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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 16, 2017 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning President-elect Trump of the United States. In an interview with United States  and United Kingdom media, President-elect Trump has referred to the possibility of lifting sanctions on Russia on the one hand, and on the other hand has raised the possibility of revising the United States' "One China" policy, which considers Taiwan to be part of China. These statements indicate a difference in posture to Russia and China, respectively, so what implications do you think such stances would have on Japan's diplomacy, given that Japan is also closely involved with these two countries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, given that the administration of President-elect Trump has yet to be inaugurated, and also in view of the fact that your question referred to third countries, I would like to refrain from making any comment on policies that the new administration may take after its inauguration. In any event, the Government considers it to be extremely important to continue to maintain channels of communication with the new administration, as was the case with previous administrations.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the crime of making preparations to commit acts of organized crime, including terrorism. What is the status of consideration within the Government concerning the submission of related bills to the Diet during the upcoming Diet session?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, what the Government is currently considering is legislation relating to the so-called crime of making preparations to commit acts of organized crime, including terrorism, which would criminalize the acts of preparation themselves when they happen.  These considerations are entirely separate from the previous crime of conspiracy. Also, we are in the process of finalizing draft legislation that will make it clear what constitutes such a crime and will clarify that it is not possible for ordinary members of the public to be charged under such legislation. In any event, 187 countries and regions  around the world have signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and among the G7 nations Japan is the only country not to have signed. What is more, looking ahead to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in three years' time, based on the recognition that the Government must develop a comprehensive system for preventing organized crime and terrorism, it is essential for Japan to sign the convention and collaborate with the international community in fighting terrorism, as well as to clarify our crime prevention structures. The measures I have just described are therefore in the final stages of preparation and I would like to refrain from making any further comment.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The New Komeito, one of the ruling parties, has requested that the scope of the draft legislation be reduced from the more than 600 crimes that it currently covers. How will the Government respond to this request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this legislation is for the purpose of criminalizing acts of preparation for terrorism and other crimes when these acts happen, and is separate from the previous crime of conspiracy.  Currently the draft legislation is being finalized in a way that will make it clear that it will in no way affect ordinary people. We are currently in the final stages of preparation the draft legislation to gain the understanding of the people.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question relating to visa-free travel to the Northern Territories. According to some press reports , consideration is being given to using Nakashibetsu Airport as a gateway for air routes to Etorofu and Kunashiri islands. Could you tell us the current status of considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I would like to refrain from making any comment on individual press reports, at the Japan-Russia summit meeting last year it was confirmed that in view of the advanced age of former island residents who travel to the Northern Territories to make grave visits, the procedures for visits will be improved from the current framework. Based on this agreement, the Government is currently seeking to improve procedures in a way that would reduce the burden on former island residents. The specific timing for visits and the way in which they will be coordinated is currently being arranged with the Russian side and at the moment nothing has been decided.

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