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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 12, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Vice-President Masahiko Komura of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who is visiting Russia, is scheduled to hold talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov today and with Chairman of the State Duma Sergey Naryshkin tomorrow. The Government is aiming to swiftly resolve the Northern Territories dispute. In this regard, what are the Government’s expectations for Vice-President Komura’s visit to Russia? Can you please share your opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as Chairman of the non-partisan Japan-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association, LDP Vice-President Komura is actively engaged in parliamentary exchanges between Japan and Russia. Against this backdrop, the Vice-President is visiting Russia from January 10 to 13. I understand that he is scheduled to hold meetings with Chairman of the State Duma Naryshkin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and others. It is anticipated that a variety of issues will be discussed, including bilateral relations. I of course expect that a clear direction will be presented in the context of the Japan-Russia friendship and in the course of the parliamentary exchanges.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It is being reported that on a recent episode of Nichiyo Toron (Sunday Debate) on NHK, Prime Minister Abe expressed his desire to visit Russia in response to Mr. Putin’s invitation. Is the Government studying the possibility of realizing Prime Minister Abe’s swift visit to Russia? Could you please explain the status of the Government’s efforts to this end?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, Russia has an extremely significant presence in terms of the issues facing the international community, such as terrorism, as well as the situations in Syria and the rest of the Middle East, North Korea, and Ukraine. In this regard, it is vital to have Russia’s constructive engagement. With respect to the summit meeting, it is a fact that the two sides have agreed to continue holding summit meetings and will be exploring various opportunities for summit dialogues. As of now, nothing more than that has been decided.


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