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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 30, 2017 (PM)

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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU). A meeting of the Government Task-force regarding the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union  has been held and Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda has issued three instructions, including that efforts should be made to gather relevant information. What kinds of specific means of assistance for Japanese companies will the Government be considering from now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At today's meeting of the task-force, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda issued instructions to continue to monitor developments and collect relevant information, to gain a picture of the concerns and requests of Japanese companies and other organizations, and share information and provide assistance appropriately, and, based on "Japan's Message to the United Kingdom and the European Union " that was formulated last year, respond to ongoing developments flexibly and dynamically and call on the UK and EU as and when necessary. All ministries and agencies concerned will be engaging in work relating to this matter based on these instructions.

REPORTER: Although specific assistance will depend on the direction that negotiations between the UK and the EU take from now, does the Government have any idea of when assistance measures will be drawn up?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the UK has indicated concretely its intention to withdraw from the EU. Prior to today, based on the assumption that the UK would withdraw from the EU, the Government has been making preparations to assess what response measures may be needed. Another meeting of the Task-force has been held today and I believe that based on the results of interviews with companies that are engaged in business in the UK, we have a structure in place that will be able to respond fully to the situation.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Japan-United States economic dialogue. The dialogue is scheduled to start in April and while the basic framework will be for discussions between Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence, there are press reports suggesting that United States Commerce Secretary Ross and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seko may also participate. What is the status of arrangements concerning participants in this dialogue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of such details. It has been decided that the economic dialogue will be launched by Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence and further specific details about the composition and items for discussion have yet to be decided through coordination between the Japan and U.S. sides. Nothing has been decided at the current point.

REPORTER: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Study Team on Ballistic Missile Defense  has submitted a proposal  to the Government calling for considerations to be initiated on Japan maintaining a capability that would enable it to strike enemy missile bases. What is the Government's evaluation of this proposal and how do you intend to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as you have noted, the LDP Study Team on Ballistic Missile Defense has submitted a proposal to the Prime Minister. The Government considers this LDP proposal to be very important, against the backdrop of repeated ballistic missile launches by North Korea and the level of threat posed having entered a new phase. As it is the Government's role to protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people of Japan in any situation, the Government will thoroughly study the proposal that has been received today and engage in various considerations on means of comprehensively reinforcing Japan's ballistic missile response capability.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The proposal refers not to a strike capability against enemy bases, but rather a counterattack capability. Can I ask for the Government's views on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As we have only received the proposal today, I expect that the Ministry of Defense and other ministries and agencies concerned will engage in consideration of this matter, including the perspectives set out in the proposal.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question relating to the Republic of Korea (ROK). Former President Park Geun-hye has appeared before Seoul Central District Court for a hearing to review the validity of her arrest warrant. A ruling on the validity of her arrest is expected to be issued later tonight, so can I ask if the Government of Japan is following events with interest?

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. In any event, I believe that it is important for Japan to 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 question on a different topic. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the appointment of Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu as the next Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Office for Disarmament Affairs . This will mean that Ms. Nakamitsu will lead global disarmament initiatives, including the United Nations Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination , which Japan has announced it will not be participating in. Can I ask what expectations the Government has of Ms. Nakamitsu in her new role?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government welcomes that United Nations Secretary-General Guterres has appointed Ms. Nakamitsu as the next Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Office for Disarmament Affairs . The Government hopes that in her new role as the next Under-Secretary-General, Ms. Nakamitsu will utilize her wealth of experience to contribute to United Nations initiatives, including promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, strengthening structures for disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, and enhancing regulation and management of conventional weapons.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning efforts to collect the remains of Japan's war dead from the Second World War in the Philippines. Efforts to collect the remains were halted in 2010 after suspicions emerged that remains of people other than Japanese war dead were being exhumed. Could you confirm reports that the governments of Japan and the Philippines have reached an agreement in principle to resume collection efforts, and if so, when are such efforts planned to begin?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the collection of remains in the Philippines, suspicions were voiced that among the remains of former Japanese soldiers were also the remains of Filipino citizens. Since then both governments have worked to examine the facts behind such suspicions and have engaged in discussions toward the resumption of collection efforts in an appropriate manner. Although discussions and arrangements are in their final stages, it is not true to say at this point that an agreement has been reached. Whatever the case, in view of the fact that more than 70 years have passed since the end of the war and mindful of the feelings of the families of the deceased, the Government considers that efforts should be made to return the remains of as many as possible of the war dead to their families. We are making every endeavor to conclude negotiations promptly and resume collection efforts.

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