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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 15, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question related to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). According to some news reports, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hase will attend the UNESCO General Conference to be held in Paris in early November and request improvements to the Memory of the World Register system. Is this true? If so, what is the objective? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, based on the situation, the Government intends to strongly urge UNESCO to improve its programme so as to prevent its utilization for political purposes and ensure the fairness and transparency of the programme. For its part, Japan is committed to realizing system reform for UNESCO’s programme. With regard to your question on the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s attendance of the UNESCO General Conference, this is currently under consideration. Nothing has been decided yet.

REPORTER: I also have a question concerning the inscription on the Memory of the World Register. Mr. Grigory Ordzhonikidze, Secretary-General of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, criticized Japan for submitting documents relating to internment in Siberia for inscription, describing it as an attempt to utilize UNESCO for political purposes. What is the response of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with respect to the inscription of Japan’s Siberia-related documents on the Memory of the World Register, our submission was made with the understanding and cooperation of Maizuru City’s sister city, Nakhodka in Russia. In this sense, the documents have worldwide importance from a broad perspective, and therefore, the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO nominated the documents. The fact that Japan made the submission in collaboration with Russia makes this a completely different case. In the case of the “Nanjing Incident,” Japan and China have entirely different claims. Documents of this nature were inscribed based on China’s unilateral assertions for political purposes. This means that something is wrong with the system. So, that is the situation regarding Russia.     


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