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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 17, 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 regarding Kake Educational Institution. Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Matsuno stated at a Diet committee meeting that he would like to check for what purpose and through what kind of process the documents in question were created. Since then has the Government obtained any information on how this check is going?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I already stated this morning, we are aware that Minister Matsuno is looking into this. We have not received any report on the findings.

REPORTER: I have a related question. President Renho of the Democratic Party criticized that this matter has aroused further suspicions over officials around the Prime Minister practicing “sontaku” (surmising wishes of other people without asking directly ) and special treatment being given exclusively to the friends of the Prime Minister. Some members of the opposition parties are also requesting that this matter be subject to intensive deliberations at the Diet. What is the Government’s view regarding these comments and requests being made by opposition parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not know on what grounds these comments are being made. The documents are almost like anonymous documents. It is not even clear what their sources are.

REPORTER: During this morning’s press conference, you stated that the Cabinet Office had discussions on administrative work with the relevant ministries and agencies. Is it confirmed that the Prime Minister did not give out any instructions, or that the Cabinet Office did not state that the establishment of the veterinary school was the wish of the Prime Minister’s Office? Has the Government found out from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) whether such discussions took place?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: One would expect relevant ministries and agencies to hold various discussions on national strategic special zones. It would be odd if they did not. Either way, nothing of the sort that you mentioned has been found.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. The documents mentioned by the Democratic Party describe discussions that took place involving MEXT and politicians from other government offices, in addition to what you have denied today. Has the Government verified whether any of this is true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The reports contained references to me, and as far as those sections are concerned they are clearly inaccurate. I believe that my advisor had no involvement in this whatsoever.

REPORTER: I have one last question. It overlaps with the previous question. A series of incidents have occurred in which lack of government transparency has been pointed out in connection with projects involving the Prime Minister himself, acquaintances of the Prime Minister’s spouse, or their friends, including the case of Moritomo Gakuen. How does the Government intend to dispel such concerns?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For example, with regard to the selection of national strategic special zones, they are selected based on discussions conducted at thecouncils on national strategic special zones, in accordance with the relevant law. As you are aware, this is all open to the public. Therefore, I believe there is no basis at all for the criticisms made by the President of the Democratic Party that were noted earlier, as well as the criticisms about the Prime Minister’s personal connections.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about cyberattack countermeasures. According to some news reports, the Government has begun considering the possibility of enabling the use of cyber means to take countermeasures when cyberattacks by terrorists cause serious damage to important infrastructure, such as electric power and railway systems. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is not true that the Government has done anything of the sort purported in those news reports.

REPORTER: A related question. Does that mean that as of now, the Government does not intend to aim for the development of relevant legislation by 2020?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no such intention. In any case, the Government constantly strives to implement necessary cybersecurity measures to protect important infrastructure, and there has been no change to that. However, we have no intention of doing specifically what you just mentioned.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to Okinawa. Today, some media outlets reported that Oriental Land, the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, informed government officials that it would consider building a resort hotel in the Industrial Corridor of Camp Zukeran. Have they notified you about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This took place in 2015. On December 8 of that year, the mayor of Ginowan City requested my cooperation with attracting a Disney Resort to the area. Based on this concrete proposal from Ginowan City, the Government hopes to offer its firm support from the standpoint of promoting and developing Okinawa. Be that as it may, in any case, I expect there will be no further developments until we have a more detailed plan for the return of the land.

REPORTER: A related question. So it means that you have not received any notification in particular or that any progress has been made at this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So there was talk about this. As you will find from the news reports at the time, I recall that then Minister Shimajiri and the mayor of Ginowan met with Oriental Land executives.

REPORTER: I have a follow-up question relating to a question I asked during this morning’s press conference. Your announcement that 17 minors were among those who were selected to participate in the Government’s cyber defense training program has brought attention to this news. Can you once again explain the reason for not setting a minimum age limit for the applicants, and whether you intend to continue to accept applications without setting a minimum age limit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: One of our major goals is to foster young personnel. With that in mind, we intentionally avoided setting a minimum age limit in our first attempt at this, and 17 minors were selected as a result. I am sure that cybersecurity requires special skills, so in that sense we did not give any particular thought to setting a minimum age limit for this endeavor.

REPORTER: While there was no lower age limit imposed on applicants, I believe the application requirements stated that applicants had to be 25 or younger and living in Japan. There is said to be a personnel shortage estimated to be in the tens of thousands. Is there any intention to conversely expand the age range when calling for applications in the future?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe we need to consider that based on the results of the ongoing initiative once it has concluded.

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