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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 31, 2017 (AM)

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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At today's Cabinet meeting, in order to further promote friendship and goodwill between Japan and the Kingdom of Spain, it was decided that the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum  would be conferred to His Majesty the King Felipe VI of the Kingdom of Spain , who will make a State Visit to Japan from April 4 to 7, and that decorations would be conferred on Her Majesty the Queen Letizia of the Kingdom of Spain and 20 other persons from the Kingdom of Spain. Please direct your inquiries to the Cabinet Office for further details.

Q&As

REPORTER: Former President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has been arrested by prosecutors on suspicion of accepting bribes and other charges. As Ms. Park was the President of the ROK at the time of the conclusion of the Japan-ROK agreement, can I ask for a comment on the arrest and whether the Government considers it will have an impact on the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from making any comment on this matter as it pertains to domestic affairs and judicial procedures in the ROK. In any event, 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 in various areas, including policy on North Korea and security.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Some hold the view that it will take some time before the political situation calms down in the ROK. What is the status of the considerations within the Government with regard to the timing of the return to duty of the ambassador to the ROK and consul-general, who are still on recall to Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated previously, the date of their return to duty is undecided. There is absolutely no change to the Government's intention of making a decision after having taken various matters comprehensively into account .

REPORTER: A related question. Does the Government intend to return them to their duties prior to the inauguration of a new administration in the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, nothing has been decided still, including whether to return the ambassador and consul-general prior to the inauguration of a new administration, and there is absolutely no change to the Government's intention of making a decision after having taken various matters comprehensively into account.

REPORTER: I have a question in regard to this matter. What is the Government's analysis of how the destabilizing domestic situation in the ROK will affect moves by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is constantly engaged in efforts to collect and analyze information on nuclear and missile-related developments in North Korea with the greatest interest. In this context, we will continue to cooperate closely with the United States and the ROK to urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations and comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and other agreements. Furthermore, by maintaining an advanced surveillance and monitoring structure to protect the lives and properties of the people of Japan the Government is determined to resolutely protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people with a sense of urgency, in order to be able to respond to any situation. It is based on this strong determination that we are steadily engaged in surveillance and monitoring operations on a day-to-day basis.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the realignment plan for the U.S. Forces in Japan. One of the key parts of the plan is the relocation of the field carrier landing practice (FCLP) site  for the U.S. Forces. Relating to this relocation there are press reports that suggest that the Government has entered into concrete negotiations on prices with the owner of Mageshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture with a view to purchasing the island. Could you tell us the current status with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Since 2011 the Government has considered Mageshima Island as a candidate site for the development of a Self-Defense Force facility and for FCLPs in order to enhance defense posture in southwestern Japan . However, at the current point nothing further has been determined, including any discussion on whether to purchase the island. It has often been reported in the press that an agreement was reached back in 2011, but that is not the case.

REPORTER: I have a follow-up question. The same press reports are suggesting that negotiations concerning the purchase of the island will experience difficulties, with the Government's offer price in the region of 4 billion yen being in stark contrast to the owner's asking price in the region of 40 billion yen. Do you have any comment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am entirely unaware of any such negotiations.

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