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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 3, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have another question. At the Budget Committee hearings today, Prime Minister Abe mentioned revisions to the Constitution of Japan, including the need for changes to Article 9, Point 2. I find it unusual that he mentioned a specific clause. New Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi previously commented around the timing of passing the security-related laws that he did not see a need to revise Article 9 for the time being. Does the Abe administration intend to pursue revisions to Article 9 as a top priority?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No. I was also at today’s Committee hearings, and there was not a strong statement on this matter. I think the stance is the same as it has been up to now because the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) has called for revisions to the Constitution as a party mission since its formation and it already announced a proposal for a revised Constitution under Sadakazu Tanigaki’s term as party president. What the Prime Minister is saying is that it is important to deepen understanding and discussion of potential revisions to the Constitution among the Japanese people and the specific revision content and timing, such as when to revise which clause, would naturally become evident through this national discussion and deepened understanding. He has always been saying this. I think today’s comment covered exactly this point.

REPORTER: I have a question related to the administrative subrogation lawsuit regarding the U.S. Futenma Air Station. The content of settlement proposals presented by the Court to the Government and Okinawa Prefecture has become known. One proposal asks Governor Onaga to accept the transfer to Henoko in exchange for the Government negotiating with the U.S. side for a 30-year usage deadline and subsequent return. The other proposal appeals to the Government to withdraw its administrative subrogation lawsuit, temporarily suspend the transfer construction work, and restart negotiations with Okinawa Prefecture. What is the current situation of the Government’s review of these settlement proposals?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is currently reviewing whether it can respond to the proposals. Regarding the content, however, the Court has requested that the Government not discuss the matter publicly. I would like to refrain from providing an answer about the content because of this request.


REPORTER: The NSC held a meeting at around noon today regarding the response to North Korea’s missile situation. Did the Prime Minister offer any new instructions or are there any items to mention?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we held a Meeting among Four Ministers of the National Security Council at 12:10pm today. The Prime Minister reaffirmed his instructions to continue taking all possible measures to gather information and engage in warning and surveillance activities while closely cooperating with the United States and Republic of Korea (ROK) and be prepared to secure the safety and security of the Japanese people if an actual launch takes place. I think the Ministry of Defense is steadily responding to the situation based on these instructions.

REPORTER: This is a related topic. Is the NSC discussing specific deployments and other details related to the PAC-3?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The point is that the Government is making preparations for a steadfast response under the direction of the Minister of Defense in order to respond to North Korea’s planned launch of a ballistic missile, which it calls a satellite, that is now known as a fact.

REPORTER: This is related too. How does the Government intend to proceed in encouraging North Korea to restrain itself?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We plan to firmly pursue this effort through diplomatic channels at the United Nations while of course coordinating among Japan, the United States, and the ROK.


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