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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue of the abductions
  • The Japan-China relations
  • The possibility of having a TPP ministerial meeting

REPORTER: What reports have you received so far regarding the consultations on the abduction issue being held in Pyongyang?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that the Special Investigation Committee is conducting comprehensive investigations on all Japanese nationals, including not only victims of abduction and other missing persons, but also the issues of the remains of Japanese nationals, the Japanese nationals left in North Korea, and the issues of Japanese spouses. Japan will deal with these issues appropriately based on North Korea’s initiatives. In this context, Japan has repeatedly stated that the resolution of the abduction issue is an absolute priority.

REPORTER: A related question. I believe the consultations have resumed for the afternoon session. After this morning’s session did you receive any reports in particular from the Japanese delegation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: According to the agenda of this morning’s session, the two sides were scheduled to discuss the issues of remains and Japanese spouses. We have not been briefed on these matters.  

REPORTER: I have a related question. Although the consultations have not totally finished yet, can you tell us what explanations North Korea has given so far regarding the investigations on the victims of abduction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have not received any reports on this. We will receive a detailed report after the delegation has returned to Japan.

REPORTER: Regarding the consultations, there are media reports circulating that North Korean authorities questioned a Japanese reporter who is traveling to North Korea to report on the consultations. The reporter was allegedly questioned over the content of her reporting. While I realize that Japan and North Korea have a different sense of values, what is your view regarding North Korea’s action? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I have been informed that during the morning of today, October 29, a reporter travelling with the government officials who were dispatched to Pyongyang was questioned at the request of North Korea, in the presence of an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. I understand that the questioning has already finished. In any case, the Government is not in a position to know what North Korea’s intentions were in carrying out this terrible deed. The Japanese Government will of course lodge a protest against North Korea on what we deem should be protested. That is a given.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the issues of the remains of Japanese nationals which you touched upon earlier. During this morning’s session, the North Korean side explained that it was conducting full-scale investigations on the issues of the remains of Japanese nationals based on the request of the Japanese Government. What are the Japanese Government’s expectations for North Korea on how it deals with the issues of remains?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: During the breakout sessions, the Japanese side is making requests to North Korea regarding the issues of remains and Japanese spouses. During these sessions, the Government is of course requesting North Korea to fully investigate the locations of the remains and other such matters.  

REPORTER: A related question. What kind of cooperation will Japan seek from North Korea on the issues of the Japanese nationals left in North Korea and Japanese spouses? What is the position of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japanese Government will of course request North Korea to investigate what we seek to know.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to a matter which also came up during this morning’s press conference. Former Prime Minister Fukuda is scheduled to hold talks with President Xi Jinping at 5 pm today. You explained that the Japanese Government is not aware of the details. However, what are the Government’s expectations for such meetings helping to realize a Japan-China summit meeting at next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To be honest, the Government is not aware of the details. (Former) Prime Minister Fukuda is visiting China in his capacity as Chairman (of the Boao Forum for Asia). I believe it is a good thing that talks will take place.


REPORTER: Changing the topic, I have a question regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Minister Amari vowed that a TPP ministerial meeting would be held on the 8th of next month to coincide with the APEC meeting in Beijing. An Economic Leaders’ Meeting will also be held during APEC, for which the leaders of the TPP partners will be gathering together. Is it possible that the TPP negotiations will be concluded on this occasion? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am, first of all, aware that Minister Amari commented on a ministerial meeting. However, in any case, my understanding is that the meeting is currently being arranged among the various countries. I do not know what will happen specifically. I gather that the final arrangements are now being made.


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