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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 17, 2017 (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: I would like to ask about the ballistic missile launch by North Korea. Yesterday, one ballistic missile was launched, which exploded immediately afterwards. What is your analysis of North Korea's goal in daring to conduct a missile launch while the United States increases its pressure on the country?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the U.S. Pacific Command has announced that North Korea launched one ballistic missile from an area near Sinpo on the eastern side of North Korea on April 16 at 6:21 AM Japan time, which exploded soon after launch. With regard to developments in North Korea, I would like to refrain from disclosing individual, concrete details due to the nature of the matter. Japan works closely with the United States from peacetime, and shares the same understanding as the United States, upon comprehensively taking into account the various information that has been gathered thus far. In any case, regarding the recent incident, we have determined that the object in question was not a projectile that would have reached Japan, and therefore, has no immediate impact on the security of Japan. The Government will continue to cooperate closely with the relevant countries, including the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), in strongly urging that North Korea exercises self-restraint. In addition, the Government will take all possible measures with a sense of urgency by maintaining advanced surveillance mechanisms, including collecting the necessary information on the actions of North Korea, in order to protect the lives and assets of the Japanese people in any situation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Tomorrow, Vice President Pence of the United States will visit Japan, and a meeting with the Prime Minister is planned. Will discussions be held on the response to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given that the incident has just occurred, I would like to refrain from making speculative comments. I gather that all kinds of matters will be discussed during the entire meeting, including security.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. Some believe that today's ballistic missile launch by North Korea was a provocative act that was timed to coincide with Vice President Pence's visit to the ROK. What is the Government's view in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is not in a position to give speculative responses with regard to North Korea's goals or intentions behind today's ballistic missile launch.

REPORTER: It can also be construed that North Korea demonstrated its stance of not yielding to U.S. pressure. What approaches does the Japanese Government regard are necessary to further strengthen the international community's posture towards North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan considers it vital that it cooperates closely with the relevant countries, including the United States and the ROK, and at the same time, engages in various diplomatic efforts with China, Russia and the United Nations to deter the provocations of North Korea.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I believe you met with Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shiozaki a short while ago. What sort of discussions were held on the bill to revise the Health Promotion Law for the prevention of passive smoking?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I received an explanation from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare regarding the current status of the coordination work. Measures to address passive smoking are important in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and I asked the Minister to take the lead in fully coordinating with the political parties to compile the bill.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The World Health Organization (WHO) is requesting a total ban on indoor smoking in the lead-up to the Olympics, which also came up in the previous question. It seems the Tobacco League Association of the Liberal Democratic Party and others are quite opposed to the current revision bill. What are the Government's thoughts on a total ban on smoking in public areas?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is now at the stage of working to implement effective measures to prevent passive smoking with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare playing a leading role, while referring to the opinions of the WHO and the measures of past host countries and so on.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. What is your outlook on the submission of the bill to revise the Health Promotion Law to the Diet and its passage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A concrete revision bill will be considered in coordination also with the ruling parties in order to submit it to the Diet.

(Abridged)

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