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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The situation in Ukraine
  • Arrest of an assembly member from Aichi Prefecture
  • The list of training sites for Osprey aircraft

REPORTER: I have a question about the measures over the situation in Ukraine announced yesterday. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of Russia said in a press conference that he would like Japan to pursue an independent policy when it comes to international affairs, and that he hoped to develop a cooperative relationship with Japan. How do you interpret these comments, and how does the Government view this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe this is the Russian Foreign Minister stating his views. The Government would like to refrain from commenting on this.

REPORTER: I have an additional question. During the same press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov was asked about a visit by President Putin to Japan in autumn. In response, the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that if there was an invitation, Russia would accept it. What are your thoughts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regards to President Putin’s visit to Japan, nothing has been decided at present. Our basic view is that we would like to explore the possibility after comprehensive consideration of various elements.

REPORTER: Then, am I right to understand that the possibility of a visit still remains?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I said just now, nothing has been decided at present. We will review the matter after comprehensive consideration of various elements.

REPORTER: An assembly member from Inazawa City in Aichi Prefecture was arrested in China, and was indicted by Chinese authorities for drug smuggling. What is the Government’s view and response regarding this matter?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Drug crimes have been punishable by death in China recently. Such crimes have received very severe rulings not only in China, but also in the international community. I do not know about the facts in this case. Therefore, I would like to refrain from answering questions about the specific details of this matter. From the standpoint of protecting Japanese nationals abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as necessary, will offer support to the fullest extent possible, including visits by consular officials. 


REPORTER: There have been certain media reports that the Ministry of Defense compiled a list of five locations across Japan to evenly distribute training sites for the Osprey aircraft currently stationed at Futenma Air Station. Could you please share the facts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these reports. The Government is making every effort to alleviate the burden of bases placed on the people of Okinawa Prefecture. Of course, we have been considering, from various aspects, relocating such training exercises to different prefectures. However, specific locations have yet to be determined.

REPORTER: You noted that you are aware of the reports. Is it true that this list was created as part of the process of considering evenly distributing the locations where the Osprey aircraft will be stationed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has received various requests from across the country with regards to the measures to alleviate the burden of bases placed in Okinawa Prefecture. As such, it is true that we are examining various options. As I said earlier, no location has been decided with regards to today’s media reports, and we have yet to make any decision. In either case, the understanding and cooperation of the local community will be needed with regard to relocating these training exercises outside Okinawa Prefecture. Once a specific location has been decided upon, the Government will strive to provide detailed and careful explanations. Nevertheless, we have not yet to reach that stage at this point in time.

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