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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 3, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to the incident in Uruma City, Okinawa Prefecture. An association of the Governors of 14 prefectures hosting the bases of U.S. Forces submitted a written request today, asking both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense and other parties to implement effective measures to prevent similar incidents, revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, alleviate the burden of the bases of the U.S. Forces, among other matters. Can you please share the Government’s comments?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Effective measures were requested. To be able to effectively address matters that should be dealt with, the Government considers it important to address specific issues one by one in a visible manner. During the Abe administration, the environmental stewardship agreement was newly signed between the two countries. Based on this viewpoint the Government will engage in related efforts.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the House of Councillors elections. This coming weekend will be the first weekend since the conclusion of the Diet session, and I imagine that election activities will be moving into full swing. I understand that you went around all over Japan during the previous House of Representatives election campaign. How will you be embarking on the House of Councillors election campaign?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, it was decided that the House of Councillors elections would be announced on June 22 and held on July 10. The major point of contention will be, indeed, whether the Abe administration will be able to carry out various policies including economic policies based on the stable foundation provided by the coalition government of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan and Komeito. I expect that the election campaign will be a contest with the members of the opposition parties led by the Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party. In this regard, I hope to make my rounds as much as possible to gain the understanding of the people regarding the policies of the Abe administration.  

REPORTER: I have a question concerning China about a different matter. On June 4, it will be 27 years since the Tiananmen Incident in China. Even now, 27 years later, we do not know the truth, and China’s current human rights situation is subject to international criticism. First, can you tell us how the Government perceives China’s current human rights situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government of Japan regards freedom, democracy, respect for fundamental human rights, and the rule of law as constituting the universal values of the international community. It is critically important that they are also guaranteed in China. The Japanese Government has communicated its view to China and will encourage China to take forward-looking steps.

REPORTER: A related question. A variety of efforts have commenced in China as well to find the truth behind the Tiananmen Incident. What is your opinion regarding these efforts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, it remains unchanged that Japan takes strong interest in China’s human rights situation and will closely follow the situation.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with the application filed by private organizations from China and the Republic of Korea for materials related to comfort women to be inscribed on the Memory of the World Register. Concerns are being expressed that what happened with last year’s inscription of the materials on the Nanjing Massacre would happen all over again. Can you explain once again how the Government intends to deal with the situation?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Private organizations filed for inscription, and presently, I am unaware of the content, details, and other such matters regarding the filing. Under these circumstances, at this time, I would like to refrain from commenting on what specific responses the Government will be taking. That said, the various programs of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are designed to foster friendship and mutual understanding among the member states. This was the original purport of founding UNESCO. Therefore, the Government views that this original purport and purpose should be promoted.

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