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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 12, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: The ROK media is reporting that North Korea is prepared to conduct another nuclear test. Is the Japanese Government aware of such developments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government continues to coordinate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in urging North Korea to refrain from provocations and comply with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. In addition, to be able to respond to any situation, the Government is undertaking maximum efforts to collect information and to monitor the activities of North Korea with a sense of urgency. The Government is committed to collecting and analyzing information regarding the activities of North Korea from peacetime. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from going into the specifics of our information collection and analysis. That said, the Government is regularly monitoring the activities of North Korea with a sense of urgency to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. If another nuclear test were to be conducted within a short period of time, this is expected to considerably raise military tensions. What does the Japanese Government intend to urge North Korea to do?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Security Council issued a strong press statement stating that it strongly condemns the nuclear test, which is a clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and of the non-proliferation regime, and that it will begin to work immediately to take appropriate measures. Through releasing this statement, Japan is working closely with the countries concerned, such as with the United States or with the United States and the ROK, in taking steady responses to the situation while also seeking the support of countries such as Russia and China.

REPORTER: Regarding this matter, yesterday, in your address in Niigata Prefecture, you stated that the Prime Minister instructed that preparations be made for Japan’s own sanctions. What is the general timeframe you have in mind for imposing these sanctions by Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government is coordinating with the ruling parties in seeking a Security Council resolution that condemns the nuclear test as well as additional strong sanctions. The Government will give adequate consideration to what timing would be most effective, while staying in step with these actions of the Security Council.

REPORTER: My question is about the instructions from the Prime Minister that you spoke about yesterday. If you can share the details can you tell us when the Prime Minister made these instructions and what they entailed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After North Korea conducted its nuclear test, the Prime Minister instructed that preparations be made to be able to implement Japan’s own sanctions measures. To date Japan has been imposing sanctions. The Government is now working to take responses in light of the discussions on these sanctions as well as in coordination with the ruling parties.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the sanctions of the Japanese Government. It already imposes very strong sanctions. Which areas will the Government be focusing on in considering the further strengthening of its sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are currently studying all sorts of possibilities.

REPORTER: A question regarding this matter. In your address yesterday, you expressed alarm over nuclear weapons being miniaturized and mounted on missiles. What is your analysis regarding the level of North Korea’s technological advancements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, while I will refrain from discussing the specifics, it is a fact that North Korea conducted five nuclear tests. In particular, the latest nuclear test was conducted eight months after the test in January. Generally speaking, one assumes from these nuclear tests that a variety of tests are being undertaken to prepare for such things. In any case, while I will refrain from commenting at this point in time, we view that we must be fully alert to this.

REPORTER: As was just mentioned, it has been suggested that North Korea may have successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads to be mounted on ballistic missiles. Accordingly, the threat of a nuclear attack on mainland Japan is becoming a real possibility. In this regard, I believe it will become essential to conduct simulations, including of forecasted damages in the case that Japan’s mainland is subject to attack. Have such simulations of forecasted damages already been made? Or will you be making them? If they have already been made, will they be disclosed to the public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, generally speaking, it is regarded that considerable technological capability is required to miniaturize nuclear weapons and to develop them into warheads. On the other hand, it is believed that countries such as the United States had this technological capability by the 1960s. It is possible to view that compared to other countries, North Korea may have acquired relevant technologies within a relatively short period of time. In addition, as I stated moments ago, it is true that some time has passed since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, and in this regard, it is predicted that North Korea has achieved technological maturity. In any case, to be able to respond to every kind of situation, the Government is steadily monitoring the activities of North Korea with a sense of urgency.

(Abridged)

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