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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 13, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: I understand that from two days ago to yesterday, an intelligence collection vessel of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China conducted abnormal operations in the East China Sea near the Senkaku Islands. Can you please explain the Government’s measures in response to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, two days ago, at around 5 PM, Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel confirmed one PLAN intelligence collection vessel sailing in a western direction in waters outside of the contiguous zone south of the Senkaku Islands. It has been confirmed that subsequently, this intelligence collection vessel repeatedly navigated east to west and west to east in the same waters until around 7 PM on the 12th. It is abnormal navigation for a PLAN intelligence collection vessel to not simply transit the vicinity of the contiguous zone of the Senkaku Islands, but to repeatedly navigate east to west and west to east in a single day. In this case, the Ministry of Defense monitored the PLAN intelligence collection vessel to constantly track its movements and shared this information within the Government.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I have a question regarding Japan-ROK relations. President Park Geun-hye agreed to a written interview with Kyodo News and other news agencies. With regard to the “comfort women” issue, the President expected the Japanese Government to promptly present a solution that is acceptable not only to the affected people but to the people of the Republic of Korea (ROK). What is the view of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, during the recent summit meeting, it was agreed that, recognizing the implications of the comfort women issue on the development of Japan-ROK relations and taking into account that this year is a milestone year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, the two sides would continue to hold consultations to swiftly conclude the discussions on this matter. On this basis, the Director-General level talks were held.

REPORTER: The President’s response was to the effect that the Japanese Government is requested to promptly present a solution. What is your comment in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no change at all to Japan’s position that this issue has been settled legally. In this context, however, it is a fact that this issue is in effect hindering Japan-ROK relations. Therefore, Director-General level talks were held under these circumstances. As the leaders agreed to hold talks towards concluding the discussions as much as possible, efforts are now being made accordingly.


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