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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Missile launch by North Korea (response by the Japanese Government)
  • Prime Minister's visit to the U.S.

REPORTER: My question is about the Government's response to the missile launch. Interviews conducted by the All-nippon News Network (ANN) have found that from the time of immediately after the launch, the Japanese Government had information of the electronic surveillance aircraft EP-3 of the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) and information of the Aegis destroyer of the United States (U.S.) Forces. It was found also that even after the missile's descent, the Government tracked the debris for ten minutes. Was this reported to you? And if it was, I believe it was inappropriate for the Government to forgo the operation of J-ALERT in order to double check the information. Please tell us your thoughts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will refrain from responding here and now to questions about the operation of the EP-3 of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the cooperative relations with the U.S. Forces. All of the information that was communicated by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) to the Prime Minister's Office is as I have explained to date. The reports that information of some kind was communicated to the Prime Minister's Office - information obtained from EP-3 on North Korea's missile launch - are completely groundless. We are protesting the reports.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have said at Committee meetings and in your press conferences that you obtained information about the launch from a variety of information sources. Do the information sources include the MSDF or the Aegis destroyer of the U.S. Forces in addition to the Satellite Early Warning (SEW) system?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, please fully understand that SEW information is information such as the launch location, which is made known from detecting heat (from the missile), as well as the launch time, launch direction, and predicted descent location. The information that was conveyed by MOD to the Prime Minister, myself, and the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management that I have been speaking about this whole time in the context of the chronology is not SEW information from MOD. Rather, this was very brief information. All it stated was that, "A flying object of some kind appears to have been launched, and it is being confirmed." It cannot be said at all that this is SEW information.

REPORTER: To confirm then, does this mean that the Japanese Government had no information at all of its own regarding the launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Government of Japan obtained its own information regarding the launch - the Japanese Government or MOD, that is, within the Government. Ultimately, MOD synthesized the SEW information and radar tracking information, among other information, and the Government of Japan confirmed or determined that a flying object had been launched. And after some length of time, the Government ultimately confirmed from a variety of information that the missile, which North Korea calls a "satellite," had disappeared from the Tongchang-ri launch pad and was launched.


REPORTER: The Prime Minister's official visit to the U.S. was discussed at this morning's press conference by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Nagahama. Can you briefly explain what the Prime Minister will be announcing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during his official visit to the U.S.? What is the status of the considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: All I can say at this moment is that during his visit to the U.S., the Prime Minister will have comprehensive discussions with President Barack Obama, with a focus on security, the economy, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges in order to further deepen and advance the Japan-U.S. alliance.

REPORTER: Does the Japanese Government wish to further deepen the economic partnership compared to at the stage of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in November?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Comprehensive discussions will take place with the purpose of further deepening and advancing the Japan-U.S. alliance.


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