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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, December 25, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The new Cabinet
  • The issue of the abduction


REPORTER: My question overlaps slightly with the previous question. The Abe administration is the seventh Japanese postwar administration that has lasted for three cabinets, and it is the longest-serving cabinet since the Koizumi administration. Some analysts say the Abe administration looks to stay in power for the long-term. Is there anything you will be mindful of, including how you will be running the administration?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in principle, we have been working persistently and tirelessly towards the goals we have set, and we will remain steadfast in this approach. At the same time, the quality of a cabinet is not determined by how long it serves. It is what the Government does for the people and what results the Government delivers that are of critical importance. We will proceed with this in mind while carefully explaining our intentions to the people and staying attuned to their needs.   

REPORTER: My question concerns North Korea. Until now, you have expressed the view that it was common sense for North Korea to submit its first report regarding the reinvestigations of the abduction and other issues by the end of the year. What is the current state of affairs?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When the two sides initially reached an agreement, North Korea told us, “from the end of the summer to the beginning of autumn.” In this context, a delegation of Japanese Government officials visited Pyongyang and made it clear to our counterparts, that is, North Korean officials with decision-making powers and with whom we can communicate, that the abduction issue is Japan’s absolute priority. That is the situation. With regard to our exchanges with the Special Investigation Committee, while nothing has been decided as of now, the Government has consistently requested that North Korea conduct the investigations as swiftly as possible and to report the results promptly and honestly to Japan. The abduction issue is the Abe Government’s foremost priority, and therefore, we will continue to make every effort to ensure that all victims of abduction return to Japan.    

REPORTER: At this present time, do you consider it unlikely that North Korea will notify Japan by the end of the year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The date has not been decided. Japan has continued to strongly request that North Korea report the results swiftly and honestly.

REPORTER: Half a year is already about to pass since the reinvestigations were started. It seems that they are behind schedule. What are the underlying reasons for this in your opinion, or what is your view regarding this? Also, internationally, awareness about North Korea’s human rights situation has heightened recently, including at the United Nations General Assembly. Do you perceive that these developments will cause North Korea to harden its stance or do you perceive that these developments will apply pressure on North Korea in a positive way?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Frankly speaking, I do not know. Japan will strongly request that North Korea swiftly investigate the items that it promised to Japan it would investigate, and to report the results promptly and honestly.

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