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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 2, 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 have a question concerning the Japan-U.S. summit meeting on February 10. There has been a report in the press that the Government is going to present a proposal for economic cooperation in which the Government Pension Investment Fund, Japan (GPIF) would invest in infrastructure projects in the United States, which would lead to job creation. Is the Government considering making use of GPIF in this way?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point, nothing has been decided about the details of what will be discussed at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting. The Government hopes that constructive discussions will take place on how to build a win-win relationship. With regard to the operation of GPIF, my understanding is that GPIF manages and makes decisions on assets for the benefit of pension recipients.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It has been reported that the Government will establish a ministerial-level negotiating body for the purpose of engaging in discussions on trade policy with the United States. Does the Government consider that such a framework for discussion is necessary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point, nothing has been decided. As I have just noted, the Government will engage in constructive discussions on how to build a win-win relationship for both countries.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan-U.S. relations. United States Secretary of Defense Mattis is scheduled to arrive in Japan tomorrow. What outcomes do you expect from the meetings that will take place during his visit with a view to deepening the Japan-U.S. Alliance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government welcomes the visit to Asia, including a visit to Japan, by Secretary Mattis, so soon after the inauguration of the new Trump administration, recognizing it to be of great significance in that it demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. Although I would like to refrain from making any comment concerning the specific details of the exchange of opinions that will take place with Secretary Mattis, what I would say is that the Japan-U.S. Alliance is a cornerstone of Japan’s foreign policy and security and we expect that a broad range of opinions will be shared on various issues concerning Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: This is a related question. I understand that you wish to refrain from commenting about the details of meetings with Secretary Mattis at this point. However, in response to the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives yesterday, Minister of Defense Inada indicated that she wishes to confirm with Secretary Mattis during the meeting that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands. Does the Government also wish to share this recognition with Secretary Mattis?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has confirmed on repeated occasions that the Senkaku Islands fall within the scope of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. The Government believes in the commitment of the United States to the treaty. Although I would like to refrain from making any speculative comment concerning the specific details of the exchange of opinions that will take place with Secretary Mattis, we will seek various opportunities to confirm this point with the Trump administration.

REPORTER: Secretary Mattis is scheduled to be in Japan on February 3 and 4. In addition to meetings with Minister of Defense Inada, are any other meetings scheduled, including with you?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for myself, this is currently being coordinated.

REPORTER: I have another question about the Trump administration. The nomination of Mr. Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Mr. Tillerson is known to have close ties with Russia, so what is your analysis as to how this may affect future U.S. foreign policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Tillerson has only just been confirmed as Secretary of State. I believe that now a Secretary of State has been formally appointed for the new administration, it will start making a full-fledged response to foreign policy-related issues.

REPORTER: I have another question relating to President Trump. In a press conference, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has criticized the executive order of President Trump that prohibits entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries in the Middle East and Africa, stating that the order should be withdrawn immediately. The Government of Japan has maintained a stance of not commenting on this executive order by the President, and yet leaders of European and other countries have criticized it. What is the view of the Government with regard to the measures being implemented by the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On a number of occasions in the Diet and in press conferences, it has been noted that this is a matter that relates to immigration control policy, not just of the United States but also of other countries, and basically deals with internal administrative affairs. I am aware that there are various opinions on this matter also in the United States. I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government. What I would add is that the Government recognizes refugees and countermeasures against terrorism as being global issues. The Government will continue closely following the status of implementation of the executive order relating to immigration policy.


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