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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 27, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seko (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: Moving to a different topic, I’d like to ask about the relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Tomorrow, January 28, will be one month since the agreement on comfort women between the two countries. The initial agreement indicated that the Japanese Government would contribute one billion yen to a foundation created by the Korean Government. Could you explain the outlook?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: As affirmed by the leaders of the two countries, there was confirmation that the agreement represents a final and irreversible resolution of the comfort women problem. I think it is important that the Japanese and ROK Governments take responsibility in ensuring the proper implementation of the agreement. While Japan intends to continue to work closely with the Korean side on implementation, it is important to steadfastly carry out the agreement as confirmed by the two leaders.

REPORTER: On a related topic, I think the Japanese Government also requested the removal of the statute of a girl symbolizing the comfort women located in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, and I was wondering what view the Government is taking in regards to the fact that the statute has not been removed yet even though a month has passed. What is the outlook for this situation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The matter has already been finalized between the two leaders and the foreign ministers, and I think the ROK Government will deal with it in an appropriate manner considering the importance of the Japanese and ROK Governments taking responsibility for implementation of the agreement.

REPORTER: Another related question. It appears as if Japan and the ROK have been cooperating more and moving toward better relations since the agreement, particularly considering that a telephone discussion took place right after the nuclear test by North Korea. What is the Government’s overall assessment and view of current relations between Japan and the ROK?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: Just as you have indicated, the two leaders immediately arranged contact and smoothly reached a mutual understanding after the recent nuclear test by North Korea, and I believe this was aided in part by having confirmed a final and irreversible resolution of the comfort women issue. I think this is truly a manifestation of the improvement of our bilateral relationship as a result of the agreement. I expect the two Governments to respectively make steady progress in implementation of the agreement and hope that Japan and the ROK will mutually cooperate in building a future-oriented relationship with this year the start of a new era for the two countries.

REPORTER: I have a question about the foreign ministers meeting between the US and China. The US and China just held a meeting among foreign ministers, and it took place in an atmosphere where the Chinese side is apparently exhibiting caution toward a Security Council resolution on North Korea. While it is being said that the US side requests China’s consent, what are the Japanese Government’s expectations for speeding up the Security Council’s decision?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: Firstly, the Japanese Government would like to refrain from making comments on interaction between the US and China since this involves contact between other countries. However, I would still say that it is valuable from the standpoint of peace and stability in the region and the international community for the US and China to engage in constructive and frank discussions regarding various issues. In any case, I believe it is important for the related countries to conduct thorough discussions and put together an effective resolution in order to obtain a Security Council resolution.

REPORTER: On a related point, I think Japan is reviewing its own sanctions against North Korea. Could you give an update on the review?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The Government plans to continue making a review of possible independent sanctions as well, and I think it will make a final decision in the context of development related to the Security Council resolution and the positions of various countries.


REPORTER: Last week, BuzzFeed, a US-based media operator achieving rapid growth as an interactive Internet site, a type of SNS, launched service in Japan. This kind of viral media is currently experiencing very rapid growth with monthly user volume rising to 200 million people worldwide. The Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary is in charge of public relations for the Administration, and I would imagine that you regularly utilize SNS as a politician. What are your thoughts on the relationship between this type of new media and politics and the future potential of this new media?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: There are many types of viral media, curation media, and news media utilizing novel networks and technologies. We are paying attention to the BuzzFeed service that launched in Japan in this context. From a technology perspective, the service is experimenting with an approach of putting news that users want to see at the top of listings. This aspect is interesting as well. With news, however, the content itself is a key factor, and the Government thinks that it is most important to focus on provision of appropriate information.

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