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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 18, 2020 (AM)

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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 about the Go to Travel Campaign. Reservations for travel to and from Tokyo (to be eligible under the campaign) are set to be made possible at noon today. Could you tell us about the Government’s expectations for the effect of travel to and from Tokyo? Are there any concerns over the potential spread of infections due to the accelerated movement of people and, should infections spread, would the Government postpone it? Please share the Government’s view on these points.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: With the addition of travel to and from Tokyo to be eligible under the Go to Travel Campaign, it is anticipated that the total number of travelers using this campaign will increase. By promoting and establishing a new style of travel, which is safe and secure, and recovering lost tourism demand, spillover effects from the tourism industry to local economies and society as a whole are anticipated. The sale of discounted products (under the campaign) for travel to and from Tokyo is scheduled to begin at noon today. I understand that if there were to be a significant increase in the number of infections, the Government as a whole will make a decision whether or not to postpone the addition of Tokyo, or whether or not to exclude it again after it has been included. The Government would like to ask everyone who will be traveling, with or without using the Go to Travel Campaign, to continue to take thorough preventive measures, such as wearing masks, not talking too much in vehicles, and checking their health every morning, or refraining from going outside if their body temperature is high. We will continue to closely monitor the epidemiological situation with a due sense of caution. With respect to possible response, including the medical treatment structure, we have announced a series of measures going forward and we intend to enhance our response in line with that direction.
REPORTER: […] Tomorrow, September 19, will mark the fifth anniversary of the enactment of Japan’s Legislation for Peace and Security. Could you share with us the Government’s view on the significance of the enactment of this legislation, including the impact it has had over the past five years on Japan-U.S. relations?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: The Government recognizes making seamless responses to any situations to secure the lives and peaceful livelihood of the Japanese people as its own duty. In 2015, almost exactly five years ago, the Legislation for Peace and Security was enacted. Since then, the Japan-U.S. alliance, which serves as a linchpin of Japan-U.S. relations, has become stronger than ever before, and the deterrence and response capabilities of the alliance have also been enhanced. This is contributing significantly to not only bilateral relations but also regional peace and stability. It has also enabled Japan to make a proactive contribution to the peace and stability of the international community. To cite some specific examples, since putting the legislation into effect, Japan has built up a track record of completing missions based on the Legislation for Peace and Security one by one while conducting necessary training, including the protection of weapons and other equipment of the U.S. and other countries’ armed forces, the provision of supplies and services to the U.S. Armed Forces, the authorization of “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid of a geographically distant unit or personnel under attack), and the dispatch of staff personnel to the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Headquarters in the Sinai Peninsula. The Government will continue to effectively implement the Legislation for Peace and Security and, as I have just mentioned, make seamless responses to any situations to secure the lives and peaceful livelihood of the Japanese people.  
REPORTER: […] I have a question about the Senkaku Islands. Mr. NAKAYAMA Yoshitaka, Mayor of Ishigaki City, stated in the city assembly on September 17 that he wants to seek the acceleration of moves to develop facilities such as a lighthouse and radio relay station on the Senkaku Islands. In addition to the development of such facilities, there are other people calling for or taking action towards the permanent stationing of national public servants on the islands, or for surveys to be implemented in waters around the islands. How does the new administration view such developments and what measures does the Government itself intend to advance in order to further strengthen valid control over the islands?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Firstly, 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. There is absolutely no change to this recognition. There are various opinions being voiced and various options in terms of concrete measures for stably maintaining and managing not only the Senkaku Islands but also the surrounding waters. As the Government has stated before, we must make a decision from a strategic perspective over which options to take. We will continue to implement policies based on such a perspective.
REPORTER: I have a question about defense expenditure. U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has stated in a speech that he urges allies and partners, including Japan, to increase defense spending to at least 2% of GDP. As Japan’s current defense expenditure is 0.9% of GDP, can I ask you to comment on the statement made by Secretary Esper?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I am aware of Secretary Esper’s comments through media reports and other sources, and my understanding is that he was speaking in general terms about the division of labor between the United States and its partners. As such, I will refrain from making any specific comment about each such individual statement. Japan has developed and will continue to develop our defensive capabilities based on the concepts of enhancing Japan’s defensive capabilities and expanding the roles that Japan can fulfil, and in accordance with the stipulations of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium Term Defense Program, in order to protect the lives, persons and properties of Japanese nationals and territorial land, waters and airspace.

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