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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 18, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

Various circumstances permitting, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia from May 24 to 27. Prime Minister Abe is to hold a Japan-Russia summit meeting in Moscow on May 26. In addition, the Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on May 25, and the opening ceremony of the Japan-Russia exchange year in Moscow on May 26. Furthermore, arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Abe to attend a ceremony held by Akita Inu Hozonkai (Akita-Inu Preservation Society)  in Moscow on May 26 to present an Akita Inu (Japanese Akita) to Alina Zagitova, a gold medalist in figure skating at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. All other details regarding the schedule are currently being arranged.

REPORTER: You have just mentioned that arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Abe to attend a ceremony to present an Akita Inu to Ms. Zagitova in Russia. Does that mean that the Prime Minister himself will present the Akita Inu to Ms. Zagitova?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details. Arrangements are currently being made for the Prime Minister to attend the Akita Inu presentation ceremony which Akita Inu Hozonkai is to host. I expect that the Prime Minister will be observing the event.
REPORTER: I have a related question. What topics does the Government intend to prioritize as the primary focus of the upcoming Japan-Russia summit meeting?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I expect a wide range of issues would be discussed, including the North Korean issues, economic issues, security issues, as well as the economic cooperation that Japan and Russia are currently undertaking and the conclusion of a peace treaty by resolving the issue of the attribution of the four Northern Islands in a manner that serves national interests.
REPORTER: I have a related question. Regarding the issue of the attribution of the Northern Territories, we haven’t seen much progress despite a great number of meetings being held. What is your view concerning this point?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the Japan-Russia summit meeting in December 2016, the two leaders expressed their sincere determination to resolve the peace treaty issue, and agreed to commence negotiations for undertaking joint economic activity on the four Northern Islands within legal frameworks that will not harm the positions of either side. The Government will make every effort to resolve the issue of the Northern Territories and conclude a peace treaty, based on the future-oriented concept of Japan and Russia jointly shaping the future vision for the four Northern Islands and finding solutions that are acceptable to both sides.
REPORTER: I have a related question. What role will you seek from Russia for the denuclearization of North Korea?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will firmly convey the Government’s position to Russia and request its cooperation.
REPORTER: There is a series of reports that the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) will launch a research institute related to comfort women and carry out systematic studies of the comfort women issue. I believe this is contrary to the comfort women agreement of 2015. Has the Government of Japan approached the ROK Government in regard to this matter?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details. Since the Japan-ROK Agreement is an agreement between two countries, it is only natural that both parties should thoroughly fulfill their responsibility and we urge the ROK to do so.
REPORTER: Furthermore, there are some reports that in mid-August, the ROK Government is expected to open a space in the national cemetery to mourn comfort women. Additionally, there are also some reports that the ROK Government is to support an exhibition by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Service by Japan to be held on August 15. In this way, there have been a succession of acts that violate the comfort women agreement. Did this stance of the ROK Government lead to the removal of the phrase “most important neighbor” from the Diplomatic Bluebook 2018?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Japan-ROK Agreement was agreed between our two countries, we consider that both countries have a responsibility to strictly adhere to that agreement.

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