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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved five general and other measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the allocation of fiscal 2014 special tax grants for December. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made statements concerning the designation of additional individuals and entities subject to the measures to freeze assets of those considered to be directly involved in the destabilization of the eastern part of Ukraine and concerning the emergency grant aid in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West African countries. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Minister Yamaguchi made statements, respectively, concerning the successful launch of asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 onboard the H-IIA F26 rocket. I made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on overseas visits, among other matters.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Justice made a statement concerning a request for renewing the period of the surveillance disposition of Aum Shinrikyo. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning the holding of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Cultural Ministers’ Meeting.

In view of the situation in some parts of Eastern Ukraine, where there has been an intensification of fighting and armed separatists have forced through “elections,” the necessary cabinet understanding was adopted today to implement measures to freeze assets of 26 individuals and 14 entities considered to be directly involved in the destabilization of Eastern Ukraine, mainly those affiliated with the “elections.” In addition, Japan has decided to take measures to stop issuing entry visas to such individuals. Please take a look at the list which has been distributed to you for the relevant individuals and entities. For more information, please ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Japan will continue to work with the international community, including the G7 countries, for the implementation of such measures against armed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, thereby arriving at a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the situation there.

Her Majesty Queen Fabiola, former queen of Belgium, passed away on December 5, 2014. A funeral will be held in Brussels, Belgium on December 12. Her Majesty the Empress of Japan will attend the funeral.


  • The issue of the situation in Ukraine
  • The issue concerning the land reclamation in Okinawa
  • The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets
  • The issue regarding the comments by Deputy Prime Minister
  • The issue of the House of Representatives elections

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the additional sanctions in response to the situation in Ukraine. Is my understanding correct that this was a cabinet understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, the Cabinet gave its consent so it is a cabinet understanding.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The European Union (EU) implemented additional sanctions on the 29th. Why did the Japanese Government decide on sanctions at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is something that is coordinated with the G7 countries. The United States is another country that had not yet announced additional sanctions. The EU already made its announcement. We have been working with the G7 countries, and this brings us to today.

REPORTER: I have a more specific question regarding this matter. You said that the measures would target mainly those affiliated with the “elections.” In this case, individuals who were not necessarily involved in the implementation of the “elections” are also included. Were individuals and entities designated in a slightly broader sense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In view of the situation in some areas of Eastern Ukraine, where there has been an intensification of fighting and forced “elections” on November 2, combined with the fact that this is also an area to which the G7 attaches importance, Japan decided to impose measures against armed separatists that are active in two provinces in Eastern Ukraine.

REPORTER: Sorry, one more question. I believe this is Japan’s fifth round of sanctions. How will these measures affect the Japan-Russia talks regarding the Russian President’s visit to Japan next year, at an appropriate timing, and the overall Japan-Russia relationship? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated, Japan decided to go ahead with the latest round of dispositions in coordination with the G7 countries. At the Japan-Russia summit meeting that was held on the sidelines of the recent APEC meeting, the two leaders decided to begin preparations for the realization of President Putin’s visit to Japan next year at an appropriate occasion. We are currently working out the exact dates. In any case, the timing will be decided based on a comprehensive examination of a variety of factors. In our view, the latest measures will not have any impact on President Putin’s visit to Japan.

REPORTER: When will the asset freeze and the entry visa ban take effect?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand they will take effect today.

REPORTER: Governor Nakaima of Okinawa Prefecture will leave office today amid fierce protests in Okinawa Prefecture over his approval of the land reclamation and subsequent approval of changes to the construction methods. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: During his time in office, Governor Nakaima made devoted efforts and achieved significant results, thinking in the interests of the happiness of all people in Okinawa Prefecture and its further promotion and development. For example, in the two years since we took over the reins of government, Okinawa’s employment rate has nearly doubled. Governor Nakaima worked hard for the revitalization of the entire Okinawa Prefecture, where jobs once were scarce. An additional achievement which I think is major is the following. We have decided to aim to complete the construction of a second runway at Naha Airport a year and a half earlier than scheduled. This was the outcome of the Governor’s persistent requests to the Government in the interests of Okinawa’s future. The Governor considered the airport as, in a sense, a lifeline for attracting visitors to Okinawa. In this regard, Governor Nakaima leaves behind him a record of truly remarkable achievements.

