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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 25, 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


CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, at the Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the revision of the Implementation Plans for International Peace Cooperation Assignment in South Sudan, which has been deliberated and approved at the nine ministers’ meeting of the National Security Council. Accordingly, the period of dispatch of the engineering and other units of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) will be extended by five months. We have distributed to you a document entitled, “Basic Views on the Continuation of the Dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces.” This material explains the Government’s understanding and views regarding the situation in South Sudan, the significance of the PKO in South Sudan and of SDF dispatches, the activities of the SDF, and the relationship to the Five Principles for Participation in PKO. A press briefing will be held later today regarding this matter. With regard to the details, I ask that you please save your questions until then.



REPORTER: My question is in regard to the matter of South Sudan. The extension of the dispatch period has been decided. Around when do you expect the units to be replaced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the revision of the Implementation Plans will extend the expiration of activities of Japan’s engineering and other units dispatched to UNMISS by five months from October 31 of this year to March 31, 2017. This revision was made to accommodate the United Nations Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2304 on August 12, 2016, which extended the mandate of UNMISS that was set to expire on this date by four months to December 15, 2016. It was in this context that the period of dispatch was extended in this manner.

REPORTER: Is my understanding correct that a new 11th unit will be dispatched in November?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The dispatch period of the 11th unit will begin in November or later. We regard that a decision on the new duties does not need to be made at this instant. In any case, I expect that it will be late November or later. 

REPORTER: This is my last follow-up question. Does this mean that the Government is considering whether or not new duties would be assigned from the start of the dispatch period of the 11th unit, which will be deployed in late November or later?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are currently comprehensively studying whether any duties would be assigned related to “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid of geographically distant unit or personnel under attack) based on a careful review of the local situation, the extent to which the unit has mastered the duties, and other factors.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to Japan-Philippines relations. President Duterte of the Philippines sat down for interviews with the press ahead of his visit to Japan from today. With regard to his summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe, President Duterte expected that considerable time would be spent on discussing maritime security, and expressed the view that the South China Sea issue would be an important theme. What outcomes does the Japanese Government expect from the summit meeting that will be held during the President’s stay in Japan? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, at the Japan-Philippines summit meeting, Japan will strive to further advance our strategic partnership with the Philippines. The South China Sea issue is directly linked to peace and stability in the region and is a matter of concern to the international community including Japan. Japan has consistently supported the upholding of the rule of law in the South China Sea. Japan will strengthen its cooperation with the countries concerned including the Philippines and seek a peaceful settlement through diplomacy.  

REPORTER: I have a related question. With regard to Philippines-U.S. relations, President Duterte vowed in the same interview that the military agreement authorizing the re-stationing of the U.S. Forces in the Philippines must be suspended, as well as everything else including joint exercises with the U.S. Forces. I would imagine that Philippines-U.S. collaboration on security is essential for stability in the region. What is the role that the Japanese Government seeks to fulfill to improve the relations between the two countries?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Government has no knowledge of the details of the remarks made by the President. Furthermore, the Government believes that it should not comment on matters between third countries.


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