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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 30, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: Some analysis concludes that China has deployed anti-ship missiles in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Is the Government aware of this fact?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have seen the media reports. Japan is also closely monitoring recent overall conditions in the South China Sea, and the Government intends to once again express serious concern about cumulative attempts to achieve a fait accompli. I have repeatedly explained on past occasions that unilateral actions that change the status quo and raise tensions, such as China’s large-scale, rapid land reclamation, site construction, and utilization of sites for military purposes in the South China Sea, present a common concern for the international community. I would also like to stress that Japan absolutely cannot accept these types of attempts to achieve a fait accompli.

REPORTER: This is a related question. There was also confirmation last month of deployment of a missile unit. What do you think about China’s advances in militarizing the South China Sea? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, Japan is gathering information on actions by the Chinese side and is responding appropriately in close cooperation with related countries, including this activity. Japan has been communicating its views each time to the Chinese side regarding the various actions that have taken place thus far.

REPORTER: Changing topic, I have a question about developments in North Korea. North Korea continues to engage in provocative behavior, such as yesterday’s launch of a short-distance projectile from Wonsan. The Nuclear Security Summit, meanwhile, starts in Washington on March 31. North Korea launched two Nodong missiles in 2014 when the Nuclear Security Summit was previously held, and there is some speculation that it might proceed with a fifth nuclear weapon test soon. Have you seen any signs that North Korea might conduct new provocative behavior during Prime Minister Abe’s trip to the United States at this point? Also, what is the Japanese Government’s current state of alertness? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government as a whole is engaged in thorough efforts to gather and analyze intelligence on North Korea’s missile trends with serious interest. In any case, these missile tests and other actions directly affect Japan’s national security and the Government has established a structure capable of protecting the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people, in cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and is monitoring the situation with firm vigilance.

REPORTER: This is a related question. Does the Government see any signs of new provocative behavior during the Nuclear Security Summit when Prime Minister Abe is visiting the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At any rate, the Government is monitoring the situation in North Korea with real vigilance on a regular basis and has established a structure to respond to all possible circumstances.

REPORTER: Switching topics, I would like to ask about PKO activities by the Self Defense Forces. Some media sources are reporting that a bullet landed in the camp for the Ground Self Defense Forces (GSDF) dispatched to South Sudan in December 2013. Meanwhile, the bullet that landed is supposedly being displayed at the Fukuchiyama post of the GSDF. Could you explain the related facts as to whether this actually occurred and also why it was not disclosed if it did occur? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The media reports are referring to a bullet displayed at a documents center at the GSDF’s Fukuchiyama post. The Government is currently looking into the facts. In any case, the Government believes that the five principles of participation for the PKO activity area in South Sudan are being maintained. I am aware of the temporary emergence of uncertain conditions between the South Sudan Government and the anti-government side for the first time since the clash that took place in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, in December 2013. The Government does not believe that an armed conflict, as defined by Japan’s PKO Law, has broken out in the PKO activity area in South Sudan based on a comprehensive assessment of the current local situation and information from the Japanese Embassy, the United Nations, and other sources. The Government therefore considers that the five principles of participation are being maintained.


REPORTER: Changing topic, I would like to ask about the issue related to unlocking the iPhone of the terrorist in the shooting incident that occurred last year in the United States. This has advanced to a court battle because Apple refused to cooperate with investigators on the basis of protecting personal information, and this fueled a major debate worldwide, including Japan. What are your thoughts on the response to terrorism and the need for acquisition of technology to unlock iPhones, particularly ahead of the Ise-Shima Summit and the Tokyo Olympics?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will be holding the Ise-Shima Summit, as well as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Rugby World Cup. The Government understands the need to respond to terrorism with robust capabilities and a true sense of the threat while cooperating with the international community in current difficult conditions related to terrorism. I think it is important to strengthen measures, including utilization of a variety of technologies. Regarding the point mentioned in your question, however, I would like to refrain from discussing the specific content of what technologies might be used because of the nature of the matter. The Government is currently making extensive preparations with sufficient awareness of the issues.

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