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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 12, 2018 (PM)

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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]



REPORTER: I have a question about the new policy of the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) regarding the comfort women issue. During the press occasion held this morning at the Prime Minister’s Office, Prime Minister Abe stated to reporters, “We absolutely cannot accept the idea that the ROK would try to unilaterally seek further measures from Japan.” Meanwhile, President Moon Jae-in of the ROK has announced his intention to consult with Japan concerning the handling of the 1 billion yen contributed by the Government of Japan. Could you tell us whether the Government intends to respond to this request from the ROK for consultations about the handling of the 1 billion yen?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated repeatedly, the Japan-ROK agreement regarding the comfort women issue confirms that this issue is resolved finally and irreversibly and therefore the Government cannot accept any such request.

REPORTER: Does the Government see that it will be necessary to hold a Japan-ROK summit meeting in the near future in order to put Japan-ROK relations back on track?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are no such plans at this moment.

REPORTER: This is my first question of the year. Although my hope is that 2018 would be a peaceful year, that seems to be difficult. I have a question concerning China’s recent approaches in the waters around the Senkaku Islands. In February 2001, Japan and China established a mechanism for mutual advance notification concerning maritime survey activities through the exchange of notes. This mutual advance notification mechanism is simpler than that of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding this, the East China Sea was referred to as the “East Sea.” The naming of the Sea of Japan is disputed between Japan and the ROK. Furthermore, other names have also become a source of tension among the countries concerned. What is your view on the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs referred to the East China Sea as the “East Sea”? As this terminology was used in a press release rather than a paper that represents a formal commitment, do you intend to instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to correct the press release?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details. I suggest that you direct your question to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is the government entity responsible for this matter.


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