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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 24, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Prime Minister’s visit to China. As of now, what is the status of the considerations regarding the Prime Minister’s visit to China next month, which will coincide with the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the victory of China’s War with Japan on the 3rd of next month?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Prime Minister Abe will not be attending the ceremony hosted by China on September 3. This decision was made in light of the circumstances of the Diet and other factors. Japan hopes that the two countries can continue to set up opportunities for candid dialogue between the leaders on occasions such as international meetings to further deepen our bilateral relations.


REPORTER: My question concerns the talks between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea over the situation in the Korean Peninsula. It seems that the talks are still being held intermittently and are facing some hurdles. Can you please share with us the content of the talks that the Government is currently aware of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government is deeply concerned about the heightened tensions in the region due to North Korea’s shelling and other activities. We are closely following the contact between the ROK and North Korea with interest. North Korea should exercise self-restraint in provocative acts. We strongly hope that the recent developments between the ROK and North Korea will lead to the easing of such tensions. In any case, as for the Japanese Government, the Cabinet Secretariat and the relevant ministries and agencies are working together closely to make every effort to collect and consolidate intelligence. Japan will continue to work to collect intelligence and take responses with a sense of urgency, while coordinating closely with the United States and the ROK.


REPORTER: A short time ago, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia visited the Northern Territories. Can you please share your comments on this matter? What impact will this have on President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan, which is under review for realization by the end of the year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, this visit to Etorofu Island, an inherent part of the territory of Japan, by the incumbent Prime Minister of Russia is not compatible with the stance of the Government of Japan on the Four Northern Islands, and such an act hurts the feelings of the Japanese people. Therefore, it is a very regrettable act. Thus, that evening, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida summoned the Ambassador of Russia to Japan, and stressed the stance of Japan and lodged a protest. We are deeply concerned by the repeated unilateral actions by Russia in connection with the Northern Territories, and will strongly request the Russian side to take constructive actions for the deepening of Japan-Russia relations, including over the issue of the conclusion of a peace treaty.

REPORTER: How about the impact on President Putin’s visit to Japan by the end of the year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to President Putin’s visit to Japan by the end of the year, nothing has been decided at this moment in time. In any case, as I have been stating all along, I expect that this matter will be considered based on a comprehensive consideration of various elements.


REPORTER: In the early hours of today, an explosion and fire occurred at a U.S. Forces depot in Sagamihara City. Can you please tell us what the Government is aware of regarding the cause and the extent of the damage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, in the early hours, an explosion occurred and a fire broke out at Sagami General Depot, a U.S. Forces’ facility and area in Sagamihara City. I understand that this explosion and fire have not resulted in any injuries. I have been briefed that the U.S. Forces’ and local fire departments are working together to extinguish the fire and that it has been mostly extinguished. Such accidents cause anxiety to people living near the facilities of the U.S. Forces and are very regrettable. The Government of Japan has expressed its regret to the United States and urged the United States to provide further information, investigate the cause, and implement safety measures at the U.S. Forces’ facilities in Japan to prevent the recurrence of such a situation.


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