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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 15, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to Japan-ROK relations. Last weekend, President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) sat down for an interview with The Washington Post. President Park stated that the talks with Japan on the “comfort women” issue have made considerable progress and are in the final stage. Did the Japanese Government make a new proposal of some kind? Does such a context underlie President Park’s remarks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, there are a variety of outstanding issues between Japan and the ROK, including the comfort women issue. These issues are being discussed at various fora, such as at the director-general level consultations, and Japan will continue to persistently engage in the consultations. It is not clear what President Park Geun-hye intended to say. In any event, the series of director-general level consultations that have been held thus far are diplomatic exchanges and their progress has not been disclosed. In this regard, I would like to refrain from making comments. 


REPORTER: North Korea has reported that a launch drill of a new type of missile was conducted. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of such news reports. As I always say, on a daily basis the Government vigilantly monitors North Korean activity related to missiles, and engages in intelligence gathering and analysis activities. In this context, I would like to refrain from commenting on individual pieces of intelligence, as this would reveal Japan’s intelligence gathering capabilities. It is the role of the Government to secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. Therefore, the Government is committed to steadily and constantly gathering such intelligence. 


REPORTER: The World Health Organization (WHO) and the ROK Government released the findings of their joint assessment of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). In the report, the WHO urges the ROK Government to continue its surveillance. However, as of June 14, 145 cases and 15 deaths have been reported. Given this situation, will Japan be making any changes to its responses? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I understand that the WHO and the ROK Government conducted a joint assessment of the status of the MERS outbreak and compiled their opinions on June 13. In light of the spread of the outbreak in the ROK, Japan has already enhanced its quarantine measures for those returning to or entering Japan from the ROK, and has taken steps to raise awareness of the response procedures for when suspected MERS cases emerge. Furthermore, in preparation for a possible outbreak in Japan, taking into account the opinions that were expressed at the emergency meeting of experts, local governments have already been instructed on how they should deal with people who come into contact with MERS patients, the views of hospitals, among other matters. While continuing to thoroughly implement such responses, the Japanese Government is collecting various information from the WHO and the ROK Government, and is working hard to ensure that we are prepared in the event of an outbreak.

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