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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 17, 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: I have a related question. In Niigata, the candidate endorsed by the ruling parties has lost, following on from the defeats in the House of Councillors election and the gubernatorial election in July in Kagoshima Prefecture, another prefecture home to a nuclear power station. What is your outlook regarding the impact on the Government’s objective of restarting nuclear power stations?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Safety is above all our foremost priority in restarting nuclear power stations. In addition, our view has not changed that only the nuclear power stations that the Nuclear Regulation Authority finds to be in compliance with the new regulatory standards will be restarted, by respecting its judgment and obtaining the understanding of the members of the host communities. 

REPORTER: My question is related to the previous question. Dr. Yoneyama who won the election has stated that he cannot permit the restarting of the nuclear power station as the situation currently stands, as the lives and the livelihoods of the people cannot be secured. On the other hand, this morning, he stated to the press that he does not intend to rule out every possibility related to the restarting of the nuclear power station, nor remain intent on not budging from any kind of fixed position. Do you perceive that the Government will be able to hold constructive dialogues with the new Governor if the nuclear power station passes the safety review of the Nuclear Regulation Authority?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, I understand that during the election campaign, the Governor-elect stated that he would succeed the policy of Governor Izumida. If that is what the Governor-elect stated today, then I believe his remarks are consistent with his previous comments. In any case, safety is our foremost priority as I stated a short while ago. It remains unchanged that if the nuclear power station is found to be in compliance, then we will proceed with restarting its operations while obtaining the understanding of the host community.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. In regard to the negotiations with Russia over the Northern Territories, it has been reported that Japan and Russia are considering a joint condominium. What is the current status of the Government’s considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is not true. There is no change at all to the existing Government policy of concluding a peace treaty by resolving the issue of the attribution of the Four Northern Islands.

REPORTER: A related question. You stated that there is no truth at all to the news reports. Are you saying that the Government is not at all considering joint condominium as an approach? I imagine that it entails various challenges with respect to sovereignty, including the questions of whether Japanese or Russian laws would apply and what would happen with electoral districts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is totally out of the question. It is not being considered.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Advisory Council in connection with the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor. The Advisory Council will begin its discussions this afternoon. I gather that there are many issues. What are your expectations for the discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the first meeting of the Advisory Council will be held. Bearing in mind that His Majesty is currently at the advanced age of 82, the meeting will be held to calmly advance the discussions, free of assumption, regarding easing the burden of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the issue of abductions by North Korea. A representative of a group in the Republic of Korea comprised of family members of abductees revealed there is information suggesting that Ms. Kyoko Matsumoto, abducted by North Korea, is hospitalized at a hospital in Pyongyang. What information does the Government have?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of these news reports. While the Government has and is collecting various information, I would like to refrain from responding about their details. The Government is working to collect information on the assumption that all victims of abduction are alive. The Government is undertaking maximum efforts to realize the return of all abductees to Japan as quickly as possible in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement, based on the principles of dialogue and pressure and action for action.


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