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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The nuclear test by North Korea
  • Statement by G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
  • The abduction issue
  • The status of wrestling in Olympics Games

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding North Korea's nuclear test. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea hinted at the possibility of going ahead with another nuclear test. Is this being deemed a possibility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not in a position to comment on the statement made by North Korea. However, we are on constant alert.


REPORTER: This morning, telephone talks were held between Prime Minister Abe and President Lee Myung-bak. During this occasion, they confirmed that the two countries will work together towards a new resolution of the United Nations (UN) Security Council, which will include strengthened sanctions against North Korea. To realize this, the cooperation of China will inevitably become essential moving forward. In this regard, what are the prospects of being able to obtain China's cooperation in your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, we believe it is critical that the Security Council swiftly adopts this resolution, which includes stronger sanctions. To do this, we naturally need to work closely together with the countries concerned, including China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the United States (U.S.). Therefore, within the international community, Japan is now working hard to move these processes forward.

REPORTER: In relation to this, yesterday, Japan announced that it is considering unilateral sanctions. My question regards the relationship between additional Japanese sanctions and Security Council discussions. If Japan were to newly impose additional sanctions, will this decision be made bearing in mind or upon waiting for the Security Council discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, Japan is now considering further sanctions, while taking into account the moves of the international community, including the Security Council, and other such developments.

REPORTER: In terms of the coordination of the international community, the Six-Party Talks have existed as a framework for international cooperation. Some people point out that this framework is losing its efficacy. What is your view regarding the effectiveness of the Six-Party Talks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Six-Party Talks are, in a sense, a framework that brings together the respective countries concerned that wish to find a way to peacefully resolve the issues of North Korea, and therefore, I hope that the framework will continue to be fully leveraged. However, realistically speaking, thorough responses will be taken while also making use of bilateral and trilateral frameworks.

REPORTER: In your description of the Japan-U.S. coordination, yesterday you stated that separate arrangements are being made for the Japan-U.S. telephone talks. Does this mean that it is difficult for the talks to be held today? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The arrangements are currently being made. Due to the time difference, the time of the talks had not been finalized. This is now being worked out.


REPORTER: For example, specifically, what is your opinion regarding the possibility or need for five-party talks, excluding North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Without limiting ourselves to five-party talks, I believe it is necessary to continue to hold all kinds of effective meetings and talks, including bilateral, or as I mentioned a short while ago, trilateral.


REPORTER: Changing the subject, I would like to ask a question regarding the statement issued by the G7 yesterday. Concerning the interpretation of the statement, which said that exchange rates will not be targeted, some analysts evaluate this as a green light for "Abenomics," including monetary easing. On the other hand, some analysts point out that the statement is aimed at containing Japan, which has been weakening its currency. Does the Japanese Government view the content of this statement to mean that the G7 has indicated a certain level of understanding with regard to the economic policies of the Abe administration, which promotes monetary easing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With respect to the announcement of this statement, I understand that the announcement was made, as the G7 felt that it should make its views known ahead of the G20 meeting, which had been scheduled from the start for February 15 and 16 on the anticipated theme of exchange market movements and the fiscal and monetary policies of each country. I believe in this statement, the G7 members affirmed that their fiscal and monetary policies will remain oriented towards meeting their domestic objectives and not target exchange rates.

REPORTER: With respect to North Korea's nuclear issue, I would like to ask a question regarding its link to the Abe Cabinet's aim of resolving the abduction issue. What kind of impact will the latest nuclear test have on the progress of the resolution of the abduction issue? Also, I believe that the Government will be advancing negotiations with North Korea through both dialogue and pressure. In this regard, how will the Government monitor the moves of North Korea while resolving the abduction issue? How will the Government be dealing with this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While this will be an extremely difficult matter, our basic stance is dialogue and pressure. Therefore, in the context of the latest nuclear test, we hope to find even a partial path to resolving the abduction issue, while working with the international community and applying pressure on North Korea. With this in mind, the path to dialogue is also always available.

REPORTER: With regard to the advancement of Japan-North Korea consultations, does Japan intend to continue holding them?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, we believe it is extremely critical that the international community applies pressure on North Korea while always leaving open a path for resolving the abduction issue. Therefore, in tandem with these measures, we will work hard to repatriate the abductees while always leaving open a path for resolving the abduction issue.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding wrestling. The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has selected wrestling as a candidate event to be removed from the 2020 Games. I presume this will also have an impact on Japan's efforts to host the Games in Tokyo. What are the thoughts of the Government and how will it be responding?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe wrestling was indeed, in a sense, one of the events that Japan excels at. Female wrestlers have done very well, including Ms. Saori Yoshida, who received the National Honor Award. Male wrestlers have likewise won gold medals, and in this sense, it is an extremely familiar sport. It is said that wrestling is also the world's oldest sport, and it has been one of the events since the 1st Olympic Games. As such, I believe this decision is very regrettable. However, I understand that the final decision will be made at the IOC General Assembly in September, and so we will fully watch over the efforts of those concerned so that wrestling stays in future Olympics, and Japan will make appeals for this.

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