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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 13, 2017 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: President Trump of the United States has announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Can I ask for a comment from the Government about this announcement and what the response will be?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: I am aware that it has been announced that the United States will withdraw from UNESCO. There was a statement issued on October 12 by the Department of State of the United States that the decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns over the need for fundamental reform in the organization and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO. This is a decision made by the Government of the United States and as such I would like to refrain from making any comment on behalf of the Government of Japan. I understand, however, that U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018 and that the United States will maintain a relationship with UNESCO as a non-member observer state. The Government will continue to cooperate with the U.S. on UNESCO.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Political biases at UNESCO have been noted, including the decision to inscribe documents submitted by China relating to the “Nanjing Incident” on the Memory of the World Register. In addition, some people have noted the possibility that documents relating to the war-time comfort women may also be inscribed. There are reports that Israel may follow the United States in withdrawing from UNESCO, so is there a possibility that Japan also will consider withdrawal from the organization?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: This is a matter that has been decided by the Government of the United States and it has no impact on the Government of Japan’s policy with respect to UNESCO. However, we have consistently worked to ensure that all UNESCO programs, including the Memory of the World Register, are implemented in accordance with the original intent and purpose behind the establishment of UNESCO, namely to promote friendship and mutual understanding among member countries. We will continue to work determinedly to that end.

REPORTER: If it were to be the case that documents relating to the comfort women issue were to be inscribed on the Memory of the World Register, would the Government be prepared to withdraw from UNESCO?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: I would like to refrain from responding to a hypothetical question. I would reiterate that the Government will continue to work to promote the original intent and purpose behind the establishment of UNESCO.

REPORTER: Once the United States withdraws, it will likely be the case that Japan will become the top contributor to UNESCO. How does the Government intend to proceed with initiatives to reform UNESCO and how will the Government exert leadership in various areas?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: As I have already noted, we will work to ensure that all UNESCO programs, including the Memory of the World Register, are implemented in accordance with the original intent and purpose behind the establishment of UNESCO, namely to promote friendship and mutual understanding among member countries.

REPORTER: Could you tell us whether Japan’s contributions for this year have been paid?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: Japan’s contributions for the previous fiscal year were paid in December 2016. With regard to the timing of payment of contributions for this fiscal year, the Government will make a decision taking various perspectives into comprehensive consideration.

REPORTER: On the topic of the draft resolution on the total elimination of nuclear weapons that the Government of Japan submits each year to the United Nations General Assembly, it is being reported that this year’s draft resolution makes no mention of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This clearly puts Japan at odds with the countries that are seeking to promote the treaty, so can I ask for a comment from the Government on this point?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: On October 11, Japan submitted a draft resolution entitled “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.” Against the backdrop of the unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, and also the clear differences in countries’ approaches to nuclear disarmament, this year’s draft resolution presents a realistic and practical approach for the reestablishment of mutual cooperation and trust within the international community and ways in which the international community can move forward together. The Government hopes that this draft resolution will raise momentum toward the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons. With regard to reference to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the content of the draft resolution submitted by Japan is currently being circulated among U.N. members and I would ask that you direct your question to the relevant section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for details. However, the draft resolution notes that there are various approaches toward the realization of a world free of nuclear weapons and emphasizes the importance of reestablishing mutual trust in the international community and engaging together toward the realization of nuclear disarmament. Although the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons differs from Japan’s approach, it is one of the various approaches referred to in the draft resolution. Given these various approaches, Japan is focused on acting as a bridge between nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states and seeking common ground.


 

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