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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 13, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: It is being reported that French prosecutors have confirmed that Japan transferred approximately 220 million yen to a bank account that has been linked to the son of the former President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), in relation to Tokyo’s bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I would like to ask the Government’s views on the results of the investigation.

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I believe that the Chief Cabinet Secretary has reported in his morning press conference that the Government would look into this matter. I received a report earlier from the Japan Sports Agency and would like to share with you the facts. According to the report by the Japan Sports Agency, it was confirmed that at the time of the bid, the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee contracted consulting and other work to multiple companies, in relation to a wide range of activities, including creating the plans for the bid, receiving guidance on delivering the presentation, receiving PR advice, actual lobbying activities, and information analysis. The Japan Sports Agency confirmed that the payment being reported by the media was part of the payments for the aforementioned activities. This payment was made as compensation for formally contracted work. I do not think there is anything suspicious about it. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also inquired about this matter with the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and the JOC has responded to the IOC. I understand that the JOC will prepare a statement in due course regarding Tokyo’s bid and I ask that you inquire with the JOC for further details.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Who led the investigation and under what format was it conducted?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Japan Sports Agency has led these efforts since this matter has become public. However, as the Government has explained, the entity that was the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee has since ceased to operate, which has made the fact-finding efforts slightly more time-consuming. Nevertheless, the Government has conducted these efforts by confirming the documents that were used at the time and by contacting the then members of the committee. According to the actual committee, I understand that the committee contracted work to this particular agency because of its extensive experience, including consulting work for Beijing’s bid for the 2015 IAAF World Championships, and its expertise in analyzing information related to Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, I understand that the contract was properly audited by an auditing company. At any rate, I believe it was an appropriate business transaction.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Japan-ROK agreement. On 10 May, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK announced that if possible, the ROK intends to set up the preparatory committee for establishing a foundation based on the Japan-ROK agreement sometime in May. I believe the ROK is aiming to establish the foundation itself sometime in the first half of this year. Could you please tell us the Government’s views on this matter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I am aware of the media reports. At the current stage, the ROK Government is making explanations to the people of the ROK, among other efforts, and the timing for establishing the foundation is not yet determined. In any case, it is important that both sides implement the agreement with a sense of responsibility. Japan will continue to work closely with the ROK side on this matter. There is no date by which we have promised that the foundation must be established, nor any date before which we have promised that the foundation must not be established. The Japanese Government has no problems with any administrative efforts that the ROK must undertake based on its own domestic circumstances.

REPORTER: I have a related question about the comfort women statue in front of the Embassy of Japan in Seoul. Previously, when you appeared on television, I believe you said something along the lines that you did not want to imagine the comfort women statue still being in front of the embassy on the day when the establishment of the foundation is commemorated. Do you believe that the statue should be removed before the Japanese Government provides any funding for the foundation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Regarding the timing, the promise made between the Japan and the ROK is not based on any such special premise. However, at the joint press announcement by Foreign Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Yun held at the end of last year, the two ministers announced that Japan and the ROK would promote a future-oriented relationship, and that to that end, the issue is finally and irreversibly resolved. In order to move forward on all matters, without any delays, Japan hopes that the ROK Government will take steps to appropriately resolve the matter of the comfort women statue, regarding which the Japanese Government has expressed concern.


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