considerations should be made, based on the various discussions on this issue that have taken place to date.

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