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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, October 10, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The report on the First Secretary of the North Korea
  • The legislation regulates the financial transactions of international terrorist in Japan
  • The issue of Senkaku Islands
  • The guidelines of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

REPORTER: Kim Jong-un, First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) of North Korea, has not been reported on by the state media for 36 days. Before this, 23 days had been his longest absence. There have also been no reports of the event that was held on the anniversary of the founding of the WPK. In a sense, this situation is unprecedented. What is your view on this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Has there been no activity for that long? In any case, the Government is collecting a variety of information and conducting analyses on North Korea in particular. Nevertheless, I would like to refrain from commenting on the details due to the nature of this matter.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Is there any connection between the First Secretary’s lack of official activities and Japan’s decision regarding the dispatch of Japanese Government officials to Pyongyang?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the investigations of Japanese nationals, including victims of abduction, the Japanese Government is strongly urging North Korea to conduct the investigations swiftly and report the results to Japan, based on the recognition that the abduction issue is a foremost priority of the Japanese Government. In this context, the Government will determine its course of action after examining various circumstances.

REPORTER: Related to this, I would like to confirm something about the reinvestigation of the abductions. The written answer in response to a letter of questions by House of Representatives member Takako Suzuki, which was decided by the Cabinet today, sets forth that during the Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations in May and July of this year, the two sides had not agreed on the exact date by which North Korea would report the results of the investigations to Japan. Does that mean that there was no agreement between the two sides concerning the first report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is correct. In view of the remarks I had made as Chief Cabinet Secretary about how the investigations should be completed within one year rather than allowing them to become excessively protracted, North Korea stated during the Japan-North Korea Government-level consultations held in Beijing in July that it would conduct the investigations swiftly. Furthermore, North Korea said it hoped to finish the investigations as quickly as possible from the viewpoint of executing the Japan-North Korea agreement in good faith. Subsequently, in September, North Korea notified Japan that it aimed to complete all of the investigations in around one year. Japan had received such explanations from North Korea, but from the beginning, no specific deadline was concreted.

REPORTER: Is it correct to understand that Japan and North Korea agreed that the investigations would take over a year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No. Initially, no deadline was set. I had stated that the investigations should not become excessively protracted and that a deadline needed to be set. I therefore said within one year. Accordingly, the Japanese Government requested this deadline to North Korea. And during the negotiations, North Korea said that it aimed to complete the investigations in around one year. 

REPORTER: My apologies for repeating the same question, but is it therefore your understanding that a deadline had not been agreed upon between the two sides?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Well, it depends on how one interprets it. In any case, there is no mistake that North Korea explained that it aimed to complete the investigations in around one year.

REPORTER: There are media reports alleging that Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Kaoru Hasuike, a former abductee, held a meeting late last month. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has always sought to maintain close communication with the relevant parties, including former abductees and the families of abductees. It is true that such meetings are held. However, I would like to refrain from disclosing who met whom and other such details.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the new legislation decided by the Cabinet today that regulates the financial transactions of international terrorists in Japan. I gather that this was part of efforts to develop legislation for combating terrorism together with the international community. What aspects will be taken into consideration for the appropriate execution of the law, including the issue of the designation of terrorists?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we drafted the two bills that you noted based on the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The recommendations were made this June during the intergovernmental meeting that the FATF held to strengthen measures for preventing money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The bills were submitted to the Diet in order to enhance customer due diligence requirements and deal with challenges, such as the freezing of international terrorist assets. The bills take into account United Nations Security Council resolutions and recommendations made by the FATF. The Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act regulates the overseas transactions of international terrorists. The bills in question simply complement the Act by introducing regulations for the domestic transactions of terrorists, which are unregulated by the Act. Anything beyond that, such as unlimited designation of international terrorists, would be impossible.

REPORTER: Yesterday, Chairman Nikai of the General Council of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) appeared on a TV program. In regard to the Senkaku Islands issue, Chairman Nikai said that with the wisdom of Japan and China, they should be able to put aside the issue, during which time the two sides should naturally be able to find the energy to resolve the issue. Chairman Nikai also said that the respective leaders are capable of making such decisions. What is your reaction to this if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media reports. However, the position of Japan is that there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. This has been our consistent position. There exists no issue that was or should be shelved between Japan and China concerning the Senkaku Islands.

REPORTER: If I may confirm with you. I was not really sure if Mr. Nikai meant “shelve” when he said “put aside.” In any case, are you saying that the Government will never shelve or put aside this issue, including at a Japan-China summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The position of the Government has been consistent.

REPORTER: Today, I understand that the General Council of the LDP approved the guidelines of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets and its relevant cabinet order. With this decision, will the Government be arranging to have the Cabinet decision approved on the 14th?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been briefed that approval was given at the meeting of the General Council today. With this decision, as you just stated, the Government is now moving forward with the necessary procedures with a view to having a Cabinet decision approved on the 14th. Whether or not a Cabinet decision will be approved is undecided. At any rate, this is what we are aiming for.


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