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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 3, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
The Government has a responsibility to protect the lives and property of the people. It held a meeting of the “Promotion Team for Crime Prevention Measures in Okinawa Prefecture” today and prepared a set of measures in response to instructions from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to promptly review robust measures to prevent the recent regrettable incident involving a person associated with the United States military in Okinawa Prefecture from ever happening again. The measures mainly consist of bolstering crime prevention patrol operations and the establishment of a safe and secure environment. To strengthen anti-crime patrol operations, the Government is creating the Okinawa Regional Safety Patrol Force with 100 blue patrol cars under the Okinawan Prefectural Police to conduct emergency anti-crime patrols and is adding 100 police officers and 20 patrol cars to enhance and bolster initial responses to incidents and accidents and conduct patrols. To establish a safe and secure environment, it plans to install anti-crime lights that provide illumination on nighttime streets as well as anti-crime cameras. The Government will create a forum for discussions between the national government and local government entities and intends to implement the policies while sufficiently coordinating with local people through Minister of State for Okinawa Affairs Shimajiri. The Government plans to act in unison to proceed promptly with measures that can be accomplished right away.

Prime Minister Abe will conduct an observation tour of Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures affected by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake on June 4 (Saturday). This will be his third tour of the affected areas following previous visits on April 23 and April 29. In Kumamoto Prefecture, he plans to visit shelters in the towns of Mifune, Kashima, and Mashiki and observe efforts to revive small business and farming and secure housing for the affected individuals. In Oita Prefecture, he will visit Beppu city and Beppu Hot Springs and observe initiatives to revitalize tourism affected by the earthquake and exchange opinions.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Promotion Team for Crime Prevention Measures in Okinawa Prefecture mentioned in your opening statement. You referred to the addition of 100 police officers to the Okinawa Prefectural Police. What is the anticipated schedule for making the addition of 100 officers?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government intends to take steps toward achieving the addition of 100 officers and 20 patrol cars within the current fiscal year.

REPORTER: Do you mean an increase in official police officers as part of the Okinawa Prefectural Police?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our plan is raising the normal level by 100 officers.

REPORTER: You mentioned a variety of measures, such as the addition to the police force, creation of a patrol squad, and installation of anti-crime cameras. Will the budget required to achieve these additions be fully covered by the national government?


REPORTER: This is related to Okinawa and the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement. Yesterday, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told reporters that the US intends to review the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement following the incident in Okinawa. While I think this will be discussed at tomorrow’s Japan-US Defense Ministers’ Meeting, what type of request will Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani make?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the US are currently discussing the specific content of measures to prevent a recurrence, and I think this topic will also be covered in the Japan-US Defense Ministers’ Meeting being held tomorrow.


REPORTER: Changing topic, I have a question about North Korea. The Government suspended the destruction measures order on the basis of a reduced possibility of a ballistic missile launch. Do you think that the possibility of specific provocative behavior by North Korea has declined at this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While this is something I have repeated many times in the past, the Government is constantly gathering and analyzing intelligence related to North Korea’s missiles with serious interest. However, I would like to refrain from making comments due to the sensitivity of this topic. Yet Japan is obviously gathering intelligence and monitoring conditions with vigilance in order to respond to any situation.

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