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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 7, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Japan-ROK relations
  • The prospect of a statement on the 70th anniversary of the end of World WarⅡ
  • The issue of the National Security Secretariat

REPORTER: It is being reported in the Republic of Korea (ROK) media that Korean members of the ROK-Japan Parliamentarians' League from both ruling and opposition parties are scheduled to visit Japan next week, with arrangements being made for a meeting with Prime Minister Abe. What are the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of such a visit, although nothing has been decided with regard to a courtesy call on the Prime Minister.

REPORTER: Can you confirm that the visiting parliamentarians have requested such a meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I don’t believe that a request has been received for a meeting. At any rate, I am not fully aware of all the details.

REPORTER: With regard to the prospect of a statement by the Prime Minister on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the spokesperson for the United States State Department indicated that the United States welcomes Prime Minister Abe’s positive message on history issues and Japan’s postwar contributions to peace. This could be viewed as an adjustment of the previous day’s statement in which the spokesperson suggested that the Murayama Statement should be maintained. Has the Government of Japan had an opportunity to explain its stance and intentions with regard to such a statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has made no such moves, given the fact that the Government’s view on this matter remains unchanged. The United States understands our position and therefore I believe that the spokesperson was reiterating this understanding.

REPORTER: On a related note, the spokespersons of China and the ROK have also made comments that those countries too are watching the situation with regard to statements relating to the end of the war. What kind of statement will the Government make, in view of the high degree of interest from the international community?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister stated in his recent press conference, over the 70 years of the post-war period, Japan has built up a nation that is democratic, protects human rights and respects the rule of law, while feeling deep remorse regarding World War II. The Prime Minister also noted that Japan has gone through the post-war period as a peace-loving nation that has made significant contributions to the peace and development of the Asian region and the world. There is absolutely no change to Japan’s desire to continue to make further contributions under the banner of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” a policy that has been highly regarded by many countries.

REPORTER: On January 6, Senior Secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security of the ROK referred to the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the ROK. The secretary stated that efforts should be made to separate the issues of the understanding of history and security cooperation, and for relations between the two countries, which have broken down, to be restored. This comment chimes with comments you have made previously about not making the comfort women issue a political issue. Can I ask for your views on the comments made by this ROK official?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: If it is the case that such a comment has been made, the Government of Japan’s existing position on the comfort women issue remains unchanged, and we have been stating that we do not wish to make the issue a political or diplomatic one. In that sense, I would like to welcome such a comment. As Japan and the ROK are neighboring countries that should work together on issues such as North Korea for the peace and stability of the region, I believe it is extremely important for the two countries to move forward with various cooperative efforts through a process of consultation over diplomatic and other concerns.


REPORTER: Today marks exactly one year since the establishment of the National Security Secretariat, which is the secretariat of the National Security Council (NSC). In a supplementary resolution of the House of Representatives, it was determined that consideration would be given to creating the measures necessary to compile minutes of meetings of the NSC. What is the current status of these considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the same manner as other ministerial level meetings, there are guidelines in place concerning the management of administrative documents relating to NSC meetings. It is based on these guidelines that the detailed agenda for each meeting, an overview of comments and the names of the persons making the comments, and the conclusions of the meeting are recorded in the form of NSC meeting summaries.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Is there a possibility that such records will be made public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is a fact that the records of the meetings contain references to specially designated secrets. The records are being kept in accordance with the guidelines on managing administrative documents.

REPORTER: If that is the case, although minutes in a strict sense may not be compiled, can we assume that records are being kept that would enable the reader to understand the overview of the meeting content?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, the detailed agenda and the names of speakers and an overview of their comments are necessary for future generations, and records for this purpose are being properly kept.


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