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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 10, 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 on a different topic. In the election for the Naha Municipal Assembly that was held yesterday, supporters of Governor Onaga lost two seats, resulting in the Governor losing his majority. Can I ask for the Government’s analysis and views with regard to this result?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from commenting on the results of a local election. However, speaking in general terms, I believe that the major focuses of the election campaign for local residents were the local economy and improvements in people’s lives. My understanding is that voters made a decision based on such perspectives.

REPORTER: I have a related question. This latest result follows on from three consecutive losses for Governor Onaga in mayoral elections that have been held in Okinawa this year. Next year the Nago City mayoral election is due to be held, and Nago City is the site for the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma. The gubernatorial election for the prefecture is also due to be held next year. I believe that recent trends in election results may to a certain extent reflect the views of the people of Okinawa. What is your analysis?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, I believe that the results of mayor and municipal assembly elections have been decided based on residents’ views with regard to local issues.

REPORTER: I have one more question. Governor Onaga has emphasized that he will seek to block the relocation of MCAS Futenma to Henoko in Nago City and is prepared to engage in a court battle. What impact do you think that this will have on the relocation to Henoko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Supreme Court of Japan has already rendered its judgment in this case. The Government hopes that Governor Onaga will respond in accordance with the terms of the settlement that was reached.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. Given that this latest election result follows on from three previous defeats for Governor Onaga, do you consider that political currents in Okinawa have changed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, I believe that the people of Okinawa made a judgment based on local issues. Is it not the case that the economy of Okinawa is performing extremely well? The effective ratio of job offers to applicants in Okinawa is also at the highest-ever level of 1.1, in stark contrast to a ratio of 0.43 at the start of this administration.


REPORTER: Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq announced on July 9 that Iraqi Security Forces have gained victory over ISIL and have liberated Mosul. In response to this announcement, President Macron of France, a nation that is a member of the coalition against ISIL, has issued a statement. Can I ask for a comment from the Government on the announcement by Iraq?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, my understanding is that Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq visited Mosul on July 9, where he announced that victory in Mosul is assured, and that the last remnants of ISIL forces are now surrounded and that it is just a matter of time before a great victory by the people of Iraq is announced, although total victory has yet to be accomplished. This is the region where the formation of ISIL was declared and therefore the liberation of Mosul, which was a major stronghold for ISIL, is an important step for peace and stability in Iraq. As I have just noted, there are still areas in Iraq that are under the control of ISIL, in addition to which a serious humanitarian crisis is continuing, including the influx of a huge number of internally displaced persons. Japan supports the international efforts to fight against terrorism, and is determined to continue to leverage our national strengths in making the utmost contributions in non-military fields such as humanitarian aid while coordinating closely with the Government of Iraq, relevant countries, and international organizations, in order to restore peace and stability in Iraq.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Estimates by the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) have made clear that in 2016 Chinese fishing vessels took between 300,000 and 400,000 tons of mackerel on the high seas in the North Pacific Ocean close to Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). There is a possibility that the volume of fish landed is more than twice the amount reported by China last year. Can I ask how the Government will respond to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government believes that the difference in these figures is due to differences between the actual catch and estimates and also due to illegal fishing. In response, we will continue to request that China provide accurate reports of the volume of fish caught, in addition to which we also consider it necessary to implement a detailed survey, by such means as an assessment by the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC). The NPFC is due to meet from July 13 and this is a matter that is scheduled to be discussed in the meeting. The Government will continue to cooperate with countries and regions concerned and take the lead in implementing appropriate measures to strengthen national resource management efforts.

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