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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 11, 2018 (PM)

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]

REPORTER: I have a question regarding Japan-China relations. Premier Li Keqiang has concluded his visit to Japan and returned to China. Prime Minister Abe accompanied Premier Li on his visit to Hokkaido, which is an exceptional level of treatment and care. Could you tell us how the Government evaluates the outcomes of Premier Li’s visit in the context of further improving Japan-China relations?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China, visited Japan from May 8 to 11, and he has recently departed for China. This was the first official visit to Japan by a Premier of the State Council of China in approximately eight years, since the last visit in 2010 by Premier Wen Jiabao. On May 9, a Japan-China summit meeting was held, where a total of ten documents relating to cultural, economic and social areas were signed as the outcome of the meeting. Both leaders attended a welcome reception for Premier Li in commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China. Afterwards, they travelled to Hokkaido, where they spent a very close and meaningful time together. Premier Li extended an invitation to Prime Minister Abe to visit China sometime this year and both leaders shared the view to steadily build up high-level exchanges including Prime Minister Abe's visit to China by the end of this year and President Xi Jinping's subsequent visit to Japan. The Government hopes that the visit to Japan by Premier Li will mark the first step towards making the citizens of both countries feel the progress of Japan-China relations, and that it provides impetus to the promotion of exchange and cooperation on all levels and in all areas.
REPORTER: I have a related question. It is still the case, however, that areas of concern between the two countries have not been resolved, including the issues of the Senkaku Islands and the recognition of history.  What does the Government intend to do in order to resolve such issues?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, both Japan and China share responsibility for the peace and prosperity of Asia and the world, including on the North Korean issue. Also, it is the fact that, as Japan and China are neighbors, some difficulties do exist. It is therefore of the utmost importance for the leaders of both countries to engage in frank and candid discussions, like the recent summit meeting. In particular, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China, we intend to seek further improvement in our friendly and cooperative relations from a broad perspective under the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interest,” by properly handling outstanding concerns while also promoting cooperation and exchanges in all areas, and to take our relations to the next level.
REPORTER: I have a question related to the U.S. Forces stationed in Okinawa. Diet members elected from the constituencies in Okinawa and some local media have suggested that if tensions ease on the Korean Peninsula as a result of the Inter-Korean Summit and the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, it could be possible to reduce the size of U.S. Forces in Okinawa. What is the Government’s view of such an argument?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the argument you have just referred to and would like to refrain from making comments on behalf of the Government. In any event, against the backdrop of an extremely severe international security environment, including the North Korean issues, the Japan-U.S. Alliance is a treaty of the utmost importance to Japan and it is essential to continue to fully ensure the safety and security of the people of Japan, while engaging in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation.
REPORTER: I have a question about Malaysia, where Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad has been sworn in as the Prime Minister. During his previous tenure as Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir was known for his pro-Japan views, introducing the “Look East” policy. As China’s influence in East Asia is increasing, there are also calls for Malaysia to demonstrate leadership within ASEAN. Could you comment on the election result and share Japan’s hopes following the outcome?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A general election for the House of Representatives of Malaysia was recently held, in which the opposition coalition secured the majority of seats. As the result, former Prime Minister Mahathir was inaugurated for his new term on May 10. Malaysia is a country with which we share traditionally friendly ties, and we have built a strong bilateral relationship over the years, utilizing various opportunities such as last year’s 60th anniversary of the establishment of Japan-Malaysia diplomatic relations. Working with newly-inaugurated Prime Minister Mahathir, we will continue to promote our cooperation in various areas, including our response to regional issues, based on our strategic partnership.
REPORTER: I would like to ask about the date of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, which has been set for June 12, immediately after the G7 Summit. Given that the G7 Summit will be taking place just before the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, it will provide an important opportunity to call on the United States prior to it. Could I ask how the Government perceives the opportunities provided by the G7 Summit? Could you tell us what kind of message the Government would like to convey to the U.S. at the G7 Summit, including a bilateral summit meeting which may be held in the margins of the G7 Summit?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government welcomes that the arrangements towards the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting have been progressing. We hope that the actions to be taken by North Korea would be shown in a more concrete manner and that the future path forward toward denuclearization would become clearer in the summit meeting. The summit meeting is scheduled to take place after the G7 Summit and Japan will provide maximum support to the United States, while thoroughly conveying our position at various opportunities.

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