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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 13, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 20 general and other measures, draft bills, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning Japan's Official Development Assistance White Paper 2014 and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning personnel affairs relating to the heads of national university corporations.

At today's Cabinet meeting, approval was given to invite to Japan H.E. Mr. Pedro Passos Coelho, Prime Minister of the Portuguese Republic, on an Official Working Visit. Prime Minister Passos Coelho will arrive in Japan on March 26 and stay until March 28. This is the first visit to Japan by a serving Portuguese Prime Minister in 18 years, with the previous occasion being in 1997. This visit has been realized by Prime Minister Passos Coelho accepting a direct request from Prime Minister Abe to visit Japan at the time of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Portugal in May last year. Japan and Portugal share a history of exchange dating back more than 470 years, and both have developed as maritime nations. It is expected that this visit will provide an opportunity to deepen cooperation between Japan and Portugal in a wide range of areas, such as the maintenance of the maritime order, including freedom of the seas and piracy countermeasures, the contribution to the peace and stability of Asia and Europe, and the further strengthening of bilateral economic exchange.

Prime Minister Abe will attend the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that is scheduled to be held in Sendai from tomorrow, March 14, until March 15. More than 100 ministerial level delegates, including more than 20 leader-level delegates are scheduled to attend the conference. In addition to sharing with the international community the lessons that Japan has gained from many natural disasters during its history and disaster prevention technologies, the Government also intends to send out a message to the world about the current status of reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake and link this to the further revitalization of disaster-affected areas. At the conference, the Prime Minister will issue a statement concerning cooperation for disaster risk reduction and will also attend the Intergovernmental Segment on Mobilizing Women’s Leadership in Disaster Risk Reduction, where he will deliver a speech. In addition, the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold summit meetings with the many leaders attending the conference. For further details please direct your questions to the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



REPORTER: It would appear that China is considering a plan to hold a military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in a square close to Marco Polo Bridge, where the Second Sino-Japanese War started. There is a feeling that if this plan is actually implemented, it would turn into a major anti-Japanese propaganda event, using the 70th anniversary of the end of the war. What is the view of the Government concerning the fact that such a plan is being considered?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this matter relates to a domestic event in China and therefore I would like to refrain from making any comment about its content from a Government stance. If I were to say anything further, it would be to note that, rather than adopting a stance of emphasizing matters from 70 years ago, it is of extreme importance for Japan and China to develop future-oriented cooperative relations in response to the various issues that are currently being faced by the international community. It is from this perspective that Japan has already expressed its concerns about this matter to the Chinese side and will continue to gather information.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning comments made by former Prime Minister Hatoyama, who has visited Crimea. He stated that many Japanese people are inclined to side with the United States and that people have been brainwashed on the basis of mistaken information. He also stated that if his passport was revoked there is a possibility that he would relocate to Crimea. What is the Government’s reaction to these comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think these statements merit any comment. The person in question is often referred to as an “alien” and I have no idea on what basis he made these various statements or what his thinking was. However, the situation in Crimea is a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and an attempt to change the status quo by force. This is something that is unacceptable to Japan and it is only natural that attempts to change the status quo by force are also entirely unacceptable not only to the United States, but also to the countries of Europe and the world. For a person who has served as the Prime Minister of Japan to take such actions is thoughtless and rash in the extreme. I am dumbfounded by his actions and do not deem them worthy of any further comment.


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