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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 19, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the simultaneous terrorist attacks that occurred in Paris on November 14, Japan time, on the evening of November 18, Japan time, the Embassy of Japan in Paris confirmed with the French authorities that no Japanese nationals were among the dead and injured. In close cooperation with France and the international community, Japan will continue in its efforts to prevent terrorism. With regard to domestic anti-terrorism measures, we will implement these with a stronger sense of security, and make every effort to ensure the safety of Japanese citizens who are overseas.


REPORTER: With regard to terrorism-related matters, you have previously stated that you would like to accelerate preparations for an international terrorism intelligence gathering unit. I think that the initial target was to establish such a unit by April next year. Is the Government planning to bring this date forward and if so, by when specifically is it expected that the unit will be established?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There has recently been a terrorist attack in Paris, in addition to which there was also the bombing of a civilian passenger aircraft. In view of these recent events the Government considers it to be of the utmost importance to strengthen intelligence gathering organizations. Accordingly, we are accelerating preparations so that an international terrorism intelligence gathering unit can be established at an early juncture. Careful consideration is being given to the exact timing of the establishment of such a unit and the specific details of its operations. In any event, the Government seeks to accelerate moves towards the establishment of the unit.


REPORTER: On a different topic, I have a question concerning the comfort women issue. I believe that in the recent Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting the two leaders agreed to aim to conclude consultations on the comfort women issue as promptly as possible. However, according to some press reports, as one of the conditions for reaching an agreement the Japanese side has demanded the removal of the statue commemorating the comfort women that stands in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the Japan-ROK summit meeting candid discussions took place between the two leaders on a number of issues between Japan and the ROK. With regard to the comfort women issue, both leaders concurred on instructing that they continue and accelerate the consultations in order to conclude them as promptly as possible, bearing in mind the fact that this year is the milestone year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations. With regard to further details that were discussed at the summit, as it has been agreed with the ROK side that no public announcements will be made, although there may be a number of press reports I would like to refrain from commenting on specific matters. What I would say is that based on the agreement reached between the two leaders, the director generals and other officials are continuing to discuss a variety of issues between Japan and the ROK, including the comfort women issue.

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