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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 8, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. I would like to ask a question similar to that which I asked this morning, concerning Japan’s assistance to Syria. In this morning’s press conference you stated that the Government has already announced the provision of funds through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Could you tell us by what means this project is being implemented and where it was announced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would ask you to refer your questions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for specific details. However, to the best of my knowledge, the project was announced on the UNDP website. In addition, my understanding is that this project has been listed on the UNDP website, where it is still available to view. As I mentioned previously, Japan is providing emergency humanitarian assistance that will providing electricity required for daily needs to the people of Syria, who have been placed in a tough environment. Turbine blades are essential for power generation and the Government considers that the provision of such parts is commensurate with emergency and humanitarian assistance.


REPORTER: I asked a question on this topic recently, but yesterday, in view of the seriousness of atmospheric pollution, the city government of Beijing, China, further raised its warning to the highest level for the first time. Due to climatic factors, it is expected that the pollution situation will continue for some time. I would like to ask about the impact of the pollution on Japanese nationals in Beijing and also on Japan itself.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that on December 7, the city authorities of Beijing issued a level 4 alert, indicating the highest degree of severity of atmospheric pollution. The Government is monitoring the atmospheric pollution situation in China from the perspective of the impact it may have on the health of Japanese nationals resident in China. Through our diplomatic missions, the Government is also making efforts to provide timely and appropriate information to Japanese residents in China. With regard to the domestic situation, currently no noticeable increase in the concentration of air pollutants has been measured, and according to a simulation model developed by the National Institute for Environmental Studies and others, it is not expected that the current increase in pollutant concentrations in China will have any significant impact on Japan. The Government will continue to monitor the situation.

REPORTER: Japan is providing technical cooperation to China, so given the current situation what kind of response is the Government considering? Will the Government strengthen its calls on China to engage in efforts to prevent atmospheric pollution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To date, various cooperative measures relating to the environment have been implemented among Japan, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Based on the experience of these measures, the Government seeks to also engage in cooperation relating to regional atmospheric pollution issues. In addition, through both trilateral policy dialogue among Japan, China and the ROK, and also cooperative projects between Japanese and Chinese cities, the Government will continue to cooperate with the Government of China and make calls for efforts to address issues of atmospheric pollution.

REPORTER: On a different topic, I have a question concerning whaling. Australian Foreign Minister Bishop and Environment Minister Hunt have issued a statement announcing that the Government of Australia will join 32 other countries to oppose the resumption of Japan’s research whaling program in the Antarctic Ocean. The statement by Australia is strongly worded, indicating that it will work to build international consensus against research whaling and will also explore options for further legal action. What is the Government’s response to this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government’s basic policy on research whaling is that it is implemented for research purposes based on international law and scientific evidence. The Government plans to implement research whaling in accordance with relevant international laws and taking into due account the judgment of the International Court of Justice in March last year. The concepts of Japan with regard to research whaling were conveyed clearly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to diplomatic missions in Tokyo, including that of Australia, yesterday. With the cooperation of all ministries and agencies concerned, the Government will continue to enhance its measures to seek to gain the understanding of the international community on this matter.

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