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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 14, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have a question about the Japan-Russia summit meeting. Vice-President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Masahiko Komura has met with Speaker of the State Duma of Russia Sergei Naryshkin during his visit to Russia. There are reports that he conveyed Prime Minister Abe’s plan to visit Russia prior to the Ise-Shima Summit in May. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the Japan-Russia summit meeting at the G20 meeting, the two leaders agreed to continue dialogue at the summit level. The Government is seeking various opportunities for summit-level dialogue and nothing more concrete has as yet been decided.

REPORTER: I believe that Mr. Komura also conveyed a letter from the Prime Minister. Did the letter include any reference to a Japan-Russia summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A letter from the Prime Minister was indeed conveyed, but I would like to refrain from commenting on its contents.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Mr. Komura told members of the press that during the same meeting, the topic of President Putin’s visit to Japan had also come up for discussion. Were there any discussions over arrangements for the visit, including specific dates or such like?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the governments of Japan and Russia are in agreement that political dialogue between the two countries should continue actively, led by summit-level dialogue and also at various other levels, including the ministerial level. This was confirmed in the recent meeting, including the implementation visits by leaders of the two countries, but I am not aware that anything more detailed was discussed.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) bilateral currency swap arrangement. According to some press reports the Government of Japan has indicated that if an official request were to be made by the ROK Government, the Government would be willing to re-implement this arrangement. Given that Japan-ROK relations are improving following the agreement on the comfort women issue at the end of last year, would the Government be prepared to respond favorably if a formal request were to be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the press reports about this matter, at the current stage, I have not received any report about the resumption of the Japan-ROK bilateral currency swap arrangement. There is no truth to the reports, therefore, that the Government has come to a decision on this matter. The mechanisms that were in place under this arrangement concluded on schedule on February 23 last year. This was due to the shared recognition of both countries that there was no longer any need to extend the arrangement given the status of the Japanese and ROK financial markets. In any event, in bilateral economic and financial cooperation between Japan and the ROK, what is important is to continue to monitor our own economies and the global economy while using bilateral and multilateral frameworks, and to cooperate appropriately if the need arises.

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