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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 23, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: In an opinion poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun, the Cabinet’s approval rating has remained flat for three consecutive months. Can I ask for your views on this poll result?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I always say with regard to approval ratings, while it is better to have a higher than lower approval rating, we should not waver between hope and despair about fluctuations in the rating. The Government will continue to provide thorough and appropriately timed explanations to the public about necessary policies and humbly continue to work towards each goal, seeking to achieve progress for Japan.


REPORTER: In a press conference today, Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture stated that the Japan-United States Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) gives special rights to military personnel and military-affiliated personnel, which gives rise to a sense among personnel of being an occupying force, thus leading to crimes like the recent one that has occurred. He has called for the revision of SOFA. Can I ask for your views on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: SOFA is part of a large legal framework, including many agreements concluded between Japan and the United States. To date the Government has worked to improve the operation of the SOFA and under the Abe administration the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Stewardship was concluded, which was substantively the first agreement of its kind that supplements SOFA. I am aware of the various opinions on this matter and the Government will continue to endeavor to make improvements, raising issues one by one in a manner that is visible and readily understandable.

REPORTER: The outgoing administration of Taiwan under President Ma Ying-jeou dispatched patrol vessels to Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Okinotori Islands that are registered as part of Tokyo. What is the status following the dispatch of vessels?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it has been decided that the Interchange Association, Japan (IAJ), which is the private-sector intermediary body representing Japan for interchange between Japan and Taiwan, will launch a framework for dialogue on maritime cooperation with Taiwan, which is seeking to strengthen relations. The Government expects that through this framework mutual understanding between Japan and Taiwan on maritime cooperation will be enhanced. Accordingly, we intend to provide full support and cooperation for this framework.


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