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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 11, 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: […] Later today, Prime Minister Abe is expected to issue a statement on a new security policy following the suspension of the Aegis Ashore plan. With regard to the possession of enemy-base strike capability, the statement is expected to urge the relevant stakeholders to coordinate with the ruling parties. Could you share with us the Government’s view on the significance and objective of the statement?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The security environment does not permit any vacuum in Japan’s defense policy, and to date the National Security Council has engaged in thorough discussions. However, at this press conference, I would like to refrain from responding specifically when a conclusion will be reached. In any event, there is no change in the Government’s intention to continue engaging in thorough discussions on the directions of national security, within the scope of the existing Constitution and under an exclusively defense-oriented policy, while also taking into account the discussions of the ruling parties, including the recent proposal from the Liberal Democratic Party.
REPORTER: Could you please share the view of the Government regarding the origin of the novel coronavirus? In addition, please also tell us its view on the responsibility of the Chinese government, which has been criticized for its delayed response.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is known that the novel coronavirus originated in China. Meanwhile, we are also aware that a variety of countries and international organizations are conducting studies of the disease, including its origin and transmission routes. To make the international community’s responses effective going forward, Japan will proactively cooperate with the review process of the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the initiatives taken by China so far and the initial response of WHO.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and the UK. The two countries have just reached an agreement in principle. Could you please share with us the significance of the agreement and the Government’s thoughts?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This agreement establishes a new framework for trade and investment between Japan and the UK to substitute for the Japan-EU EPA, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. If the agreement is enacted by the end of this year, when the transition period after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU comes to an end, it will maintain the benefits that Japan enjoyed under the Japan-EU EPA and ensure the business continuity of Japanese companies. In addition, this is expected to be an agreement of high standard that will lead to the further promotion of trade and investment between our two countries. I believe that the agreement will serve as an important foundation for further strengthening and deepening the good relations between Japan and the UK.
REPORTER: I have a question related to the Senkaku Islands. Today marks exactly eight years since the “nationalization” (acquisition of the ownership) of the Senkaku Islands. The Abe administration did not station civil servants or build a pier on the Senkaku Islands, which Prime Minister Abe stated he would consider. Could you please once again explain the reasons why such measures were not implemented? Please also tell us the Government’s view on whether it is necessary to continue its consideration of measures such as stationing civil servants there, under the new administration after the Abe administration.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law, and are under the valid control of Japan. Against this backdrop, there are various options in terms of concrete measures for stably maintaining and managing the Senkaku Islands and the surrounding waters, and the Government will make a decision from a strategic perspective over which options to take. I will refrain from presuming the specific policies of the new administration. In any event, I expect that it will make a decision taking into account this fundamental view.

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