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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 19, 2017 (PM)

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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 concerning the Northern Territories. Press reports are suggesting that the Governments of Japan and Russia are in the final stages of arrangements to implement grave visits by former residents using airplane travel for the first time on June 18. Could you tell us about the status of the Government’s considerations with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the Japan-Russia summit meeting held in December last year, one of the specific items agreed on was the implementation of special grave visits by former island residents using airplane travel. While coordination is taking place to conduct the visits on a day with good weather during June, I understand that there has not been a decision on the specific schedule or location at this point. We are still carefully arranging the visits while taking into account the wishes of former island residents.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan’s traditional industries, specifically the kimono industry. This industry was said to be worth approximately 2 trillion yen, but it has declined to the extent that production only accounts for one-tenth of that previous figure. In line with that fall in production there are also concerns that the artisanal workforce with the requisite skills to produce kimono is aging and that these traditional skills will be lost. I believe that as part of the Cool Japan policy the Government is seeking to promote the culture of kimono. However, although printed kimono still enjoy wide distribution, the more ancient traditions of silk kimono and dyed kimono are unfortunately continuing to decline. Could you tell us if the Government is considering policies that would promote such industries?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government considers it to be of the utmost importance to ensure the survival and continuation of traditional industries and the artisans that work in such industries. In particular, since the start of this administration the number of foreign visitors to Japan has increased from 8.3 million to 24 million and these foreign visitors have a great interest in Japan’s traditional crafts, including kimono. I believe it is incredibly important to engage in thorough efforts to promote understanding about the wonders of Japan’s crafts to such people. In Kyoto and other cities there are businesses that rent out kimono to foreign visitors, many of whom walk around the streets of the city in traditional dress. The Government would like to continue to strongly support initiatives such as this going forward.

REPORTER: While I certainly understand the importance of tourism-focused measures in this industry, it is also a fact that such initiatives, where people dress as maiko or wear kimono around the city, are creating a costume culture that is totally different to the traditional culture and townscape of old Kyoto. I believe it is Kyoto and local businesses who are promoting such initiatives, but what is the Government’s viewpoint on such matters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it is extremely important for people to have the opportunity to rent traditional dress easily and experience it for themselves. For our part, the Government has fully opened up the Kyoto State Guest House to the public and it is serving as a venue to exhibit the wonderful traditions and cultures of Japan. As textiles are said to be one of the treasures of Japan, we consider that exhibitions, such as those at the Kyoto State Guest House, provide an important opportunity to explain in detail the wonders of Japan, not only to foreign visitors, but also to Japanese people, with a view to promoting renewed recognition of the traditions of Japan.


REPORTER: A senior White House official has indicated that when President Trump makes his first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia this week he will propose an initiative for a multilateral regional security architecture that would become the Middle East version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is thought that this initiative seeks to bring stability to the Middle East and prevent terrorism. Can I ask for the views of the Government of Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any speculative comments on behalf of the Government about the outcomes of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. If I were to say anything further it would be to note that President Trump’s choice of the Middle East as the destination for his first overseas visit would indicate that the Trump administration is focused on Middle East stability and counterterrorism measures. The Government hopes that the President’s visit leads to peace and stability in the Middle East region.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, about the large-scale cyber-attack that began last weekend and has caused significant damage globally, affecting 150 countries, including many hospitals in the United Kingdom, and major communications carriers in Spain. On the other hand, however, immediately after the cyber-attack occurred you announced very quickly that there was no need for concern in Japan. It is certainly the case that in comparison to European countries the damage caused by the cyber-attack has been limited in scale in Japan. What is your analysis as to why this is the case?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point in time, the situation in Japan remains as I initially reported, namely that there has not been any significant damage incurred by lifeline and other major services in Japan arising from this large-scale cyber-attack. With regard to the background as to why this is the case, I do not think I should make any comment that could reveal our policies and measures with regard to cyber security. However, what I would note is that the networks of Japan’s major systems are regularly and appropriately updated with the necessary security measures. In addition, the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) and other related organizations are engaged in thorough monitoring and provide swift and accurate warnings, which is another reason why Japan has not been severely affected on this occasion.

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