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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 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: I have a question regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It is considered that the Obama administration of the United States has de facto given up on obtaining domestic approval of the TPP while President Obama is still in office. It intends to entrust the TPP to President-elect Trump. Based on the remarks that Mr. Trump has made thus far, the TPP cannot possibly enter into force under its existing parameters. A short while ago, Prime Minister Abe stated in his response to questions at the Diet that the situation was very tough. What is the current outlook of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the TPP Agreement is vital for the growth strategy of Japan, and we believe the TPP Agreement and its associated legislation need to be passed as quickly as possible in order for the Agreement to swiftly manifest its effects. To ensure that the deliberations proceed quickly, the Government will continue to provide careful explanations at the deliberations of the House of Councillors with a sense of vigilance. This remains unchanged. Under these circumstances the Prime Minister made the remarks you mentioned. As the meeting with President-elect Trump is still being arranged, I would like to refrain from speculating on the content of the meeting. So, the Government’s intention is to quickly proceed with the deliberations and provide careful explanations at the deliberations of the House of Councillors with a sense of vigilance. This has not changed at all. 


REPORTER: You stated that the Government would not change its existing approach. However, my understanding is that Japan seeks to take the lead in proceeding with the domestic procedures in order to encourage other countries to follow suit. By passing the Agreement and the associated legislation in Japan, even as President-elect Trump expresses his opposition to the TPP, Japan will make its position clear that the Agreement is not open for renegotiation. Are there any concerns that this could conversely lead the next U.S. administration to adopt a more hardline approach?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Obama is still the President. The Japanese Government is not in a position to comment regarding the prospects of the procedures of other countries. At the leaders’ meeting last November, the leaders of 12 countries including the United States confirmed that the countries would aim for the expeditious entry into force of the Agreement. In any case, we understand that President Obama is also making efforts.


REPORTER: I have one more question. Today, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are scheduled to hold their third working-level discussion regarding the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) which will form the basis of defense-information sharing between the two countries. The Ministry of National Defense of the ROK has indicated its intention to provisionally sign GSOMIA this week. However, it seems that opposition parties are opposed to this. The power base in the ROK is very unstable at the moment. Do you perceive that this situation has no effects on the progress of the discussion regarding GSOMIA?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the meeting will be held in Tokyo. It is important that Japan and the ROK work together to respond to the nuclear and missile issues of North Korea. In this regard, Japan hopes to further deepen bilateral security cooperation, including the swift signing of this agreement.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I would like to ask about the currency swap arrangement between Japan and the ROK. During Friday’s press conference, you stated that Japan would agree to resume the currency swap arrangement if requested by the ROK. Can you please tell us the current status of the negotiations and around when this matter will be settled? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the two governments have started discussing the arrangement. I would like to refrain from making speculative comments, including whether or not an agreement would be reached. However, in any case, Japan and the ROK have close economic ties. The Government recognizes that it is vital to promote the stable growth of the two economies.


REPORTER: Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, announced that it successfully conducted a test that removed tritium from contaminated water in June of this year. If this is true, Japan may be able to make use of this technology for disposing the contaminated water that continues to accumulate at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Does the Government have any plans to, for example, include this in the 30 projects that will be substantiated with priority as part of the economic cooperation between Japan and Russia that the Government is considering?    

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to Japan-Russia cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, the two countries are set to discuss matters such as cooperation on the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station at the Energy Initiative Council that the two countries established. The details of the projects are now being discussed between the two countries, and nothing has been decided at this point in time. With regard to which projects will be included in the approximately 30 projects that you referred to moments ago, I would like to refrain from giving responses as they concern diplomatic exchanges, and furthermore, companies are also involved. 


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