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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 21, 2017 (AM)

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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
In today's Cabinet meeting, it was decided that His Majesty the King Felipe VI of the Kingdom of Spain and Her Majesty the Queen Letizia of the Kingdom of Spain  would be welcomed as state guests from April 4 to April 7. A welcoming ceremony, meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, State Banquet  at the Imperial Court, and other events are planned during the King and Queen of Spain's stay in Japan. Japan shares a long, 460-year history of exchange with Spain, and the Imperial House of Japan and the Spanish Royal Family have also built a relationship of intimate friendship. Furthermore, Spain is a crucial partner of Japan in the international community, sharing fundamental values including the rule of law. As part of the upcoming visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain to Japan, we hope to further develop the relationship of friendship, goodwill, and cooperation established between our two countries in many areas.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to the Trump administration. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster  has been selected to replace Mr. Michael Flynn in the position of National Security Advisor following Mr. Flynn's resignation. What sort of relationship does the Japanese Government wish to establish?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Lt. Gen. McMaster, newly appointed to the post of U.S. National Security Advisor, has served in the U.S. Army for many years, has abundant field experience, and is also highly evaluated within the U.S. as a strategist within the army. As part of Prime Minister Abe's recent visit to the U.S., and furthermore in conversations between the two leaders, there is recognition that the bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance will be further strengthened, and of the leadership role both Japan and the U.S. will serve for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally. Therefore, we would like to cooperate with newly appointed National Security Advisor McMaster to further strengthen the unwavering bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat will serve as Mr. McMaster's Japanese counterpart. Are there currently plans for a future meeting with the aim of establishing a relationship?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course, that has been decided, and once Lt. Gen. McMaster takes office, we would like to arrange a concrete time and hold such a conversation.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about Takeshima Day. There was an announcement that Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office  Mutai will attend the Takeshima Day ceremony being held in Shimane Prefecture on the 22nd. What is the reason for a parliamentary official taking part in the ceremony?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, regarding the "Takeshima Day" memorial ceremony, sponsored by Shimane Prefecture, which will be held on the 22nd, I have received a report from Minister Matsumoto that Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office Shunsuke Mutai, who oversees maritime policy and territorial issues, will attend on behalf of the Government, and that Minister Matsumoto has instructed Parliamentary Vice-Minister Mutai to firmly reiterate the Government's position and initiatives as part of the ceremony. Territory and sovereignty are the basic principles of a nation, and going forward we will continue our endeavors in spreading our message and raising awareness both domestically and internationally.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. I think it would mean not dispatching Cabinet ministers and vice-ministers, but with Mr. Nagamine, Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (ROK), still returned to Japan, are parliamentary officials being dispatched in a way that considers Japan-ROK relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What you seem to be referring to is not the case. Takeshima is indisputably an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law , and our response to the Takeshima issue, including the upcoming "Takeshima Day" memorial ceremony, is carried out entirely based on Japan's independent decisions. Therefore, the decision was made in a comprehensive manner based on that position.

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