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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 9, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about the country report for Japan regarding discrimination toward women released by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Some media reports say that the final draft asserted that the Imperial House Act constituted discrimination against women and called for revisions, but the Committee ultimately removed this portion because of protests from Japan. Please explain the facts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I cannot go into the details because this involves a diplomatic exchange. However, the draft of concluding observations given by the Committee to the Japanese Government at the end of last week had a reference to the Imperial House Act. In response, the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva strongly requested that the Committee remove language related to the Imperial House Act, and concluding observations released by the Committee did not contain the reference to the Imperial House Act. These are the facts.

REPORTER: This is related. Specifically, in what format and for what reason did the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva request the removal?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Committee’s review process itself did not address the topic at all. This created a procedural issue for raising it in the concluding observations. Furthermore, Japan’s Imperial Household system and Royal Household systems in other countries have a background in the history and traditions of the respective countries, and still exist today with the support of their populations. The format of Japan’s imperial succession is clearly not intended as a type of discrimination against women along the lines addressed by the Convention. Japan explained that it is totally inappropriate for the Committee to address Japan’s Imperial House Act in light of these points, and I think the Committee withdrew the mention as a result.

REPORTER: On the same topic, it is possible that other countries did not sufficiently understand Japan’s imperial succession and Imperial House Act. How does the Government intend to disseminate information and provide explanations to the world to address such misperceptions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan’s imperial succession is related to a fundamental aspect of the country. As such, the Government believes it is necessary to consider this topic in the future, while appreciating the historical weight of imperial succession by the paternal line, and sufficiently taking into account the various opinions among different segments of the population.


REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. Kim Jong-un, the First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, claimed that North Korea has succeeded in miniaturization of a nuclear weapon payload. Does Japan believe that North Korea possesses the capability to place a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this media report. The Government actively gathers and analyzes intelligence on developments related to North Korea’s nuclear missile with serious interest on a regular basis. I would like to refrain from comments on individual specific content because of the nature of this matter. However, Japan is urging North Korea to refrain from provocative behavior and comply with UNSC resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, while working together closely with the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and other related countries. Within this context, the Government is thoroughly gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance and monitoring in a vigilant manner, so that it can respond to any circumstances, and protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people.

REPORTER: This is related. While the United States and the ROK are currently in the midst of military exercises, does the Government expect North Korea to continue its provocative behavior in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government gathers and analyzes information on North Korea and is putting its fullest efforts into surveillance on a regular basis. We are making the utmost preparations for protecting the peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people in any circumstances. Nothing has changed in our readiness.


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