Tokyo, Sept. 8 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the front-runner in the race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, vowed to use his crisis-management capability if he faces challenges on the diplomatic front.
“My strong point is the capability to manage crises,” Suga, who is considered to have little experience in diplomacy, said in an interview with monthly magazine Bungei Shunju.
“Using this capability, I believe I’ll be able to cope with a variety of situations,” he said. The interview will be published in the magazine’s October issue, set to hit the newsstand on Thursday.
Suga stressed the importance of enhancing the Japan-U.S. alliance by fulfilling bilateral agreements, including a plan to relocate a U.S. military base within Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.
“In the sobering world of diplomacy, Japan will be considered to be easy to deal with if it has no close relationship with the United States,” he said.
As an example, he cited a trip by then South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the Takeshima Islands, which are effectively controlled by Seoul but claimed by Tokyo, in 2012, when relations between Japan and the United States were strained.
Suga said that he has requested the U.S. government to release a statement welcoming the 2015 Japan-South Korea agreement to resolve a dispute over so-called comfort women forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.
He also said that Abe was able to make a good start in building friendly relations with U.S. President Donald Trump, as he used the pickup line Suga looked for in advance during their first telephone talks.