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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 13, 2017 (AM)

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: Russia used its veto power to prevent the adoption of the U.N. Security Council draft resolution condemning Syria's use of chemical weapons. Japan supported the resolution. How does the Japanese Government perceive Russia's response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, in response to the recent use of chemical weapons in Syria on April 4, a Security Council resolution drawn up by the U.S., the U.K., and France, which condemned the act with the strongest expressions, and called for cooperation of the Syrian government and all relevant parties in an investigation of the facts, was put to a vote. However, due to Russia's use of its veto power, it did not pass. It is extremely regrettable that the Security Council could not send forth a unified message. The use of chemical weapons is intolerable under any circumstances, and Japan intends to cooperate with the international community in a probe into the truth on the use of chemical weapons.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The confrontation between Russia vis-à-vis the U.S. and Europe has deepened with this incident, and President Trump has also stated that the U.S. relationship with Russia may be at an all-time low. There is a possibility that the U.S. and Europe may have concerns regarding Japan's diplomatic relations with Russia, including the negotiations related to the Northern Territories. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I do not believe the circumstances in Syria will have any direct influence on the peace treaty negotiations, which are a bilateral issue between Japan and Russia. Japan will continue its close mutual understanding with the relevant countries, including the U.S., while also advancing the Japan-Russia relationship based on our national interests.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe mentioned that if he visits Russia in the future, he would like to proactively call for action on the Syria issue from the Japanese side. Could I ask for your views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting held on April 11, there was agreement on strongly urging Russia to cooperate in truly contributing to the development of the political process in Syria. Taking into consideration the G7 discussions, in the event Prime Minister Abe pays a visit to Russia, I believe he will bring up the subject of international affairs, including the situation in Syria. However, as this involves discussion between the two leaders, I would like to refrain from making a comment based on speculation.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question related to the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor. There are reports in the press that considerations are being made to hold an abdication ceremony in the event the Emperor does abdicate. There are also reports that whether the ceremony is held as a matter of state will be decided by Cabinet decision. Could you please explain the facts of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are various reports of this sort made every day, but the Government is completely unaware of them. That is all I have to say.

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