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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 10, 2020 (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 regarding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Today, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s monitoring council has lowered the alert level on the infection situation. It has been decided that the request by Tokyo Metropolitan Government to restaurants, bars, and other establishments to shorten opening hours will also be lifted on September 15. While the level will be lowered from one that has been in place for the previous two months, could you share with us the Government’s view?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware that, as you have noted, the expert council convened by Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to lower the alert level on the infection situation. It is also the case that infections are decreasing gradually nationwide, but unfortunately it will take time to bring the risk of infection down to zero. Working closely together with local governments, the Government intends to continue to increase the level of socio-economic activities in a phased approach, while employing focused infection countermeasures to control the risk of infections.
REPORTER: […] I have a question regarding the Go to Travel Campaign and the timing of adding Tokyo to be eligible under the campaign. Now that the alert level in Tokyo has been lowered, there are some people, including local tourism operators, who are expressing the hope that Tokyo will be added in time for the upcoming long holiday weekend later this month. What is the Government’s view on this point?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, concerning the eligibility of Tokyo under the Go to Travel Campaign, as I have stated before, the Government intends to make a decision based on the epidemiological situation and the views of experts. Today, this will be addressed accordingly, based also on the views of the experts of Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
REPORTER: […] I have a question about U.S.-China tensions. With regard to the situation in the South China Sea, United States Secretary of State Mr. Mike Pompeo has reiterated the U.S. view that China’s claims to most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful. Could you tell us Japan’s position and recognition of the current situation in the South China Sea?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is monitoring with concern the recent actions by China in the South China Sea. The South China Sea issues are directly related to regional peace and stability, and are a legitimate cause for concern for the international community including Japan. Japan strongly opposes any actions that raise tensions in the South China Sea. In addition, Japan has consistently emphasized the importance of the rule of law as well as resolutions by peaceful means, neither by force nor coercion.. Furthermore, as the award of the arbitral tribunal based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is final and legally binding on the parties to the dispute under the provisions of UNCLOS, the parties to this case are required to comply with the award. Japan will continue to cooperate with countries such as the United States in order to protect free, open, and peaceful seas.
REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Northern Territories. Regarding the negotiations on this issue, […] you stated that the Abe administration has endeavored with strong determination to bring an end to this issue and not leave it to the next generation. What specific outcomes do you think the administration has achieved? Also, how would you respond to criticisms that the negotiations have given the Russian side the impression that Japan has in effect shifted its negotiating policy to focus on the return of just two of the four islands?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With respect to the Northern Territories, various outcomes have been steadily achieved based on the agreement reached between the two leaders, including the first sightseeing pilot tour to the Four Northern Islands, and the implementation of grave visits by airplane for three consecutive years for former inhabitants of the Northern Territories. There is no change to the Government’s legal position on the Northern Territories, and we will continue to work tenaciously, based on the basic policy of resolving the territorial issues and concluding a peace treaty.

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