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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 24, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At today’s Cabinet meeting, a Cabinet understanding was adopted regarding the invitation of H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia for an Official Visit to Japan from August 31 to September 3. During his stay, the Deputy Crown Prince will have an Imperial Audience with His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. In addition, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince and host a dinner for him. Saudi Arabia has the second largest proved reserves of crude oil and crude oil production volume in the world and is the largest crude oil supplier to Japan. The two countries have forged good relations since the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1955. Furthermore, the Japanese Imperial Family and the Saudi Arabian Royal Family have a long history of exchanges. The Deputy Crown Prince is the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Japan expects that the Deputy Crown Prince’s visit to Japan will further deepen the ties and cooperative relations between our two countries.

At around 5:29 AM today, North Korea appears to have launched a ballistic missile in the east-northeast direction from an area near Sinpo in the eastern coast of North Korea. It is estimated that the launched ballistic missile flew approximately 500 km and fell into the Sea of Japan. This is the first time that a North Korean missile was launched from a submarine and reached into Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone. While we are currently analyzing the details, based on a comprehensive assessment of the relevant information, we view that the launched ballistic missile could be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The Government immediately reported this to the Prime Minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary. The Prime Minister instructed three items. In addition, intelligence is being collected at the Countermeasures Office at the Prime Minister’s Office, and a meeting among the directors-general of the relevant ministries and agencies was held from 6:30 AM today. A meeting of the National Security Council will also be held. Today’s launch shows that North Korea’s missile capabilities are improving, and is a dangerous act that not only represents a serious threat to the security of Japan and the region but is extremely problematic from the perspective of the security of aircraft and vessels. The launch is a violation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Japan immediately lodged a strong protest against North Korea through the embassy channel in Beijing. In accordance with the three items instructed by the Prime Minister, the Government will closely coordinate with the relevant countries including our allies the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), including at the UNSC, and urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint. In addition, the Government will take all possible measures for the necessary responses with a sense of urgency to ensure that we can respond to any situation.  

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: North Korea has continued to launch missiles despite Japan’s repeated protests. Does Japan have any intention to further elevate the level of its measures against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are constantly vigilantly monitoring the actions of North Korea. We consider that the Government has an extremely important role to secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. Therefore, we hope to execute the Legislation for Peace and Security and similar measures and steadily address the situation in close coordination with the United States as well as among Japan, the United States, and the ROK.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. Today, it was announced that trainings would begin for the new missions under the security-related legislation. The legislation has been developed, and it is now entering the operational phase. May I first ask you to share your comments in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has been making various preparations to date in connection with the variety of new missions pursuant to the Legislation for Peace and Security that entered into force in March of this year. We have been briefed from the MOD that the preparation work is nearing completion, and therefore, trainings related to the security legislation would be conducted among the respective units of the Self-Defense Forces. Specifically, the units engaged in international peace cooperation operations will be holding the trainings. They will hold the necessary trainings related to the Legislation for Peace and Security, including trainings pertaining to “kaketsuke-keigo” (coming to the aid of geographically distant unit or personnel under attack).

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question regarding a different matter. At today’s Cabinet meeting, I believe it was decided that Japan would contribute one billion yen to the foundation for providing supports for the former comfort women in accordance with the Japan-ROK agreement. Can you once again explain the Government’s opinion of its significance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At today’s Cabinet meeting, it was decided that Japan would pay one billion yen from reserve funds in accordance with the Japan-ROK agreement reached at the end of last year. The Minister for Foreign Affairs will be announcing the details shortly, so I ask that you please wait a while. We perceive that once the payment of funds by the Japanese Government is completed, Japan would have fulfilled its obligations under the Japan-ROK agreement. In any case, we regard that it is extremely important for both countries to continue to implement the Japan-ROK agreement.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Changing topics, today, some media reported that the Counter Terrorism Unit - Japan (CTU-J) would double its personnel from the current 40 people to 80 people by as early as the end of this year. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, key to preventing terrorist attacks is how intelligence is collected and analyzed, and we view this to be pivotal. In this context, Prime Minister Abe instructed that we swiftly strengthen the structure of CTU-J under the direct control of the Prime Minister’s Office and reinforce its intelligence work. The timing and the scale of the personnel increase are now being studied in detail with the relevant ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of the Cabinet Secretariat. Therefore, it is still too early for me to give you any details.

(Abridged)


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