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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 5, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The attack on the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
  • Chinese economy
  • The relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko

REPORTER: Mr. Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK), was slashed in an attack this morning. The man arrested in relation to this allegedly claims to be a leader of a group that asserts the ROK’s sovereignty over Takeshima. Could I ask you to comment on this incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First and foremost, we strongly condemn this act, which can never be condoned. Our deepest sympathies go out to the U.S. Government and to Ambassador Lippert who suffered this attack. We understand that a rigorous investigation will be carried out in the ROK.  

REPORTER: I have a related question. Recently, Ms. Wendy Sherman, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs, remarked that the ROK, China, and Japan were all responsible for the issues of historical understanding in the three countries. Some in the ROK have suggested that Ms. Sherman’s remarks motivated today’s attack. What is your opinion in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from answering this question. Our view is that violence cannot be tolerated for any reason.

REPORTER: On the issue of security, is the Government taking any measures to ensure the security of Japanese Embassy and Japanese nationals living in the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the Government’s measures, the Embassy has sent out a warning to Japanese residents. We have also requested that the ROK Government strengthen the security.

REPORTER: This morning, a session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of China was opened. During the meeting, it was announced that China would raise its economic growth target for the first time in three years. How does the Japanese Government perceive this?


REPORTER: The target.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China has the world’s second largest GDP. China is an important neighbor for Japan, with which we enjoy close economic relations. As Chinese economic trends have a significant impact on the entire world, the Government will closely follow the policies presented during the meeting of the NPC, which started today.

REPORTER: My question also concerns China but is about its budget. China’s 2015 defense budget was formally announced. For the fifth consecutive year, the budget saw a double-digit increase. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China’s defense spending has seen consecutive double-digit increases compared to the previous year. The Government will closely monitor these trends as well. The whole world, including Japan, is watching to see whether China further increases the transparency of its defense policies, including its defense spending, and that of its military forces. Through security dialogues and exchanges, Japan will urge China to increase the transparency of its defense policies.   

REPORTER: I have a question related to the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko. In connection with Minister of Defense Nakatani’s comment the other day about wanting to start the land reclamation work as early as this summer, Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture noted at yesterday’s prefectural assembly meeting that preliminary consultations between Okinawa Prefecture and the Government were needed before the construction work gets underway. The preliminary consultations were identified as a point of consideration when Mr. Nakaima, preceding Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, approved the land reclamation. From the Government’s perspective, how are the preliminary consultations positioned in relation to the land reclamation work? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in late 2013, then-Governor Nakaima approved the land reclamation application necessary for the Henoko relocation. As Japan is a law-abiding country, this approval was made in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. As such, this work will proceed steadily as scheduled. The Government will continue to carry out the various processes, including the offshore boring survey, and apply the most optimal method, while giving full consideration to environmental conservation. 

REPORTER: I have a related question. Could I confirm with you whether this means that, at these preliminary consultations, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture cannot exercise authority to stop the land reclamation work? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I find that inconceivable.


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