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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 20, 2017 (AM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) foreign ministers' meeting held on the 17th. In regard to the comfort woman statue erected in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan, the ROK side has expressed that the installation of the statue is inappropriate, and would make the maximum possible effort to fulfill the Japan-ROK agreement. Please share the Japanese Government's evaluation of the ROK's comment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, during the meeting, Foreign Minister Kishida once again made a strong request for the removal of the statue. In response, Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se of the ROK stated that the agreement reached in 2015 would be steadily implemented, and that the installation of the comfort women statues in front of the Japanese Embassy and Consulate in Busan was inappropriate in light of international manners. The Minister stated that the ROK would make the maximum possible effort, and explained the measures it was taking. Furthermore, both ministers reaffirmed their view on the importance of steadily implementing the agreement made in 2015. The Government will closely follow the ROK's response in regard to the comfort women statues, and furthermore, Japan will continue to persistently take various opportunities to strongly request the ROK side to steadily implement the agreement, including the issue of comfort women statues. Additionally, there was also agreement that the two countries would continue to cooperate on the North Korea issue.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about the murder of Mr. Kim Jong-nam. Regarding the murder of Mr. Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia, yesterday the Malaysian police announced that four males with North Korean citizenship connected with the incident were on the run outside the country. The ROK Government has stated that the North Korean regime appears to be behind the incident. How does the Japanese Government perceive the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the investigation is now underway by the authorities in Malaysia, where the incident occurred. The Government will continue to take appropriate responses by closely cooperating with the relevant countries, gathering information and conducting analysis.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Based on the statement by the Malaysian police that the North Korean males were involved in an organized manner, what is your analysis regarding the involvement of the North Korean government in the murder?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will continue to closely cooperate with the relevant countries. We are at the stage of gathering information and conducting analysis, and will take appropriate responses in this context.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Regarding the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor, the chair and vice-chairpersons of both houses of the Diet have begun gathering opinions from the various political parties. The opinions of the political parties are divided between creating a special law to allow the one-time abdication of the current emperor, revising the Imperial Household Law to create a permanent system of abdication, and other options. In what manner is the Government hoping the matter will be settled?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, in regard to easing the burden of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty the Emperor, last month the Advisory Council finished compiling the key points for future discussions . Additionally, fora for considering this matter have been established in the Diet centered around the chair and vice-chairpersons of both houses of the Diet. Last month, the Prime Minister requested the chair and vice-chairpersons to refer to the compilation of the key points during their deliberations, and I provided an explanation to the various political parties. Today an opinion hearing with the political parties will be held under the leadership of the chair and vice-chairpersons of both houses of the Diet, and I understand that deliberations will continue in a calm and composed environment  going forward. There is no change to the Government's existing position that it will firmly accept the deliberations of the Diet, and move forward with further considerations


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. On the 20th it will be one month since President Trump of the United States has taken office. During that time a Japan-U.S. summit meeting was held. How do you evaluate the U.S. administration of the government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I believe it is not appropriate for the Government to comment on the administration of the government of other countries. Having said that, I believe Prime Minister Abe's recent visit to the United States, in addition to further solidifying the bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and further expanding the trade and investment relationship between Japan and the United States, fully affirmed that Japan and the United States would play leading roles for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Also, in Florida, the leaders had deeper interactions and made their relationship of trust certain. The Government will further strengthen the unwavering bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance based on a relationship of trust with President Trump.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I have a question regarding the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit that Japan is supposed to chair still has not been held. What is the current state of the Government's considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is currently making arrangements to hold the summit at an appropriate time this year, as the schedule could not be arranged within last year. However, no date has been decided at this point in time.


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