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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved two general measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning asset freezes and other measures against those considered to have direct involvement in the “annexation” of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and special status city Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, and in the destabilization of Eastern Ukraine; the Minister of Defense made a statement concerning the Defense of Japan 2014; and Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on overseas visits. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Mori and Prime Minister Abe made statements concerning the promotion of ministry efforts to facilitate women’s active role based on the Japan Revitalization Strategy revised in 2014.

Today, we adopted the cabinet understanding needed to implement the asset freeze and restrictive measures with regard to imports from Crimea and Sevastopol, which comprise the additional measures Japan announced on July 28 in response to the situation in Ukraine. Please take a look at the material distributed to you for an overview of the measures. For more information, please inquire with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) or other relevant ministries. Japan will continue to work towards a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the situation in Ukraine in coordination with the international community, including the G7 members.


  • The additional sanction with regard to situation in Ukraine
  • The approval of an interim report on new support measures for abductees
  • The issue regarding comfort women
  • The timing of the submission of the report of Special Investigation Committee

REPORTER: I have a question related to this topic of additional sanctions. Today, the Cabinet decided on the implementation of additional sanctions. At the same time, can you confirm that the Japanese Government will not be changing its stance of exploring opportunities for dialogue with Russia?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan obviously has no intention to change its basic stance.

REPORTER: Today, the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue approved an interim report on new support measures for abductees. Can you please explain briefly the content of the report as well as your assessment of the content?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At today’s meeting of the Headquarters for the Abduction Issue, the Headquarters approved an interim report regarding the system of supports to be provided to abductees and others affected by the abduction issue, which was compiled by the Liaison Board based on the discussions carried out by the ruling parties and other political parties. A study was conducted for three reasons, which are that the allowances received by the current recipients are set to expire at the end of FY2014, the savings and pensions of the former abductees who have returned to Japan and are nearing retirement age are insufficient, and there is a need to ensure that there are no gaps in the preparations being undertaken for the return of additional abductees to Japan. In light of this, the interim report is based on three pillars. These are the handling of existing allowances, new support measures for the post-retirement period, and measures taken in preparation for the return of additional abductees to Japan. We will be reflecting the content of the interim report in our budget request at the end of August. For measures that require the development of legislation, we will address this by revising the Act on Aid to Persons Abducted by North Korean Authorities and Other Relevant Persons by March of next year, with the cooperation of the ruling parties and all other parties.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. Does this mean that you are also considering the possibility that additional abductees may be returning to Japan in the near future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, there is a need to ensure that there are no gaps in the preparations being undertaken for the return of additional abductees to Japan. This was part of the reason that the study was conducted.

REPORTER: I have another question regarding the additional sanctions against Russia. I understand that you would like us to ask MOFA about the details. However, perhaps you can answer my question. The material lists the names of individuals whose assets will be frozen but does not specify the amount of the assets. How large an amount are we talking about?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For 40 individuals and 2 organizations, Japan decided to impose requirements of permission for capital transactions, including payments made to these individuals and organizations, in accordance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. As a cabinet understanding was adopted today, in accordance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, we will be receiving a report from financial institutions as to whether or not these individuals and organizations have bank accounts and so forth.

REPORTER: Can you tell us once again what criteria you used to select these individuals and organizations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government determined from a comprehensive viewpoint those considered to have direct involvement in the annexation of Crimea and destabilization of Eastern Ukraine, while taking into account those targeted by the U.S. and EU sanctions.

REPORTER: If I may I would like to ask a question with respect to this morning’s newspaper articles. Asahi Shimbun admitted that articles and other information it published based on the testimony of Mr. Seiji Yoshida regarding the forcible recruitment of comfort women in Jeju Island were erroneous and retracted them. I believe Prime Minister Abe has repeatedly criticized Asahi Shimbun over this matter, saying that its facts were wrong. After seeing the article in print do you have any comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government has just recently released a report regarding the results of an objective study on the drafting process of the Kono Statement. As I have stated to date, the Japanese Government will continue to carefully and persistently explain its position regarding the issue of comfort women. In any case, Japan desires that a correct understanding of history be established based on objective facts.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with the issue of comfort women. The seventh monument dedicated to comfort women in the United States was set up in Union City, New Jersey, and it seems that an unveiling ceremony was also held. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the establishment of comfort women sculptures and monuments, including this one, is at odds with the position of the Japanese Government and is extremely regrettable. The Consulate General of Japan there repeatedly expressed to those in Union City that the establishment of a monument is at odds with Japan’s views and facts. The Japanese Government took steps to explain in various ways its views and efforts in regard to the issue of comfort women to the members of the local assembly and local government, influential intellectuals and media, and others. Therefore, the establishment of the monument is extremely regrettable.    


REPORTER: My question concerns North Korea’s Special Investigation Committee for the investigation of the abductees. Some parts of the media are reporting that the Special Investigation Committee will be presenting its first report as early as the beginning of September. Furthermore, they are reporting that the Japanese Government is seeking information on the 12 abductees who have not yet returned to Japan as well as the 30 missing people whom it is especially strongly suspected were abducted. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have no knowledge at all about this.



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