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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 4, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: Today marks one month since agreement on a settlement for the lawsuit related to the plan for the relocation of Futenma Air Station used by the US forces. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accepted the settlement by taking the stance that “haste makes waste,” and currently the Committee for Settling National-Local Disputes is conducting a review and the Government has started negotiations with Okinawa. You have consistently stated that both sides plan to move forward with procedures based on the settlement provisions, but the divide with Okinawa Prefecture, which is against the relocation to Henoko, remains. Please explain your assessment of the past month and outlook.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Let me start with the content of settlement provisions that the Government and Okinawa Prefecture agreed on. One of the points, which addresses the outbreak of a legal battle between the Government and Okinawa, is voiding the three existing lawsuits and consolidating the cases to a single lawsuit at the Committee for Settling National-Local Disputes that addresses the suitability of Governor Takeshi Onaga’s reversal of the landfill approval. The two sides are also conducting discussion procedures at the same time. This is also part of the settlement provisions, and the Government intends to proceed sincerely from this perspective. I believe the response is currently taking place.


REPORTER: This is related. Regarding the relationship with the United States, you noted at the press conference at the time of the settlement related to the relocation of Henoko that some impact on the timing of a return of Futenma could not be denied. I would like to ask once again what your thoughts are on the timing of a return and relocation.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The project is currently suspended, and procedures are taking place based on the settlement provisions amid the suspension. While I thus would like to refrain from giving a detailed response at this stage, there has been absolutely no change in the Government’s stance of devoting its fullest efforts to achieving the earliest possible return of Futenma Air Station.


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