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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 3, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: Moments ago, during the meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, Mr. Nishimuro, Chair of the Advisory Panel for the Prime Minister’s statement marking 70 years after World War II, seems to have stated that the Advisory Panel would aim to submit its report by this July. Am I correct in assuming that the Government shares the same recognition?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I gather that the timing will be finalized among the members of the Advisory Panel.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the meeting between you and Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture. A short while ago, during the Budget Committee meeting, you said that you would be meeting the Governor in the near future. In response to the same question, Minister of Defense Nakatani stated that the Government hopes to start the reclamation work in Henoko by around this summer. Do you plan to meet Governor Onaga by this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I suspect it will happen by around this summer.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Will you be the one approaching Governor Onaga to arrange a meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, I meant if a meeting was requested.

REPORTER: My question concerns Okinawa. In responding to the same question at the Budget Committee meeting, you stated that the administration would make efforts to have its views understood by the Governor. Do you deem that you will ultimately be able to obtain Governor Onaga’s understanding on the Henoko relocation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The relocation to Henoko is the only viable solution to remove the dangers posed by Futenma Air Station, rather than allowing it to remain at its location indefinitely. It is Futenma that is the source of this issue. Under these circumstances, 16 years ago, the relocation plan agreed upon by the local mayor and governor was approved as a Cabinet decision. This was almost 17 years ago now. And two years ago, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture gave his permission for the land reclamation in connection with the Cabinet decision. Therefore, the Government will steadily proceed with the construction work in accordance with this permission. This remains completely unchanged. We will explain this repeatedly in seeking the understanding of Governor Onaga. 


REPORTER: I would like to confirm what you said in your response during the Budget Committee meeting. My question is about the verification committee in relation to the Government’s response to the incident involving the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). You explained that five experts would be conducting the verifications. Have the members already been decided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have already spoken with the five individuals. We are making the final arrangements. Some people have agreed, while some have not yet agreed. So we are in the midst of making the final arrangements. We anticipate five individuals to be installed as members.

REPORTER: From around when will the verification committee hold a meeting with these experts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The meeting will take place in the near future. This time, we are conducting the verifications through a two-step process. As the first step, we believe it is necessary as a procedural matter to study whether the Government was able to truly learn from the findings and lessons obtained by the verification committee for the incident in Algeria. During this stage, it is foreseeable that the verification committee would hear the opinions of experts. What is different from last time is that this time, the incident is a highly confidential one. Therefore, it is important that the experts participate in the committee meetings upon ensuring that they maintain confidentiality. By this I mean that they maintain duties of confidentiality. The experts will participate after they have been made subject to the same duties of confidentiality as public servants.

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