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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 14, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: Minister Amari recently came to the Prime Minister’s Office and I believe he would have talked about the schedule for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). According to local press reports, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand has indicated that it is working towards a TPP signing ceremony at the beginning of February. What is the current and status and outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My understanding is that at the current point nothing has been decided with regard to the schedule and location for the signing ceremony. Given that a signing ceremony will only be implemented once the participating countries have completed joint technical work, including finalizing and confirming the wording of the agreement, nothing has yet been determined.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the disappearance of five persons related to a book store in Hong Kong that has published and sold books critical of the Chinese Communist Party. There are increasing views that given the timing of the disappearances, the Chinese authorities may perhaps be involved in some way. This is considered an incident that will impact freedom of speech and the independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong. People in Europe and North America have expressed concern about this matter, so can I ask for your opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern. If I were to say more, it would be to note that freedom, including freedom of speech, respect for basic human rights and the rule of law are universal values in the international community, and it is extremely important that these values are ensured in Hong Kong. If it is the case that these values have been infringed upon, the Government of Japan would also have the gravest concerns. In any event, the Government strongly expects that under the one country, two systems structure, Hong Kong will continue to develop democratically under a free and open system of governance.

REPORTER: There has been a bombing in central Jakarta in Indonesia, which has caused fatalities. Has the Government been able to confirm whether any Japanese nationals have been affected?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As far as we are aware, at the present time there are no Japanese nationals among the casualties. The Japanese Embassy in Indonesia is currently confirming with the local authorities whether there are any Japanese casualties and the Government is making every effort to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals.

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