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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 26, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the incident that recently occurred in Okinawa, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a strong protest to United States President Barack H. Obama and requested a thorough and rigorous response with effective measures to prevent a reoccurrence at the Japan-US Summit Meeting held last night. Given the Government’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of its people, Prime Minister Abe also instructed me (the Chief Cabinet Secretary) to promptly review robust measures to prevent crimes and ensure the safety and security of all of the Okinawan people so that this type of tragic incident never occurs again. In response, the Government created a “Promotion Team for Crime Prevention Measures in Okinawa Prefecture” that consists of bureau heads from related ministries and agencies under the Chief Cabinet Secretary, and the first meeting will be held this afternoon. I expect the Promotion Team to promptly prepare measures, and the Government intends to quickly move forward with implementation in areas starting from where it can.

REPORTER: The council of bureau heads from related ministries and agencies will be reviewing measures to prevent crimes as you just mentioned. Specifically, what type of measures are you imagining?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is currently asking the US side to promptly formulate effective measures to prevent reoccurrence. The Promotion Team aims to quickly prepare measures to prevent crimes that the Japanese Government should be implementing, and in addition, the Government intends to implement such measures that can be, right away. Today’s meeting will review the specific items. I think there are a variety of ways to create an environment that makes it tougher to carry out crimes, such as roadside lights. The Government plans to act right away on measures that can be immediately undertaken and proceed with meaningful steps.


REPORTER: This is a related question. The impact of the Okinawa incident stood out strongly in the Japan-US Summit Meeting held last night. What is your assessment of the Summit Meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Summit Meeting lasted for about 55 minutes, including roughly 20 minutes in a small group. The small-group meeting used almost all of the time to discuss the incident in Okinawa, and as Japan’s Prime Minister, Prime Minister Abe lodged a strong protest to President Obama. He explained that the incident has been a major shock to not only Okinawa, but to all of Japan, and asked President Obama to sufficiently acknowledge this national sentiment. He also called for a rigorous response, including thorough implementation of effective measures to prevent reoccurrence. President Obama expressed heartfelt condolences and deepest regrets as well as a deep sense of responsibility for the crime committed by this individual related to the US military. He stated that the US intends to cooperate fully with Japan’s investigation. The two leaders agreed to conduct discussions between Japan and the US and pursue effective measures to prevent reoccurrence. They also agreed that Japan and the US should cooperate in putting their fullest efforts into restoring lost trust and reducing the burden on Okinawa. Additionally, in the overall meeting, Prime Minister Abe commented that Japan truly welcomes the historical decision by President Obama to visit Hiroshima, and the two leaders agreed on the importance of sending a robust message toward realization of a World Without Nuclear Weapons. The two leaders also agreed at the overall meeting that Japan and the US will collaborate closely in the G7 Summit and that they aim to show the G7’s unwavering resolve and response to issues facing the international community and various regions.


REPORTER: Getting back to the Japan-US Summit, I think President Obama stated yesterday that he intends to take responsibility in reaching a conclusion on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement during his term, particularly in light of views against the TPP advocated by major candidates in the presidential election process currently taking place in the US. Please explain specifically what “reaching a conclusion” means and what the Japanese Government expects from the current US administration in efforts to ratify the Agreement.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe explained that he hopes to have the G7 Summit send a strong message on promoting the TPP Agreement too. The two leaders agreed to continue efforts aimed at early confirmations of the TPP Agreement.


REPORTER: This is related to the G7 Summit. Prime Minister Abe met leaders from the various countries at the Ise Jingu Shrine, kicking off the official Summit schedule. Please share your thoughts on this point.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The leaders are currently visiting the Ise Jingu Shrine. I believe measures addressing current global economic conditions are likely to be the top theme for the G7 Summit. Strong expectations exist for Japan’s role as the G7 President, and Japan intends to foster robust discussions with the various countries as the President and exercise leadership in sending a clear message aimed at contributing to sustainable and strong growth in the global economy. Other topics include political and foreign policy issues, such as the North Korea situation and terrorism, climate change and development issues, and various issues confronting the world. Additionally, Japan aims to discuss societies in which women shine, quality infrastructure investment, international medical care, and healthcare, as areas where it has been a leader. It also plans to address conditions in the Asia-Pacific region in light of this being the first Summit in Asia and Japan in eight years. As the G7 Presidency, Japan intends to promote a G7 consensus and issue clear messages on these topics.

REPORTER: This is a related question. I think the primary focus of this Summit is whether the G7 nations can unify in regards to measures that can support the global economy. However, Germany is expressing caution toward fiscal actions. Please explain your thoughts on whether it is possible to obtain the understanding of the various countries.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Fiscal actions are just one aspect. I think it is important to implement monetary policy, fiscal policy, and restructuring reforms – as a type of three-arrow approach. While I am aware that various circumstances exist depending on the country, Japan is looking for a balanced and fruitful discussion and hopes that resulting efforts help realize sustainable and robust growth in the global economy. Prime Minister Abe has a strong desire to achieve this outcome from the G7 Summit. The Summit will be getting underway, and I believe that this will naturally be a central topic.


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