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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 18, 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 the recommendation of the United Nations which requested the revision of the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) concerning the comfort women issue. In your press conference this morning, you responded that the Government’s response was still being coordinated. Is it correct to understand that the Government is coordinating in the direction of making an objection?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is internally studying what our exact response will be. We are studying aspects such as what kind of response would be most effective.

REPORTER: You stated that the Government is considering how it will respond. Which items in the recommendation does the Government have an issue with?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to this issue, the Committee against Torture issued its recommendation upon its examination of the reports of the ROK. The recommendation was issued for the ROK Government and has no legal binding force. Against this backdrop, we consider it is important that Japan and the ROK implement this agreement, which was reached between the two countries and is valued by the international community. It is essential that we continue to fully explain Japan’s position to the international community, including the Committee.

REPORTER: It has come to light that recently, a maritime survey vessel of the ROK was conducting operations in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Takeshima without the consent of Japan. Japan’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs lodged a protest against the ROK. However, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK has objected, stating that the ROK did not need to obtain the prior consent of Japan and cannot accept the protest of Japan. Can you please share the comments of the Government of Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Through diplomatic channels, we have repeatedly and strongly protested to the ROK that it cannot accept ROK vessels drifting inside Japan’s territorial waters, as well as implementing maritime scientific surveys in Japan’s EEZ without the prior consent of Japan, and that such activity must be stopped immediately. In addition, in the waters, patrol vessels of the Japan Coast Guard communicated to the maritime survey vessel that survey activities without the permission or consent of Japan cannot be permitted. I have been briefed that the counterpart responded that they would check the facts.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the G7 Summit. The G7 Summit will be held in Taormina in Italy in one week’s time. Which issues does the Government want on the agenda, and what outcomes does the Government hope to see from the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, at this year’s Summit,
leaders who will be attending for the first time will be welcomed, and open and frank discussions will be held among leaders regarding how global economic growth will be driven and how urgent issues will be dealt with, including the issues of North Korea. The basic view of Japan is that, as the country that held the G7 presidency last year and as a driving force within a free, open, and rules-based international community, Japan will send out a strong message and actively lead the discussions.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You just mentioned that Japan would like to see on the agenda, items such as how global economic growth will be driven and the issues of North Korea. In what way does Japan wish to contribute on these issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated, Japan will help form a consensus among the G7 leaders and fulfill a leader role. As this year’s Summit will be attended by new leaders in particular, Japan will work steadily to form a consensus.

REPORTER: I have one more related question. I recall that previously, when Prime Minister Abe visited Italy in March and held talks with the Prime Minister of Italy, the two leaders agreed that at the Summit the G7 would issue a message on fighting against protectionism. On the other hand, the Trump administration of the United States, a G7 member, has the “America First” policy. Does Japan intend to play an intermediary role? In what capacity will Japan be discussing the issue of economics?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Moments ago I stated that Japan hopes to demonstrate strong leadership as a driving force of the free, open, and rules-based international community. It is important that Japan steers the discussions at the G7 Summit in this direction, from this standpoint.

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