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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 13, 2017 (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.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Diet schedules and other circumstances permitting, Prime Minister Abe will visit Kumamoto Prefecture tomorrow, April 14, where he will attend a memorial ceremony for those who lost their lives in the Kumamoto Earthquake and observe the status of recovery and reconstruction of the disaster-affected areas. In addition to visiting affected areas, the Prime Minister is scheduled to exchange opinions with persons affected by the earthquake.

Q&As

REPORTER: A short while ago, at lunchtime today, ministers involved in economic affairs, including Minister of Finance Aso and yourself, met with Prime Minister Abe. Could you tell us specifically what was discussed in the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to today's meeting among ministers involved in economic affairs, exchanges of opinions took place on matters including the current situation of the global economy and of trade and commerce negotiations, as well as the future outlook.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Given that the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue will begin on April 18, did discussions in the meeting cover Japan's approach to this upcoming dialogue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The meeting discussed the current situation and overall concepts. While the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue on April 18 did come up, I would like to refrain from discussing the details.

REPORTER: Setting aside discussions at today's meeting, could you tell us about the Government's approach to the upcoming economic dialogue from April 18 and what kind of outcomes the Government hopes to achieve?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was decided that this economic dialogue led by Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence would be established at Japan's proposal as a means of dramatically enhancing Japan-U.S. relations, and in order for Japan and the United States to lead the robust economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. By further deepening and developing Japan-U.S. economic relations and aiming to realize dynamic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region we intend to demonstrate domestically and globally that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unwavering in economic aspects as well.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. The ministers' meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was held moments ago, and I believe that the situation in North Korea was discussed. Could you tell us what matters were discussed and what items or policies were decided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today in the meeting of the NSC and the four ministers' meeting the situation relating to North Korea was discussed. Although I would like to refrain from discussing the details the NSC meeting synthesized and analyzed information from ministries and agencies concerned with regard to the latest developments in North Korea and regarding signs of provocative actions. Secondly, based on that analysis, discussion took place on Japan's response policy. Thirdly, at the NSC meeting, it was reconfirmed that in preparation for provocative actions by North Korea, the Government will continue to collect information, and engage in monitoring and surveillance, as well as make every effort to ensure the safety and security of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: A related question. The Japanese people are becoming increasingly concerned about the recent North Korean situation. What kind of analysis have you conducted with regard to signs of provocative actions by North Korea, including nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the NSC meeting synthesized and analyzed information from ministries and agencies concerned with regard to the developments in North Korea and regarding signs of provocative actions. I would like to refrain from disclosing the details of such analysis.

REPORTER: I have a final point of confirmation. In terms of signs of provocative actions, what is the Government's view on the possibility that further provocative actions are imminent?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In preparation for further provocative actions by North Korea, the Government is constantly engaged in the collection of information, as well as monitoring and surveillance. We are making every effort to ensure the safety and security of the people of Japan in order to protect their lives and peaceful livelihoods.

REPORTER: The U.S. Forces has dispatched an aircraft carrier to the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula. Did the NSC meeting discuss the scenario of a military strike by the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Information was exchanged regarding the overall situation in North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a related question concerning North Korea's biological and chemical weapons. According to the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea (ROK), North Korea is estimated to possess between 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons, including sarin gas. The President of the ROK has previously stated that North Korea also possesses biological weapons. Could you tell us the Government of Japan's understanding of the current situation and view on the degree of threat such weapons pose?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I will not go into detail. Having said that, the Government considers that North Korea maintains multiple facilities capable of producing chemical weapons and that it already possesses a considerable stockpile of such weapons.

(Abridged)

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