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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 17, 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 would like to ask a question about the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Today, in talks between the secretary-generals and Diet Affairs Committee chairmen from both the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito, there was shared recognition that efforts should be made to adjust the schedule of the Diet to allow Prime Minister Abe to attend the opening ceremony. What is your response to the secretary-generals of the LDP and Komeito to encourage the attendance of the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Republic of Korea (ROK) has invited Prime Minister Abe to make a visit to the ROK during the Games. Meanwhile, when deciding whether or not the Prime Minister will attend, we must consider various factors such as the schedule of the Diet. Furthermore, the timing at which we will make that decision is not yet determined.

REPORTER: If I may confirm, is it possible that the Prime Minister’s attendance will be decided by factors other than the schedule of the Diet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The schedule of the Diet will of course be the most important factor.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In the recent discussion between the two secretary-generals and two Diet Affairs Committee chairpersons, it was agreed that the schedule of the Diet would be adjusted to allow the Prime Minister to attend the Pyeongchang Games. You have previously stated that the schedule of the Diet will be considered when making a decision. Do you perceive that the right circumstances are now coming together to enable the Prime Minister’s attendance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is difficult to know the schedule of the Diet until the last moment, as it has not yet begun. We will make a decision based on a consideration of various factors, including the Diet schedule.


REPORTER: I believe you received a visit from the Mayor of Sendai City earlier today. Could I please ask the purpose of her visit and what you discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I received an enthusiastic request from the Mayor to consider holding a G20 ministerial meeting in Sendai. There are many reports in the press regarding this matter and I believe she came here with strong determination.

REPORTER: Having received her request, what sort of answer did you provide to Mayor Kori?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I stated that nothing at all has been decided yet.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question regarding the comfort women issue. In a press conference, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the United States stated that there were still things left to be done regarding the comfort women issue. It sounds like he is seeking additional measures regarding the comfort women issue, but are we correct to understand that the policy to not change the Japan-ROK agreement is unwavering between Japan and the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is absolutely unwavering. At the end of 2015, former Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice welcomed and supported the agreement. Additionally, when Secretary of State Tillerson visited Japan in March 2017, he clearly expressed his support for the agreement. In that sense, I believe the United States has consistently supported the Japan-ROK agreement.


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