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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 9, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

1. Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


At today’s Cabinet Meeting, the Government decided on a change to the implementation plan for international peace cooperation in South Sudan and other items following a review and decision by the 9-Minister Meeting of the National Security Council. The change extends the dispatch period of the SDF Engineer Unit and other personnel to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) by eight months from February 29, 2016 to October 31, 2016. The type and content of activities and other aspects have not been changed. Our extension of the dispatch period coincides with the extension of the activities deadline for UNMISS, which had been established to be until December 15, 2015, by roughly eight months until July 31, 2016 by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2252. Peace and stability in South Sudan is an important issue for the international community. Japan thinks it is very meaningful to continue to provide vital assistance to South Sudan, while cooperating with various countries, as a responsible member of the international community.

A Meeting of the Ministerial Council on the Response to Infectious Diseases that Pose a Threat to Global Society was held after today’s Cabinet Meeting. The meeting involved a decision on a “basic plan” that consists of five priority projects and 67 measures for specific areas and an update on the Government’s near-term responses to the Zika virus. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan should take the lead in international discussions through the Ise-Shima Summit and other venues, as the country holding the G7 Presidency, and instructed relevant ministers to proceed in a swift and planned manner with implementation of related measures in a unified manner. The Government intends to continue coming together as a whole to steadily promote comprehensive measures for dealing with infectious diseases in line with the basic plan approved today and near-term responses to Zika virus.

2. Q&As

REPORTER: You mentioned a change to the implementation plan for South Sudan. Is the addition of rescue missions as a new duty something that will take longer?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding new duties added by the peace and security legislation, preparations needed to implement training are currently proceeding, such as a review of the operational concept and a review and preparation of internal rules and other points for the Self Defense Forces (SDF). I also think it is necessary to enhance capabilities for carrying out missions with considerable care, including implementation of required training. In any case, the Government intends to carefully assess whether to add new duties for the SDF dispatched to South Sudan, including whether the need exists, after the Revised PKO Law takes effect. We plan to consider this matter after conducting thorough preparations as mentioned in the National Diet comments.


REPORTER: Changing topic. I would like to ask about World Cultural Heritage. At today’s Cabinet Meeting, the Government decided to withdraw its recommendation to UNESCO of Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki that it had been aiming to register by the summer. I think this decision comes in response to the ICOMOS interim report. Please explain your view.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true that we made this decision after reviewing the interim report from ICOMOS. The Government is very disappointed that our explanation was not accepted. After discussions with local government entities and related parties, we concluded that the best path would be an initial withdrawal and then resubmission after revisions that factor in points raised by ICOMOS. The Government is aware that Nagasaki and Kumamoto Prefectures are interested in revising the content of the recommendation to reflect suggestions by the ICOMOS and are aiming for a recommendation in FY2016. The Government intends to continue promoting efforts to register Japan’s World Cultural Heritage.


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