REPORTER: I have a related question. A few days ago, Governor Nakaima approved requests for changes to the construction work related to the land reclamation, which were submitted following the Governor’s approval of the land reclamation. What is your reaction to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I perceive that the Governor reviewed this matter and reached a conclusion during his term in office. Japan is a law-abiding country, and I deem that the Governor made his decision in keeping with the law.

REPORTER: I have a related question. With Governor Nakaima leaving office, Mr. Onaga, who opposes the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko, will be newly assuming office. How will the Government be dealing with the emergence of a governor who is against the relocation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will proceed to work with Mr. Onaga as we do with any other governor. That is all.

REPORTER: Mr. Onaga is against the relocation. What do you mean by “proceed to work with”?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: You said “against,” but the Government has not yet formally heard his concrete views in his capacity as Governor.


REPORTER: The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets will enter into force tomorrow. Can you please once again explain the significance of this legislation as well as the points that the Government will keep in mind in actually implementing the legislation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Ever since the Act was passed in December of last year, the Government has undertaken cautious and careful preparations for its entry into force while bearing in mind the opinions of the public, including holding meetings of the Council for the Protection of Information, establishing relevant cabinet orders and Guidelines, and conducting public relations activities. Following the Act’s entry into force tomorrow, the Government will implement the Act carefully and steadily report its enforcement status to the Diet so as not to undermine the people’s right to access information.

REPORTER: My question is in connection with this matter. One year has passed since the passage of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, which will enter into force tomorrow. There are opposing views to this legislation. Do you consider that sufficient public understanding has been obtained as of this moment in time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Diet deliberations were also conducted. Pursuant to the Act, and the Government will continue to work to obtain the public’s full understanding.

REPORTER: During a stump speech, Deputy Prime Minister Aso commented that it was a problem that people were not having children. Although Deputy Prime Minister Aso has apologized and clarified his remark, opposition parties have stepped up their criticisms, saying that it was arrogant and reflected the ruling parties’ ego at its highest level. What is your personal view, Chief Cabinet Secretary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe Deputy Prime Minister Aso explained his true intentions in a speech yesterday. The Deputy Prime Minister explained that what he meant was that it was important to create a society in which people who want to have children can do so with peace of mind, and that the Government needed to make utmost efforts to create such a society. Right now, the Abe Cabinet is working to provide childcare support. It is true that there is a shortage of childcare facilities and that there are people who want to have children but cannot because of social and economic circumstances. The Government recognizes that these issues cannot be neglected and is committed to solving these issues by taking all possible measures. I agree that this is the situation from the standpoint of a variety of perspectives, and I think Deputy Prime Minister Aso’s explanation says it all. It seems to me that opposition parties are, in a sense, just extracting this section and using it as part of their election campaign attacks. However, as the Deputy Prime Minister elaborated yesterday, I do not see any issues.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Deputy Prime Minister made his remark during the election campaign, a time when one has to be particularly careful with what he or she says, and as a result, the ruling parties have opened themselves up to attacks from opposition parties. How will this affect the election campaign in your opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think there will be any impact. I gather that citizens will calmly understand the explanation of the Deputy Prime Minister.

REPORTER: The media has reported that the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to win more than 300 seats in the House of Representatives elections, as indicated by polls conducted during the early- and medium-stage of the election campaign. Can you please share your reaction to this if you have any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making comments in my capacity as government spokesperson. However, I myself am one of the candidates. For those running in the elections, the better projections they get, the more they have to remain focused on their election campaigns. In a sense, this is common sense. As people’s votes are what counts at the end, candidates, including myself, received a letter from the Secretary-General and the Director-General of the Election Strategy Committee of the LDP urging us not to let our guards down and to steadily do what we ought to do without becoming swayed by such media reports. What counts at the end is the judgment rendered by the people. That is the bottom line.

REPORTER: You yourself have been traveling all over the country. What is the general impression you get from the electorate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My firsthand impression is that people’s expectations towards Abenomics are rising day by day.

REPORTER: I have a question in relation to a topic that came up earlier. A short while ago, you stated that the Government has not heard the views of the newly appointed Governor. As the Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa, will you be visiting Okinawa or setting up opportunities to listen to the views of the new Governor?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are still in the midst of the election campaign, and I do not know the outcome. I expect the LDP as a whole to address this matter after the election results are out.

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