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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 9, 2016 (PM)

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.

Ad Hoc Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: North Korea has announced that it has successfully tested a nuclear warhead. Does Government analysis suggest that North Korea has advanced to the stage where it is now capable of producing a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a ballistic missile?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although North Korea has announced that it has implemented a nuclear weapon test in order to determine the power of a nuclear warhead, I would like to refrain from speculating about whether or not it has been able to successfully develop a miniaturized nuclear weapon or a warhead capable of being mounted on missiles. The Government will continue to collaborate closely with the United States and other countries in engaging in detailed analysis of this nuclear weapon test by North Korea and will continue to engage in surveillance and monitoring with a with a sense of urgency in order to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: If that is the case, can the Government not deny the possibility that North Korea has successfully developed a miniaturized weapon or a warhead?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from making any speculative comment about whether or not this is the case.

REPORTER: In recent Japan-U.S. summit telephone talks the Prime Minister has apparently agreed with President Obama to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. Will such strengthened measures be taken in the United Nations, or is the plan for Japan and the United States to strengthen their own sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The aim is to take effective measures, including in the United Nations and also by Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I believe that the cooperation of China and Russia will be essential to complete the encirclement of North Korea. However, sanctions following the nuclear weapon test in January were delayed when these two countries demonstrated a cautious stance. How does the Government intend to proceed on this occasion in order to ensure quick and effective cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to this point, it was also the case that at the time of the previous missile launch by North Korea, China and other countries were very quick to agree with the resolution of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Therefore, in response to a country like North Korea, which has repeatedly violated past UNSC resolutions, the Government would like to respond by engaging in thorough diplomatic efforts, including with China and Russia.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. Following the nuclear test, Mr. Shigeo Iizuka, the head of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, has spoken to the press, indicating that he would like the Government to take a firm response and keep this matter separate from the abductions issue. In this morning’s press conference you stated that the Government would maintain its policy of dialogue and pressure. What are your thoughts about the necessity for continued dialogue with North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given that the abduction issue is a top priority for the Abe administration, the Government is engaged in diligent efforts to achieve results, through a process of dialogue and pressure, and based on the principle of action for action.

REPORTER: So the Government will not be closing the door to dialogue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our position on this point remains the same as it has to date.

REPORTER: In the recent Japan-U.S. summit telephone talks the Prime Minister expressed the strong recognition that there must be consequences of these provocative actions by North Korea. What kind of measures is the Government of Japan considering?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Bearing in mind the need for a new UNSC resolution, the Prime Minister’s comments were based on the vital necessity for the international community to make a resolute response to make it clear to North Korea that its provocative actions will entail consequences.

REPORTER: Given the increasing military threat posed by North Korea, is the Government thinking about strengthening Japan’s military response measures, including maintaining an offensive capability on bases to hit North Korea’s missile bases?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated previously, by engaging in diligent diplomatic efforts in cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea, and also China and Russia, the Government seeks to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the people of Japan. To this end it is of the utmost importance that measures are coordinated in accordance with legislation such as the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets and the Legislation for Peace and Security in order to ensure the security and safety of the people of Japan. This is why, since the inauguration of the Abe Cabinet, the Government has worked to pass such legislation and it is my view that in a situation in which threats are actually increasing, this legislation is playing a major role in ensuring the security and safety of the public.

REPORTER: I have a further question about the abduction issue. You have just stated that there will be no change to the Government’s policy of engaging in dialogue. However, if the Government strengthens its own sanctions against North Korea, this could result in North Korea hardening its own stance. How does the Government intend to maintain dialogue under such circumstances and do you think continued dialogue is possible?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, I believe it is possible.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning Okinawa. You have just had a meeting with Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture, during which the Governor submitted a written request calling for the reduction of the burden of bases on Okinawa and a fundamental revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement. What response did you give to this request and how will the Government respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I recently received a written request from Governor Onaga, who serves as the chairperson of the Council for Promotion of Dezoning and Reutilization of Military Land in Okinawa, concerning measures to promote the resolution of issues pertaining to bases in Okinawa. In addition to requesting that I look at the details in the written request, Governor Onaga referred to efforts to promote the return of bases south of Kadena, the relocation of Futenma Air Station outside the prefecture, the deployment of Osprey aircraft outside the prefecture and measures to prevent reoccurrence of incidents or accidents involving U.S. military personnel. In addition, there were requests from the mayor of Ginoza Village concerning the issue of low-flying U.S. military aircraft and from the mayor of Kin Town, concerning the upgrading of a road used by U.S. Forces. I responded that the Government will respond thoroughly to these requests, based on a policy of doing everything that the Government can possibly do to achieve results in a tangible manner.

(Abridged)

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