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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 2, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: This afternoon, Prime Minister Abe will visit Russia and hold a summit meeting with President Putin. What will the Japanese Government be asserting? In addition, what outcomes do you expect from the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe at today’s Japan-Russia summit meeting, discussions will take place on the full scope of Japan-Russia relations in a wide range of areas with a view to a possible visit to Japan by President Putin. I regard that frank exchanges between the two leaders are essential, particularly in order to move forward with the issue of concluding a peace treaty. I gather that Prime Minister Abe will approach the discussions on this issue with such strong resolve.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Meanwhile, yesterday, the Presidential Press Secretary of Russia stated that the issue of the Northern Territories would not be a major item on the agenda of the upcoming summit meeting. What is your comment to the Press Secretary’s remark?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, I would think that conducting this sort of diplomacy involves various checks and intentions of both sides. Japan perceives that the Northern Territories issue is the greatest diplomatic issue remaining for postwar Japan. At the same time, it is the main matter of concern between Japan and Russia. In this sense, Prime Minister Abe and President Putin regard that the state of not having a peace treaty concluded between the two countries now, more than 70 years since the war, is an unnatural state of affairs. The two leaders agree on this point. Therefore, frank exchanges between the leaders are essential, and I believe it will naturally be a major theme in this context.

REPORTER: A related question. You just mentioned “greatest issue.” With respect to the Northern Territories, I understand there are various opinions. There is the idea of first realizing the return of the Habomai Islands and Shikotan Island and continuing talks on Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands—the so-called “return of two islands first” theory. There is also the theory of returning all four islands at once. What kind of an approach will the Government be adopting for Russia?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are various news reports, and there are people who express these opinions. The basic view of the Government is to resolve the issue of the return of the four islands and then conclude a peace treaty. As regards the content of our negotiations, I would like to refrain from disclosing it as diplomatic issues are also involved. In any case, the basic policy of the Government is to resolve the issue of the return of the four islands and then conclude a peace treaty.


REPORTER: My question is in connection with the Council for Regulatory Reform Promotion that you noted in your opening statement. You stated moments ago that the Council forms the nucleus of the growth strategy. Are there regulations in any areas in particular that you want the Council to deepen discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is the basic policy of the administration to closely examine regulations of all kinds and ensure that by doing so the growth strategy is realized. There is the issue of raw milk. There are issues surrounding agriculture. And there is healthcare. The problems with the various regulations will be carefully studied and clarified, and the Government and the ruling parties will work collectively to thoroughly address these issues.


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