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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 27, 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: You recently held a meeting with Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture. Could you tell us what was discussed in the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Governor Onaga visited today following the approval of the budget for FY2017 and taxation system revisions. Governor Onaga expressed his appreciation for the allocation of a budget for Okinawa in excess of 300 billion yen and in particular for the allocations for lump-sum subsidies to local governments that exceed the initial estimates. With regard to taxation system revisions, the Governor acknowledged that all items would be extended by two-to-three years. He also noted that Okinawa seeks to perform strongly and play its role. For my part, I stated that the Government had sought to secure budgetary allocation for Okinawa that would enable the Okinawan economy to continue to grow, against a backdrop where the effective ratio of job offers to applicants has risen above 1.0, with a focus on the tourism industry. However, with regard to lump-sum subsidies I asked for care to be taken with these as there were some parts of budgetary allocation that had not been executed. At the end of the meeting Governor Onaga noted that there had been reports that land reclamation work at Henoko is to be resumed, but unless discussions between the central and local governments continued, including prior consultations, the prefectural government would have no choice but to take a hardline position. In response I noted that I had yet to receive a report from the Okinawa Defense Bureau that it had received a document said to have been issued by the Governor retracting the revocation of approval for land reclamation work. I indicated that the Government is making the necessary preparations to resume land reclamation work. I also acknowledged that the Governor felt that the prefectural government had no choice but to take a hardline position, but noted that as Japan is a country based on the rule of law, the Government would proceed to engage in land reclamation work in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court and the terms of the settlement. That was the broad content of my meeting with Governor Onaga.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on the comfort women issue. Tomorrow will mark one year since the conclusion of the agreement and while a foundation has been established in the ROK based on the terms of the agreement, no progress has been made with regard to the request by Japan for the relocation of the comfort women statue. The ROK’s domestic politics are currently in turmoil and the opposition party candidate for the presidential election has indicated an intention to seek renegotiation of the agreement. Is the Government of Japan concerned about the steady implementation of the contents of the agreement reached between Japan and the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the agreement between Japan and the ROK, it is of the utmost importance for both countries to act responsibly in ensuring its implementation. The Government of Japan will continue to cooperate with the Government of the ROK to ensure the steady implementation of the agreement. I would like to refrain from making any comment about the domestic politics of the ROK. The agreement reached at the end of last year between Foreign Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se represents a clear pledge not only to the people of both countries but also to the world. Furthermore, both Prime Minister Abe and President Park Geun-hye confirmed that the issue of comfort women is resolved “finally and irreversibly” with this agreement. It is therefore of the utmost importance for both countries to act responsibly in implementing the agreement that was reached at the end of last year.


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