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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 10, 2017 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
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 trial of President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK). With the impeachment having been upheld by the Constitutional Court, President Park will be removed from office. What are your views on the impact this will have on Japan-ROK relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I believe the Government should refrain from making any comment on this matter as it pertains to domestic affairs and a judicial ruling in the ROK. If I were to add anything further it would be to note that Japan will steadily implement the Japan-ROK agreement with the current administration as well as the new administration following the presidential election, and further advance bilateral cooperation with regard to policy on North Korea and security.

REPORTER: I have a related question. What is your outlook on whether the impeachment of the President could result in a change in the ROK’s foreign policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, there is absolutely no change to our policy of working with the current administration and the new administration following the presidential election in steadily implementing the Japan-ROK agreement, and further advancing bilateral cooperation with regard to policy on North Korea and security.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Will the recent judgment have any impact on the Government’s decision with regard to the timing of the return  to the ROK by the Japanese Ambassador to the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It remains entirely unchanged that we will make a decision based on a comprehensive assessment of the various circumstances.

REPORTER: A related question. With regard to the Japan-ROK agreement you have just referred to, especially to Japan’s demands for the removal of the comfort woman statues, does the Japanese Government want the statues to be removed during the current ROK administration, or is it your view that this will be difficult until a new administration is in place?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The sooner the removal of the statues can be achieved the better.

REPORTER: A related question. The ROK’s largest opposition party and others are calling for the Japan-ROK agreement from two years ago to be revised or renegotiated. What are the Government’s views concerning such a renegotiation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The agreement was concluded between the Governments of Japan and the ROK, and the Government of Japan will continue to take every opportunity to tenaciously request the steady implementation of the agreement, including the issue of the comfort woman statues.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Tomorrow will mark the sixth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although progress has been made in such areas as the restoration of infrastructure, there are still 123,000 people who are living as evacuees, either inside or outside the three prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. Also, as of the end of January there were still 35,000 people living in prefabricated temporary accommodation in the three prefectures. What is your view of the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Tomorrow, six years will have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake. In the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami reconstruction is progressing steadily, with the restoration of infrastructure for daily life having been almost entirely completed, and by spring this year the rebuilding of homes will be about 80 percent complete and is forecast to be over 90 percent complete by spring next year. With regard to Fukushima, too, reconstruction is progressing steadily and it is expected that evacuation orders will be lifted in almost all areas by this spring with the exception of difficult-to-return zones . The Government will continue to stand at the forefront of efforts to develop living environments that will enable people to return. Under these circumstances, we understand that there are currently almost 35,000 people who are obliged to live as evacuees in prefabricated temporary accommodation, down from the initial 470,000 people who were living in prefabricated temporary accommodation. The Government will continue to make every effort to secure housing for people, including the development of public housing for disaster-stricken households  and the relocation of housing to high ground, and provide assistance to affected people.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There has been a succession of bullying of children and students who evacuated following the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has announced that it will implement a nationwide survey on the status. This is a situation in which people who were traumatized by natural disaster are being subjected to further trauma inflicted by other people. What are your thoughts on these situations in which bullying is occurring?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, it is highly regrettable that the serious issue of bullying is occurring against children and students who have been affected by the accident and are still living in uncertainty, unable to return to their homes. It was in response to this situation and for the purpose of implementing thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of bullying that in December last year MEXT re-issued a notification to all boards of education to confirm whether bullying of children and students affected by the accident is occurring, and if cases of bullying are confirmed to make an immediate response. With regard to measures taken in response to cases of bullying of affected children and students, given that the end of the fiscal year is approaching the Government would like to engage in follow-up to assess the situation. Through these activities we will make every effort to prevent the bullying of children and students.


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