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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 27, 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 Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(There were statements on the overview of the Cabinet meeting and on the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting.)

In today’s Cabinet meeting it was decided that the Government will receive His Royal Highness the Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg as State Guests from November 27 to 30. During their stay in Japan, there will be a formal welcome ceremony and Their Royal Highnesses will make a state call on Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will host a state banquet in honor of Their Royal Highnesses. Prime Minister Abe and Mrs. Abe will hold a meeting with Their Royal Highnesses and also host a dinner in their honor. The Imperial Family of Japan and the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg have a long history of close and cordial relations. Furthermore, in recent years, bilateral relations have been strengthened, including through the visit by Prime Minister Abe to Luxembourg in 2015, which was the first time for a serving Japanese Prime Minister to make an official visit to Luxembourg. In this year, which marks the 90th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Luxembourg, the Government of Japan sincerely welcomes the state visit by Their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, and hopes that the visit will further strengthen the friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and Luxembourg that have been built in various areas.


REPORTER: I have a question about UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MoW) Programme. It is being reported by some press outlets that the International Advisory Committee (IAC) has recommended that the inscription of documents relating to military comfort women should be postponed. Can I ask the Government’s understanding of the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the documents that have been submitted for review relating to the MoW Programme, it is the case that following the review by the IAC of UNESCO, a final decision on whether to inscribe individual documents is made by the Director-General of UNESCO. At the current point no public announcements have been made by UNESCO about the results of the review by the IAC and I would therefore like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government. I would add that the resolution unanimously adopted by the Executive Board of UNESCO on October 18 calls on all persons at UNESCO to abide by the principles of dialogue, mutual understanding and respect and to avoid further political tensions concerning the MoW Programme. With regard to all documents relating to the MoW Programme, it is the Government’s strong hope that all related parties will respect the resolution of the UNESCO Executive Board and act in accordance with the resolution’s spirit.

REPORTER: You have consistently referred to the need to avoid further political tensions, so if the inscription of the current documents under review is postponed, do you think that this will advance fairness and mutual understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No specific decision has yet been announced. However, I would say that the fact that a resolution has been unanimously adopted that calls for further political tensions to be avoided is of tremendous significance.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning historical issues. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario  in Canada has adopted a motion calling for the designation of a Nanjing Massacre Commemoration Day . This motion was introduced by an assembly member of Chinese descent. Can I ask for a comment from the Government on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government’s recognition is that the content of the motion adopted by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in Canada is inconsistent with the stance of the Government of Japan and that the adoption of this motion risks creating divisions in diverse local communities, including within the Asian community. It is extremely regrettable that such moves have been made at a time when the governments of both Japan and China are working to improve relations. This motion was originally submitted as a bill and was subsequently adopted as a motion without legally binding force. I understand that of the 107 members of the legislative assembly, only 15 members attended the vote to approve the motion.

REPORTER: Although on this occasion it was a motion that was adopted, it is being reported by Xinhua News Agency of China that the assembly member of Chinese descent who introduced the motion has indicated an intention to achieve the passage of a bill on the same subject. How will the Government respond to such moves?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The content of this motion is completely inconsistent with the Government’s stance on this issue and we will continue to monitor the situation to see that there are no further moves on this issue.


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