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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 20, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


During today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an Official Working Visit to Japan of President Dilma Vana Rousseff of Brazil from December 2 to 4. During her visit, the President will make a State Call on His Majesty the Emperor of Japan, and His Majesty the Emperor will host a Court Luncheon in honor of the President. Prime Minister Abe will also hold a meeting as well as host a dinner for the President. This year marks the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil. Japan and Brazil have long deepened their friendly and cooperative relations as “strategic and global partners” in a range of areas, including United Nations Security Council reform. We expect that the visit to Japan of the President of Brazil will further enhance the ties and cooperative relations between the two countries.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting. Yesterday, during the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting held in Manila, in connection with the South China Sea issues, Prime Minister Abe stated to President Obama that the deployment of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would be “examined while taking into consideration the impact that situations have on the security of Japan.” The U.S. Government is seeking to gain the support of various countries for the United States’ “Freedom of Navigation Operation.” Is it all right to construe that in making his comment, the Prime Minister was expressing Japan’s proactive intention in response to the United States’ request for support?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, yesterday’s summit meeting was the first Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting that took place since the Prime Minister visited the United States in April nearly half a year ago. For a bilateral meeting held on the margins of a multilateral meeting, it was, in a sense, an unprecedentedly long meeting that lasted approximately 90 minutes. The two leaders agreed to coordinate the Proactive Contribution to Peace and the United States’ rebalance policy, and to make effective use of the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance affirmed at their previous meeting for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the international community. In addition, the leaders confirmed the importance of collaborating with countries that share fundamental values, such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, and discussed building with these countries a network in the region to realize peace and prosperity, with the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the linchpin. Furthermore, the leaders held candid and extensive talks in an open and frank atmosphere on wide-ranging themes, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the situation in East Asia, and cooperation at international fora. I perceive that the meeting was extremely meaningful in the ongoing process of taking the Japan-U.S. relations to even higher levels.

REPORTER: I have a related question. When the Prime Minister made the comment I referred to earlier regarding the deployment of the SDF, was the Prime Minister expressing Japan’s proactive intention in response to the United States’ request for support?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan supports the “Freedom of Navigation Operation” of the U.S. Forces. In addition, the Prime Minister conveyed that he opposes all unilateral actions that heighten tensions. Based on what I have been briefed upon, I understand the President commented that the United States would continue implementing the “Freedom of Navigation Operation” routinely. There are no plans for the SDF to participate in the U.S. “Freedom of Navigation Operation.” In addition, at this time, the SDF are not conducting continuous surveillance activities in the South China Sea, nor is there any concrete plan as such. To date Japan has proactively engaged in operations that contribute to regional stability, by which I mean providing assistance for building up the capacities of countries in the periphery of the South China Sea, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, and conducting joint exercises with the U.S. Navy. Our intention is exactly the same as before, that is, Japan’s activities in the South China Sea will continue to be examined closely while taking into consideration the impact that situations in the South China Sea have on the security of Japan.


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