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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 14, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: His Majesty the Emperor has expressed his wish to abdicate while he is still alive. What is the comment of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we are of course aware of the news reports. However, the Government would like to refrain from making comments.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Did you know about His Majesty’s wish before the news came out last evening?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No I had no knowledge of this at all.

REPORTER: If I may I would like to ask one more question. There is the Imperial House Law Revision Office of the Cabinet Secretariat. Some parts of the media have reported that there is also a team headed by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita. Is it true that through these bodies the Government is examining revisions to the Imperial House Law and other responses to allow for the abdication? Does the Government intend to consider such responses?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware that this was reported. There is the question of how to address the declining number of Imperial Family members, so the Government is undertaking studies in this connection under the leadership of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita and the Imperial House Law Revision Office of the Cabinet Secretariat. I imagine that this is what the reports are referring to.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I would like to ask three questions concerning the award that was rendered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding the South China Sea. My first question is in regard to the Senkaku Islands. I understand that the islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan and that the Government’s stance is that it is not an issue to be brought before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Can you confirm whether or not the Government’s stance has changed based on the recent award?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no change at all.

REPORTER: My second question is, how about for the gas fields in the East China Sea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Presently Japan is asserting what is necessary.

REPORTER: Some members of the Liberal Democratic Party have said that Japan should institute arbitral proceedings regarding this issue. What is the opinion of the Government? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, Japan is fully asserting what needs to be asserted. This is the present situation.

REPORTER: Lastly, some countries assert that the Okinotori Islands are rocks. Do you perceive that the recent award could have any impact in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan considers that they are islands that meet the criteria under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and a contiguous economic zone is established in the surrounding waters. We believe that the Okinotori Islands meet the criteria for being considered islands.


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