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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 30, 2017 (AM)

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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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


Today, prior to the Cabinet meeting, a meeting of the Council for the Promotion of Measures to Combat Trafficking in Persons, was held. The meeting approved the annual report that compiles information about the status of human trafficking and countermeasures taken in the past year. The meeting also confirmed that steady efforts will continue to be made to promote policies that aim to eliminate human trafficking, based on the 2014 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

Also, prior to the Cabinet meeting a joint meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters and the Strategic Council for the Promotion of the Use of Public Data by the Private Sector was held, at which the Declaration to be the World's Most Advanced IT Nation − Basic Plan for the Advancement of Utilizing Public and Private Sector Data were formulated. In addition, this plan was formally approved in the ensuing Cabinet meeting. This is a new plan that is based on the Basic Act on the Advancement of Utilizing Public and Private Sector Data, which entered into force last year. The plan identifies priority sectors, including e-government, health, medical and nursing care, tourism, and agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Furthermore, while pointing out the advantages that would accrue to both the people and businesses, the plan sets out the measures that should be formulated, with 2020 serving as an important target date. The Government through the joint meeting will make concerted efforts towards its realization.


REPORTER: I have a question about North Korea. National media in North Korea are reporting on the successful test launch of a precision guided missile, which is thought to refer to the missile launch that took place yesterday. What is the Government’s analysis of the degree to which North Korea has improved its missile technologies, including their precision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is believed that North Korea has achieved certain advances in missile development, but we are currently analyzing the details and will continue to do so from comprehensive and expert perspectives.

REPORTER: North Korean media has reported a statement attributed to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which it is stated that if Japan continues its hostile actions, North Korea would be forced to reconsider its position of only targeting U.S. bases located in Japan. This is a strong warning message to Japan. How does the Government intend to respond to the increasingly provocative stance being taken by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government has long stated that the threat to Japan of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and operational capabilities has entered a new stage. Japan is responding appropriately to this threat by developing its own ballistic missile defense systems, and working to improve deterrence and response capabilities under Japan-U.S. security structures. Whatever situation may occur, there is absolutely no change to our stance of making every effort to protect the lives and properties of the people of Japan from the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning developments in the United Nations Human Rights Council. A Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council has submitted a draft report on his mission to Japan, which is scheduled to be submitted to the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council. Some media outlets are suggesting that the report calls on the Government to refrain from interfering in the interpretation of historical events in educational material, including about the comfort women issue, and to reconsider the way in which school textbooks are approved. What is the Government’s current understanding with regard to developments relating to the submission of this draft report and the relevant facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is currently engaged in correspondence with the Special Rapporteur concerning the content of the draft report that will be submitted to the Human Rights Council. I would like to refrain from going into the details of the report at the current time. Naturally, in our correspondence with the rapporteur we will be making strong assertions and counterarguments to the sections of the report where such a response is necessary.

REPORTER: So if the reports on this matter can be taken to be true, can we assume that the Government does not accept the contents of the report?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on any hypothetical matters. However, what I would say is that it is standard procedure for the Government to make strong assertions and counterarguments where necessary in such matters.


REPORTER: Mr. Yang Jiechi, State Councilor of China, arrived in Japan yesterday. Can I ask the status of arrangements for a meeting with Prime Minister Abe today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Arrangements for a meeting with the Prime Minister are still in progress.

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