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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 8, 2017 (PM)

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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-U.S. summit meeting. There was an explanation from the Government in today’s Committee on Rules and Administration of the Diet that Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seko would no longer be joining the visit to the United States. What is the reason behind that change?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is as you have stated. Minister Seko’s counterpart is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. As there is a high likelihood that Mr. Wilbur Ross’s nomination for the position of Secretary of Commerce will not be approved by the U.S. Congress in time for the visit, Minister Seko’s visit has in effect been cancelled.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As the minister with jurisdiction over the economy, it was planned that Minister Seko would join the visit due to the necessity of holding discussions regarding economic issues. As he is no longer joining the visit, what impact do you believe this will have on discussions regarding economic issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not believe there will be an impact. The cancellation of the visit is simply because there is a possibility Minister Seko’s counterpart Mr. Ross’s nomination to Secretary of Commerce may not be approved by Congress in time. Therefore, as the Diet is in session, Minister Seko will devote his attention to the Diet. Overall, however, I think economic issues will naturally be one of the topics for the Prime Minister during the summit meeting.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. The leadership of the largest opposition party within the ROK has announced that it would request the ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs to consider recalling the ROK Ambassador in Japan. What is the Government’s reaction to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government on this matter regarding the ROK.

REPORTER: I have a related question. After the recent issues, tomorrow will mark exactly one month since the beginning of the temporary recall of Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine, Ambassador of Japan to the ROK. Can you please state again your reaction to the lengthening of this recall period, and when you expect him to return to his post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As stated until now, the date the Ambassador will return to the ROK is unfixed, and there is absolutely no change in our intention to decide based on comprehensive consideration of various circumstances. In that light, we will take all opportunities to continue to request that the ROK side steadily implement the agreement, which includes the comfort women issue, reached between the governments of Japan and the ROK.

REPORTER: As the period of recall lengthens, what impact do you believe it will have on Japan-ROK cooperation concerning North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, the U.S., and the ROK are firmly cooperating on that matter, centered around each country’s department or ministry of defense.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You stated that the timing of Ambassador Nagamine’s return to his post would be decided in a comprehensive manner, but do you perceive that there have been any positive movements on the ROK side to merit returning the ambassador to his post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated, the fact that we have not returned the ambassador to his post is based on our comprehensive consideration.


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