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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, December 19, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The joint statement issued by “2+2”Japan-U.S. Security Consultation
  • The issue of paper regarding STAP cells
  • The issue of Senkaku Islands in Okinawa
  • The issue concerning the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

REPORTER: Today, the “2+2” Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee issued a joint statement, which said that the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation would be postponed to the first half of next year. If I am not mistaken, the Government rushed to adopt the Cabinet Decision on Development of Seamless Security Legislation to Ensure Japan’s Survival and Protect its People because the Guidelines were going to be revised by the end of this year. Why did the revision have to be postponed?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the United States hereby agreed on the importance of ensuring consistency between the revision of the Guidelines and Japan’s legislative process and of ensuring the robust content of the revised Guidelines. On this basis, the two countries agreed to deepen the discussions further to work toward finalizing the revision during the first half of next year, taking into account the progress of Japan’s legislative process. In other words, the two countries agreed to ensure robust content, while maintaining consistency with Japan’s ongoing legislative process to allow for the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense.  


REPORTER: RIKEN’s press conference was still in progress during your press conference this morning, but now the results are out. Stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells could not be reproduced. Can you please share your comments with us? Also, with regard to RIKEN’s measures, do you think there are problems with RIKEN as an organization for not being able to detect the fraudulent practices? Do you have any regrets in this respect?      

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is deeply regrettable that the issue of the STAP papers has affected the credibility of not only RIKEN, but also of Japan’s research community as a whole. The Government understands that taking into account the recommendations made by outside experts, RIKEN has established a compliance headquarters under the direct control of RIKEN’s President and that RIKEN as a whole is committed to preventing fraudulent practices. In addition, the Government understands that RIKEN has established an action plan for restoring public trust, including by dismantling and starting anew the Center for Developmental Biology, and is working on its implementation. At the same time, it is also true that Japanese researchers continue to produce scientific achievements. For example, Dr. Masayo Takahashi of RIKEN, who became the first person in the world to successfully transplant cells using iPS cells into a patient, was selected as one of the ten people who mattered this year in science by Nature, the UK’s world-leading science journal. We hope that RIKEN will steadily undertake reforms in accordance with this action plan and other plans, and that RIKEN will get back on its feet and start afresh as a world-renowned research institute.                 

REPORTER: I have a related question. During next year’s ordinary session of the Diet, will you be submitting the bill for designating RIKEN as a special national research and development corporation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, it is first and foremost essential that RIKEN strives to steadily restore public trust in accordance with its action plan and other plans. I expect that it will not be until this is achieved that we will see any developments. In any case, it is now critically important that RIKEN fulfills its accountability and works to restore public trust.    

REPORTER: Changing the subject, this morning, two vessels of the China Coast Guard intruded in succession into Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. In November, Prime Minister Abe and President Xi Jinping of China held talks and shared the view that they would avert crises. Despite this, China has repeatedly taken such actions. What is your opinion regarding the current situation? Also, has the Japanese Government lodged a protest against China? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Japanese Government has lodged a protest. There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, as 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 the consistent position of Japan. Furthermore, during the recent Japan-China summit meeting, the two leaders agreed to work to improve bilateral relations by returning to the starting point of the concept of the “Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests.” It is deeply regrettable that Chinese Government vessels have intruded into Japan’s territorial waters despite these circumstances. That said, it is also true that we are beginning to see various developments. For example, as was announced yesterday, the two countries agreed to establish a hotline related to combating coral poaching. Japan hopes that China strictly adheres to such items that we have agreed upon. As before, the Japanese Government will take all possible measures to monitor the areas around the Senkaku Islands while working closely with the relevant ministries and agencies, based on a policy of protecting resolutely Japan’s territorial land, sea, and airspace.         

REPORTER: I have a question regarding a different matter. It is about the Commission on Intelligence Observation of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors that will check the execution of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets that was enacted on December 10. It looks as though the members of the Commission will not be selected during the special Diet session, and that at the earliest the Commission will start operating during the ordinary Diet session which will be convoked in January of next year. Although this is a Diet matter, can you please share with us your views on these delays?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was decided at the Diet that the Commission would be established at both Houses. This is a matter the Diet should deal with in an appropriate manner, and it is not for the Government to make comments.


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