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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 26, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. With regard to the possibility of a Japan-ROK summit meeting, which is currently being coordinated by the governments of Japan and ROK to take place at the same time as the Japan-China-ROK trilateral summit meeting, there are some press reports that suggest that President Park Geun-hye is demanding that Prime Minister Abe indicate remorse concerning the comfort women issue. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not received any report about this matter and there is no factual basis to the press reports.

REPORTER: If that is the case, is there no change to the Government’s frequently stated position on holding a summit meeting, namely that there should not be any pre-conditions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no change whatsoever. Given that Japan and the ROK are neighboring countries, we share difficult bilateral issues, but our door is always open for dialogue and the Prime Minister believes that it is precisely because difficult issues exist that a summit meeting should be held.


REPORTER: On a different topic, an institute affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK has conducted a survey directed at experts in the ROK about the ROK’s diplomacy and security. Almost 90 percent of all experts surveyed responded that the ROK should improve relations with Japan, and 66 percent, or almost 70 percent responded that security cooperation should be separated from the so-called comfort women issue and advanced. The results of this survey are different from the concept of the Government of the ROK, which has repeatedly demanded an apology on the comfort women issue. Can I ask for your opinion on the results of this survey?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The ROK has historically been and currently is an extremely important neighboring country for Japan, and one with which we share fundamental values such as freedom and democracy. In that sense, the Government will make efforts to ensure that the various exchanges between our two countries are continued so that friendly relations can be further developed.

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