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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 18, 2017 (AM)

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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about the resumption of flights of U.S. military helicopters. Flights of the CH53E helicopter, one of which recently caught fire and made an emergency landing in Okinawa, have resumed. Local residents are strongly opposed to the resumption of flights as the causes of the accident remain unclear, so can I ask for the view of the Government on this matter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: Yesterday, the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa announced that flights of the CH53E helicopter would resume. It is truly regrettable that flights of the CH53E helicopter have resumed today, without sufficient explanation from the U.S. about the basis of their decision with regard to safety aspects. I have received a report from the Ministry of Defense that a Self-Defense Forces member who had been dispatched to Okinawa received some explanation from the U.S. last night, but that the information was insufficient to confirm safety. We will continue to request an explanation from the U.S. In any event, there is no change to the Government’s stance that the CH53E should remain grounded until safety is confirmed. For further details, please direct your questions to the Ministry of Defense.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Chinese Communist Party Congress, which opened today. Attention is focused on how much power will be concentrated in the hands of President Xi Jinping as a result of the Congress, so can you tell us how Japan seeks to build relations with China going forward?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: As you noted, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China convened today. Although I would like to refrain from commenting on activities of political parties in other countries, the Government is monitoring developments at the Congress. I would add that Japan and China, as the region’s two major powers, have a shared large responsibility to ensure the peace and prosperity of the international community. It is therefore necessary for stable and cooperative relations to continue to be built. In particular, with regard to the response to North Korea, we must work closely with China, which is the chair of the Six-Party Talks and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), and accounts for approximately 90 percent of trade with North Korea. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and next year will be the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People’s Republic of China. Although as neighbors we may face some difficult issues, the Government seeks to use these milestone anniversaries as an opportunity to continue to advance friendly relations from a broad perspective under the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests,” responding appropriately to outstanding issues and promoting cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in all areas.

REPORTER: Some people are of the opinion that North Korea could engage in new military provocations during the National Congress of the Communist Party of China. To date have there been any signs that North Korea may be preparing to engage in such actions?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: With regard to developments in North Korea, we are constantly working closely with other countries concerned to collect and analyze information with the greatest concern. Speaking in general terms, the possibility of further provocative actions by North Korea cannot be discounted. Under the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance, the Government will continue to maintain an elevated surveillance and monitoring structure and take all possible measures to protect the safety and security of the people of Japan with a high sense of urgency.

REPORTER: I have a question about the matter in which Japan was deleted from the world map that features on the official website of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, and about which the Government issued a protest to the Republic of Korea (ROK). Although Japan has been reinstated on the Japanese language page of the website, it is still the case that Japan is omitted from the map on pages in other languages. What is the Government’s recognition of this situation and how will you respond?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: I understand that the world map you referred to is currently not viewable on the website. In any event, the Government has made the necessary protests and requests to the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the Government of the ROK and we will continue to respond appropriately.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). ISIL’s self-proclaimed “state” has effectively collapsed. What counter-extremism measures will the Government be advancing from now, including measures to respond to the threat posed by ISIL remnants?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NOGAMI: I am aware of the reports that on October 17, local time, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Raqqa, which has been the base for ISIL in Syria. Since 2014 ISIL has ruled Raqqa, positioning it as its capital, and the Government considers that its liberation represents an important step toward peace and stability in Syria. On the other hand, there are still ISIL-ruled enclaves in Syria and the serious humanitarian situation continues, including countless refugees and internally displaced persons. Japan supports the international community’s fight against terrorism and we will continue to work closely with countries and international organizations concerned in making a non-military contribution in areas such as humanitarian assistance, with a view toward achieving peace and stability in Syria.

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