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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato



  • The former Prime Minister Mori’s visit to the ROK
  • The response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak
  • The issue of comfort women
  • The issue regarding North Korea’s reinvestigation on the abduction


REPORTER: May I ask you one more question? It is about a different matter. There were some news reports saying that former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori is set to hold talks with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and bring a letter from Prime Minister Abe. Can you confirm this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I understand that specific arrangements are currently being made for former Prime Minister Mori’s visit to the ROK. As to the letter that you just mentioned, nothing has been decided at this moment in time.


REPORTER: Yesterday, President Obama of the United States said in his address that the response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak was a national security priority. The President announced a large-scale response led by the U.S. Forces aimed at controlling the EVD outbreak. In his address, the President noted, “Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It’s spiraling out of control.” He also stated that hundreds of thousands of people could be infected and that the international community has the responsibility to act immediately. As such the situation is getting worse. Can you please share your comments on this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: The number of cases and deaths from this EVD outbreak to which you just referred will continue to increase, primarily in West Africa. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the EVD outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In light of this, Japan recognizes that it must take steady responses as a member of the international community. First of all, domestically, the Government is taking such measures as alerting people leaving and returning to Japan, and conducting health screenings of people arriving in Japan. Furthermore, as part of its international cooperation efforts, Japan has extended a total of US$5 million in financial assistance, emergency relief goods, and contributions to international organizations, among other forms of support. Japan has also deployed medical professionals and others as a personnel contribution. Japan will continue to coordinate with relevant organizations, including the WHO, to explore further options for cooperation to prevent an EVD outbreak in Japan as well as to prevent the spread of EVD in other countries.

REPORTER: ROK President Park Geun-hye spoke on the issue of “comfort women” in an interview with Reuters. She allegedly said, “What we wish to see is an apology to these victims as well as a courageous decision on the part of the Japanese political leadership to take measures to wholly restore honor to these comfort women victims.” May I ask you to comment on this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: As I am not aware of the content of this interview, I would like to refrain from responding to specific questions pertaining to this matter. In connection with this issue, the Japanese Government has stated from before that the issue of claims has already been settled between Japan and the ROK. We have also explained the series of responses that the Japanese Government has taken to date. The current position of the Japanese Government is as I just stated and is no different from our previous explanations.

REPORTER: Changing the subject, according to some news reports, the Government will hold a briefing regarding North Korea’s reinvestigation on the abduction issue for the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea as early as the day after tomorrow. Is this true? If so, can you please explain the meaning of holding a briefing at this timing, that is, while you are still waiting for the report on the reinvestigation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: First, we have no knowledge at all of what you mention. Secondly, North Korea launched the so-called Special Investigation Committee and has started its comprehensive and full-scale investigations on all Japanese nationals, including the Japanese nationals left in North Korea. We strongly urge North Korea to conduct the investigations in good faith and provide all information to us in an honest and sincere manner. Under such circumstances, Japan is carefully evaluating the progress of North Korea’s investigations.

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