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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 3, 2017 (AM)

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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: I have a question concerning the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and United States Secretary of Defense Mattis, which is scheduled for this afternoon. What outcomes are you expecting from this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government sincerely 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 speculative 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 in meetings with Secretary Mattis a broad range of opinions will be shared on various issues concerning Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I understand that discussion will take place on a broad range of issues, but do you expect to confirm your shared recognition on such regional issues as the response to nuclear and missile development by North Korea and whether the Senkaku Islands fall under the scope of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is anticipated that various opinions will be exchanged on a broad range of issues concerning Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: I have a further question. There is a possibility that Secretary Mattis will request expanded defense cooperation for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region during the meeting, so how will the Government respond if this matter is raised?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given that the Japan-U.S. Alliance is a cornerstone for Japan’s diplomacy and security, it will be of primary importance to build mutual relations of trust.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the Government’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation will establish a new study group by the end of the month on the promotion of research and development for joint military-civilian use. Could you tell us the status of considerations on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to science and technology and security, in May last year the Cabinet approved the Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation 2016, which has been released to you all. In a situation in which the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming ever more severe, as a means of ensuring the safety and security of the nation and the public, this strategy calls for systems and structures to be strengthened for the purpose of assessing and gaining a broad picture of trends in science and technology relating to national security, including issues of terrorism and response to natural disasters, and for research and development to be enhanced for the purpose of boosting technological capabilities. This was approved by the Cabinet in May last year. Ministries and agencies concerned are currently engaged in considerations about how to respond to these issues and no specific decisions have as yet been made.

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