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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 5, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The United Nations (U.N.), which marks its 70th anniversary this year, has proactively fulfilled its role thus far in areas such as dispute settlement, peacekeeping, poverty reduction, and universalization of human rights. Over the past 70 years, however, the international community has undergone significant changes. In the face of unprecedented crises, including terrorism, global warming, and infectious diseases, it is demanded that the U.N. transform into a stronger organization. In light of this, with this year marking a milestone year for the U.N., on March 16, the Government of Japan and the United Nations University will co-organize a symposium commemorating the 70th anniversary of the U.N. During the symposium, Prime Minister Abe will deliver a speech covering such topics as Japan’s contribution to the U.N. and Security Council reform. This will be followed by a panel discussion regarding U.N. reform and other issues. We believe that Prime Minister Abe’s delivery of a speech on such an occasion will serve as a key opportunity for Japan to demonstrate domestically and internationally its commitment to further strengthening Japan-U.N. cooperation.  


  • The attack on the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
  • The abduction issue
  • The concerning greenhouse gases

REPORTER: I would like to once again ask about the assault on the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK) which came up this morning. In the ROK, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman’s remarks have been construed as supporting Japan in the context of Japan-ROK relations. It was amid the consequent rising anti-U.S. sentiments that the attack took place. What is your outlook regarding the impact on U.S.-ROK relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this time, Japan is not in a position to comment on U.S.-ROK relations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. A stable U.S.-ROK relationship is presumably essential for implementing policies related to North Korea. Do you have any further comments in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no question that the trilateral Japan-U.S.-ROK relationship is very important. Against this backdrop, it is uncertain what impact the incident will have on U.S.-ROK relations and Japan-ROK relations. Japan will attach importance to the existing Japan-U.S.-ROK framework, while closely monitoring the situation surrounding this incident. 

REPORTER: In relation to the previous question, I would like to ask about the remarks made by Under Secretary for Political Affairs Sherman. In her address, the Under Secretary expressed the view that it was unconstructive for politicians to vilify a former enemy and exploit nationalist feelings. What is the Government’s view regarding the Under Secretary’s remarks?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as I have stated from before, a variety of issues exist between Japan and China and between Japan and the ROK because we are neighboring countries. Under these circumstances, it is important that the three countries unite to address their common challenges in a future-oriented manner for the sake of peace and prosperity in the region and the world, not needlessly bringing up the history of 70 years ago and taking a passive approach towards dialogue and cooperation. That is Japan’s view, and this view has been fully communicated to the United States and the ROK. Japan will continue to address these issues while obtaining the understanding of the United States.       

REPORTER: I have one more related question. The Under Secretary’s remarks were understood to be in favor of Japan and provoked a backlash in the ROK. How do you assess these developments? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This concerns the ROK’s understanding of the remarks, and I believe the Japanese Government is not in a position to comment on that.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to the abduction issue. Chief Cabinet Secretary, during today’s Budget Committee meeting, you expressed the view that the easing of Japan’s various sanctions against North Korea is out of the question, so long as there is no progress with North Korea’s reinvestigations of the abduction issue. Is it correct to understand that the Government is moving in the direction of extending the sanctions which are set to expire in April?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Rather, what I meant was that, as Japan and North Korea agreed that investigations would be conducted with the abduction issue as the foremost priority, nothing will move forward between Japan and North Korea without a clear and definitive report regarding the investigations.  

REPORTER: I have a question regarding greenhouse gases. Switzerland has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% relative to 1990 levels by 2030. It has been decided that parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, provided that they are able to do so, will submit their INDCs by March of this year. Recently, Switzerland became the first nation to submit its INDC. Around when does Japan intend to submit its INDC?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We intend to compile Japan’s draft post-2020 commitments as quickly as possible, taking into considerations factors including the activities of other parties at COP, the status of the discussions regarding the future framework, and the status of domestic considerations regarding our energy policy and the best energy mix. Today, a joint meeting of the Central Environmental Council and the Industrial Structure Council was held. The Government will conduct careful reviews through such discussions. In any case, the deadline for the submission of commitments is this December.  

REPORTER: Does that mean you are not insisting on submission by the end of March?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The deadline for submission is this December. Therefore, we will submit them as part of our thorough efforts to compile our energy policy and best energy mix.


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