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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, October 16, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue concerning the Report of Special Repporteur Coomaraswamy
  • The issue of Senkaku Islands
  • The issue regarding the termination of operations of Futenma Air Station

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Report of Special Rapporteur Radhika Coomaraswamy concerning the issue of “comfort women.” According to some media reports, the Government has asked for the partial retraction of this report. Is this true? Also, there are some reports alleging that Ms. Coomaraswamy refused to retract the report. Can you please tell us whether the media reports are true?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to this matter, The Asahi Shimbun recently retracted past articles regarding the comfort women issue on the grounds that the articles were erroneous. Therefore, the Government explained the situation carefully to Ms. Coomaraswamy and asked that she revise the opinion that is presented in the report. This is true. At the same time, the Government explained to Ms. Coomaraswamy about the activities of the Asian Women’s Fund as well as Japan’s efforts to promote the human rights of women. In addition, the Government reaffirmed that Japan does not agree with the facts and legal discussion contained in the report and that Japan has reservations to the report.

REPORTER: I understand Ms. Coomaraswamy rejected the Government’s request.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My understanding is that Ms. Coomaraswamy said she could not agree to our revision request. Be that as it may, the Government will take advantage of appropriate opportunities, including opportunities at the United Nations Human Rights Council, to persistently explain Japan’s views in order to obtain the understanding of the international community.  


REPORTER: My question concerns the Senkaku Islands. Today, some parts of the media have reported that Japan is making arrangements for the Prime Minister to present a proposal to China on settling the dispute through inter-governmental dialogue, after confirming each other’s positions. Is this true? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no truth to the reports.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the termination of operations of Futenma Air Station. Yesterday, we reported that during the Japan-U.S. consultations on October 2, the U.S. Government raised objections to closing Futenma Air Station by February 2019. Do you have any comments or opinions regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture has repeatedly requested that the Government terminate operations of Futenma Air Station within five years. The Government fully acknowledges that this request represents the view of the people of Okinawa Prefecture and is working to do everything it can. This is the basic stance of the Abe administration. Given this position of the Japanese Government, we have repeatedly asked for the cooperation of the United States at various levels. In any case, the Government is working to swiftly move forward with the existing Japan-U.S. agreement on the plan for the realignment of the U.S. Forces, including the earliest possible relocation of Futenma Air Station.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It seems that during the consultations, the United States stressed that Futenma Air Station will be closed in 2022 at the earliest. That was one of the timeframes that was emphasized. Will the Japanese Government continue to insist on February 2019?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will of course do so. Who in the U.S. Government gave out this information? I would ask that you clearly confirm whether such remarks were made in an official capacity and who made this remarks, before making such statements.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the previous question. In connection with your comment, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command has said during an official press conference that at least he himself has not received Japan’s five-year proposal. Such official comments have been made. Nevertheless, based on what you have just said, is it correct to understand that the Japanese Government has communicated its request to the United States at various levels? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, the two Governments are of course negotiating this matter.


REPORTER: If I may, I would like to check with you once again. Does the Government’s traditional position on the Senkaku Islands remain the same? In other words, is it the Government’s position that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan and that there exists no territorial issue concerning the Senkaku Islands?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our position has not changed at all.


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