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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 13, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Japan-ROK relations
  • The UN’s 2015 Review Conference for NPT

REPORTER: Today, President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) held a meeting with Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, Chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). During the meeting, she expressed her expectation that a Japan-ROK summit would be realized in the near future and did not mention anything about issues of the understanding of history and comfort women. This would appear to suggest a change in the stance taken by the President to date. What is your opinion on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I just heard a report about this meeting myself. In any event, it is the Government’s hope that through opportunities such as the current visit by the Keidanren delegation to the ROK, private sector economic exchanges between Japan and the ROK will be further invigorated.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan-ROK relations. The National Assembly of the ROK has adopted two resolutions. One denounces Prime Minister Abe for his address to the joint meeting of Congress in the United States and for his words and actions related to the understanding of history, including the comfort women issue. The second criticizes the moves by the Government of Japan to recommend sites of Meiji Japan’s industrial revolution for World Heritage status. Can I ask for your thoughts concerning the adoption of these two resolutions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government’s understanding of history is exactly what has been repeatedly stated to date. With regard to the Prime Minister’s address to the joint meeting of Congress, you are all aware of the words he used and his address was widely praised in the United States. It is truly regrettable that the National Assembly of the ROK passed such a resolution without consideration of these facts. Furthermore, it must be said that to specifically name the prime minister of a friendly nation in such a resolution is discourteous and the Government of Japan cannot accept such a resolution at all. With regard to the matter concerning World Heritage inscription, Japan recommended the sites in the belief that, as sites of Japan’s industrial revolution from 1850 to 1910, they represent outstanding universal value. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an expert advisory body to UNESCO, has approved the recommendation, recognizing that the sites are appropriate for inscription as World Heritage. Accordingly, I do not think that the ROK should attempt to introduce political assertions into such a matter.


REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Following a complaint made by China, text has been dropped from a draft outcome document of the United Nation’s 2015 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) that called on global leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The reason given by the Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs for the deletion of the text was that Japan is trying to portray itself as a victim rather than as a victimizer. What is the view of the Government on this matter and what response will be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the press reports on this matter. The proposal was made based on the perspective that touching directly on the realities of nuclear bombing and sharing with other nations Japan’s desire for a world free from nuclear weapons would contribute to the promotion of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. This is the reason for the proposal that calls on political leaders and young people around the world to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, locations affected by nuclear weapons. The proposal itself bears no relation to historical issues whatsoever and I therefore find it extremely hard to understand why such actions (to delete the proposed text) have been taken.


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