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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 22, 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: This morning, I believe there was a telephone talk held between Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat and U.S. National Security Advisor McMaster. What significance does the Government see in the telephone talk?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This morning Secretary General Yachi and National Security Advisor McMaster held a telephone talk. This was proposed by the U.S. side, as a way for National Security Advisor McMaster to introduce himself following his inauguration as the U.S. President's National Security Advisor. During the telephone talk, National Security Advisor McMaster indicated that Secretary General Yachi was the first to be called among his various counterparts, and additionally expressed his recognition that Japan was a critical U.S. ally, as well as his intention to cooperate closely with Secretary General Yachi going forward. Secretary General Yachi also said that he was looking forward to cooperating closely with National Security Advisor McMaster. In addition, the two officials discussed regional affairs, and confirmed that they would deepen discussions through a visit by Secretary General Yachi to the United States at an early stage. Furthermore, during the telephone talk, both officials agreed that they would work closely together, including steadily following up on the outcomes of the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You mentioned that the two officials discussed regional affairs. In concrete terms, on which regions or incidents did they exchange views?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the details, but I will say that the two officials confirmed that they would work together closely on national security policies, including steadily following up on the recent summit meeting.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic, and ask about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. In relation to the naming of the Sea of Japan, a video with the headline "Donghae," which means "East Sea" and is the name asserted by the ROK Government, has been published on the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs homepage. What is the Japanese Government's understanding of the facts of the matter, and what is its response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are of course aware of the matter you just mentioned. "Sea of Japan" is the sole, internationally-established name, and Japan does not accept the content of the video in question. Japan immediately issued a strong protest to the ROK Government through diplomatic channels.

REPORTER: You said that the Government does not accept this and immediately issued a protest. Does that mean you are requesting the deletion of the video?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It goes without saying that the sole, internationally-established name is "Sea of Japan." We strongly emphasized that fact.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada held a telephone talk. What topics were covered, and did the two leaders come to a shared recognition on anything and so forth?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, today at approximately 9:30 AM, Prime Minister Abe held a telephone talk with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. While I have not yet received a report of the content, we plan to announce an overview of the telephone talk in due course.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. There are press reports that the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has presented to the central government and others an estimated cost of 160 billion yen for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games events held outside Tokyo. Is the central government aware of such a number for the event costs?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we are aware of the press reports. We are aware that at a meeting of the working teams, which is comprised of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, related local authorities, and the central government, a representative of the Tokyo Organising Committee presented the expenses as they currently stand for each of the areas hosting events. However, we have heard that these are nothing more than current, rough preliminary calculations, and therefore I would like to refrain from making comments on the details on behalf of the central government. We believe that continuing to carefully provide information and respond to the local authorities through the working teams is a crucial process for the success of the Games, and the central government intends to continue participating in the discussions. In any case, as the Games are being held based on Tokyo's bid, I believe the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will take leadership in the preparations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In relation to the expenses of holding the Games, there is criticism from the authorities of municipalities hosting events, such as Saitama Prefecture, that the burden of maintenance expenses for temporary facilities is different from the initial policy. It is currently being reported that Tokyo Governor Koike has stated that the maintenance burden for temporary facilities outside of Tokyo will also be undertaken by Tokyo. What role does the Government expect from Tokyo, as the primary host of the events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, first of all, the Games are being held based on the bid made by Tokyo. Therefore, we would like the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to take leadership in the preparations. Furthermore, as Tokyo played such an active part in the bidding process, we believe it is also necessary for Tokyo, as the primary host of the Games, and the Tokyo Organising Committee, which is the main organizer, to lead the efforts, including the issue of expenses related to the Games. With regard to the central government, there is no change to our position that we will firmly support and cooperate with Tokyo and the Tokyo Organising Committee for the success of the Games.

REPORTER: Today, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Mutai will be attending on behalf of the Government in the Takeshima Day ceremony. Could you please explain once again the Government's aim in sending Parliamentary Vice-Minister Mutai to the ceremony?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Cabinet Office Shunsuke Mutai, who oversees maritime policy and territorial issues, will attend the Takeshima Day ceremony organized by Shimane Prefecture on behalf of the Government. Territorial sovereignty is a basic principle of a nation, and going forward I believe we will continue our efforts to spread our message and raise awareness, both domestically and internationally.

(Abridged)


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