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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 28, 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: […] Yesterday afternoon, a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) patrol vessel and a Taiwanese fishing vessel collided with each other near the Senkaku Islands of Okinawa. Could you please tell us the sequence of events, particularly with regard to JCG’s response after the collision and the status of Japan’s consultations with Taiwan?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Let me summarize the facts related to the incident. On September 27, 2020, at around 3:07 p.m., a Taiwanese fishing vessel, which was conducting illegal operations in Japan’s territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands, approached and collided with a JCG patrol vessel that was warning the fishing vessel to leave Japan’s territorial waters. Subsequently, at around 4:04 p.m., the fishing vessel left Japan’s territorial waters. Following this incident, the Government immediately protested against Taiwan about this incident in an appropriate manner. The crew of both the patrol vessel and the Taiwanese fishing vessel did not suffer any harm, including injuries, as a result of this collision; I have heard that, while both the Taiwanese fishing vessel and patrol vessel sustained minor damage, this did not interfere with their navigation. The Government of Japan will carry out the necessary investigation and take appropriate responses.
REPORTER: […] A Japan-Russia summit meeting is scheduled to be held in the near future. How does the Government intend to tackle the Northern Territories issue? Will the Suga administration maintain the policies of the Abe administration on this matter?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: First and foremost, the Government is giving due consideration or coordinating summit telephone talks with various countries, including Russia. With regard to our relationship with Russia, there is no change to Japan’s position to prioritize Japan-Russia relations. We intend to further develop overall Japan-Russia relations in a range of areas, such as politics, including the issue of concluding a peace treaty, the economy, and culture, in a way that contributes to national interests. We will thoroughly uphold our basic policy of concluding a peace treaty through the resolution of the territorial issue and continue to make persistent efforts to that end.
REPORTER: […] Saudi Arabia, the G20 Presidency, officially announced that the summit will be held online on November 20 and 21. The response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is expected to be a major theme. At Prime Minister Suga’s first G20 Summit, how does the Government intend to engage in communication and discussions?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Saudi Arabia announced that it has decided to hold this year’s G20 Summit by video teleconference. While we are still coordinating the attendance of Prime Minister Suga, Japan aims to pursue the G20’s clear message that it leads the international community in the response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the recovery of the world economy, the resumption of cross-border travel, and the creation of the international order in the post-corona age.
REPORTER: I would like to ask about the human rights issues in Uyghurs. Amid rising international criticism over the oppression of ethnic minorities by the Communist Party of China in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, President Xi Jinping of China stated that the party’s strategy for governing Xinjiang is completely correct and indicated his intention to reinforce the party’s assimilation policy. Could you please share with us how the Government perceives Mr. Xi’s remarks and China’s policy and tell us once again the Government’s position concerning the human rights issues in Uyghurs? Some media outlets have reported that a visit by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi to Japan is being scheduled. Could you tell us if the Government intends to take such opportunities to communicate its view to China regarding the human rights issues in Uyghurs?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I am aware of the developments in China related to the matter you have just mentioned. Japan considers that the international community, including China, must honor universal values, such as respect for freedom and basic human rights and the rules of law. We closely monitor with concern the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. With respect to Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Japan, nothing has been decided. We have communicated Japan’s position to China at every level, including through such opportunities, and will continue to do so.

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