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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 12, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

1. Opening remarks

2. Q&As

REPORTER: On a separate topic, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting finished yesterday, and France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault made a courtesy call to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today. As France is a nuclear weapon state, please explain how Japan intends to proceed with efforts toward a world free of nuclear weapons and appeal to other countries particularly ahead of the upcoming Ise-Shima Summit.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting issued the Hiroshima Declaration. It is a fact that the international situation related to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation currently faces difficulties as seen in the inability to agree to a final document at the Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) held last year and withering international sentiment for a world or society free of nuclear weapons. Given this backdrop, I think the success of the latest G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which included nuclear weapon states that possess nuclear weapons and non-nuclear weapon states that do not have these weapons, in preparing the Hiroshima Declaration within the G7 framework and arranging for the Foreign Ministers to come into direct contact with the realities of the atomic bombings was a historical first step. Japan intends to utilize this historical first step as a catalyst for leading the discussion among the international community heading into the Ise-Shima Summit, taking into account the Hiroshima Declaration and other results from the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, so that momentum builds again for efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.    

REPORTER: This is related. US Secretary of State John Kerry commented at his press conference yesterday that everyone should go to Hiroshima and that he hopes that US President Barack Obama will be one of those people. Please update us on the possibility of a visit to Hiroshima by President Obama, the state of coordination efforts, and the significance of a visit if it happens. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, whether President Obama visits or not and the schedule are matters decided by the US side, and I would like to refrain from making comments as a representative of the Japanese Government. In general, however, the Government thinks that visits by global leaders to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and coming into contact with the realities of atomic bombings are very important for raising global sentiment for a world free of nuclear weapons.

REPORTER: While the possibility of a Hiroshima visit by President Obama is attracting interest as you just mentioned, what are your thoughts about a visit by Prime Minister Abe to Pearl Harbor? Might this be considered?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it is extremely important for Japan and the United States to pay their respects and express their condolences for each other’s war dead. Secretary of State Kerry laid a wreath at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park along with the other G7 Foreign Ministers yesterday. Additionally, Prime Minister Abe visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Second World War Memorial during his visit to the United States, and expressed his condolences for victims of the war. I think these are very important acts.

REPORTER: Some observers suggest that the Japan-US relationship could rise to an even higher level if President Obama and Prime Minister Abe were to each lay wreaths along the lines you just described. Please explain your thoughts on this point.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At any rate, I believe it is very important for global leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US President’s schedule, meanwhile, is something for the US side to decide.


REPORTER: I have a question about the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China expressed strong dissatisfaction toward inclusion of the South China Sea and East China Sea in yesterday’s Foreign Ministers’ Statement and asserted that the G7 countries should refrain from irresponsible statements and behavior. Please explain Japan’s opinion regarding this disapproval.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yesterday’s Statement reflected the joint views of the G7 Foreign Ministers and their respective countries, and Japan hopes that all countries, including China, will sincerely consider the content.

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