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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 10, 2015 (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 18 general and other measures, a cabinet order, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning the Development Cooperation Charter and the signing of the Agreement between Japan and Mongolia for an Economic Partnership, among other matters.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement concerning the report on the results of agricultural, forestry and fishery product and food product exports in 2014.

Today, the Cabinet meeting decided on the revisions to the Implementation Plans for International Peace Cooperation Assignments, which were deliberated and decided by the National Security Council. Accordingly, the dispatch period of the Self-Defense Force engineering unit and other personnel to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) will be extended by six months. Peace and stability in South Sudan are priorities for the international community. As a responsible member of the entire international community, Japan considers collaborating with other countries to provide necessary assistance to South Sudan very meaningful.

From 5 p.m. today, the Cybersecurity Strategic Headquarters will hold its first meeting. In accordance with the Cybersecurity Basic Act, which fully entered into force in January of this year, the meeting is being held for the first time. In view of the increasing seriousness of cyber space security risks in recent years, the meeting is expected to discuss the way forward for establishing a new national strategy and inspecting the status of the efforts of each national administrative agencies.

During today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet gave its approval to inviting His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, for an Official Working Visit to Japan. His Highness the Emir will be in Japan from February 19 to 21. This will be His Highness the Emir’s first visit to Japan since acceding to the throne in 2013. Qatar has achieved rapid growth under the leadership of the youngest sovereign in the Gulf region, and is a moderate and dynamic Muslim state. Japan has been deeply involved in the development of Qatar, and there are high expectations for Japan’s technology and knowhow for human resource development and R&D in the years ahead. During the summit meeting between His Highness the Emir and Prime Minister Abe, the leaders are expected to follow up on the achievements of the Prime Minister’s visit to Qatar in August 2013 and discuss enhancing cooperation in wide-ranging sectors beyond energy. Prime Minister Abe and His Highness the Emir are also expected to exchange views regarding the current efforts for peace and stability in the Middle East.



REPORTER: My question concerns the Prime Minister’s statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Yesterday, Mr. Hagiuda, Special Advisor to the President of the Liberal Democratic Party, stated on a TV program that although there is talk among the ruling and opposition parties about reviewing the Prime Minister’s statement in advance, that is going too far. He expressed the opinion that preliminary consultations among the ruling parties were ill suited for the drafting of the statement. Do you view that the statement should take into account the opinions of intellectuals and be left to the discretion of the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on the remarks made by Mr. Hagiuda. The Prime Minister has thus far made it clear that the statement will communicate Japan’s remorse regarding WWII, the path Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation following WWII, and how Japan will contribute to peace in the world. The Government will be reviewing the content while listening to the opinions of intellectuals through holding meetings. At this point in time, I shall refrain from making speculative comments. In any case, the work will not begin until our discussions with intellectuals have started.       


REPORTER: The Investigation Committee which will investigate the Government’s responses to the Japanese hostage incident will be holding a meeting shortly. Can you first share with us your expectations for the Committee’s investigations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this study will be undertaken with the participation of the relevant ministries and agencies, with Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita serving as the Chair of the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee will ultimately compile a report on Japan’s crisis management in the Middle East, among other matters, which will reflect the opinions of intellectuals. Specifically, I expect that the investigation team will primarily study the Government’s system of initial response to the incident, information collection arrangements, coordination among relevant ministries and agencies, dissemination of information to the public, and, although the Prime Minister has already responded at the Diet, the Middle East policy speech that the Prime Minister delivered in Egypt.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the issue of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The Supervision and Evaluation Committee for the Specified Nuclear Power Facilities of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) expressed the view that the impermeable frozen soil walls would be unnecessary if the method of pumping up groundwater from the sub-drains is successful. It is said that the NRA will abandon the building of frozen soil walls unless the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) presents data showing that frozen soil walls are effective. What is your opinion on this matter?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was reported in today’s newspapers, and I learned about it from those reports. It seems that the reports are contrary to the facts. I understand that during yesterday’s meeting, the NRA did not express the opinion that the building of impermeable walls was unnecessary. A member of the NRA requested that TEPCO disclose thorough explanations. That was it. In any case, contaminated water measures are critically important and are an urgent matter. We deem that it is necessary to carry out preventative and multi-layered measures.



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