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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, April 25, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting today, the Minister of the Environment made a statement concerning the implementation of this year's "Cool Biz." The Government will implement "Cool Biz" from May to the end of September, the same period as last year. In addition, in October, we will urge people to appropriately manage the room temperature on hot days and to wear light clothing based on their own judgement. Furthermore, the Minister of State for Okinawa Affairs requested the cooperation of Cabinet members in adding the Okinawan "Kariyushi shirt" as one of the "Cool Biz" options.

In today's Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an official visit to Japan by President Macri of the Argentine Republic from May 18 to 20. During his stay in Japan, the President will make a state call on Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe will hold a Summit meeting and host a dinner in his honor. Japan and Argentina have built a relationship of friendship and cooperation over many years as partners both bilaterally and in the international arena. In November 2016, Prime Minister Abe made the first visit to Argentina by a sitting prime minister of Japan in 57 years. We expect that this visit to Japan by the President of Argentina, which is the first in 19 years since 1998, will further deepen the bond and cooperative relationship between our two countries.

Q&As

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the North Korea issue. Today is the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army of North Korea, and there are speculations that North Korea might conduct a new provocative act. What does the Japanese Government know with regard to signs of such a provocative act, and what is the Japanese Government's response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government strives to collect and analyze information regarding North Korea's nuclear and missile-related developments with serious concern. Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on the individual, concrete details. That said, the Government will in any case continue to cooperate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative acts and comply with the relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions. In addition, we are maintaining an advanced monitoring and surveillance system to protect the lives and properties of the Japanese people, and are taking all possible measures to secure the peace and security of Japan with a sense of urgency to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. A meeting of the leading officials participating in the Six-Party Talks will begin among Japan, the United States, and the ROK today. What kind of outcomes do you expect from the discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, a meeting will be held in Tokyo  among the leading officials attending the Six-Party Talks of Japan, the United States, and the ROK. Director-General Kanasugi of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau will serve as chairman. In this meeting as well, there will be an exchange of views regarding the recent situation in North Korea, and discussions will take place concerning the way to cooperate among Japan, the United States, and the ROK. The Government would like to carefully make policies in alignment with those discussions among the three.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. North Korea has repeatedly conducted provocative acts shortly before or after the dates of critical turning points. Do you think it is highly likely that North Korea will conduct some sort of provocative act this time as well?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government, as I stated earlier, is closely following North Korea's nuclear and missile-related developments with the greatest concern, and is collecting and analyzing information. Furthermore, the Government is taking all possible measures to protect the lives and properties of the Japanese people.

REPORTER: I have another related question. Is the Japanese Government aware of what response the Trump administration of the United States will take in the event North Korea conducts a further provocative act?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, the United States, and the ROK are cooperating closely with each other.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of the meeting between the leading officials attending the Six-Party Talks of Japan, the United States, and the ROK. This meeting currently does not include China and Russia, which have much influence over North Korea. How will you urge them to participate going forward and align the responses of all parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Government considers that China and Russia, which are permanent members of the UN Security Council and are participants in the Six-Party Talks, have an extremely important influence. Later this month there will be a Summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin. In that context we will firmly request a responsible, constructive response from Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We have also requested China to play a responsible, constructive role on a variety of levels. We would also like to discuss the recent situation in North Korea and the nature of Japan-China cooperation with Special Representative of the Chinese Government for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei who will be visiting Japan from today. In any case, we will strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative acts and comply with the UN Security Council resolutions while closely cooperating with relevant countries, including Russia and China.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. It has been reported that the Government has decided to dispatch Secretary General Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that will be held in China in May. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that Secretary General Nikai himself will be making an announcement on this matter.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Aside from Secretary General Nikai, is the Government considering dispatching any Cabinet members, such as Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA:  It is true that Minister Seko received an invitation. Our response is under consideration.

REPORTER: Yesterday, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) together with a media outlet called The Intercept came out with a report. Yesterday, on the website of The Intercept of the United States, a report was released in collaboration with NHK. They published a variety of confidential documents obtained from Snowden. NHK and The Intercept have released a document stating that the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States provided to Japan the XKEYSCORE system, which allows for the interception of various information that one wants to see, such as information on electronic media and e-mails. Was Japan actually provided with this system? Or has Japan actually used this system to collect information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware of the reports, but the source of the documents published on the website of The Intercept is unknown. The Government would like to refrain from making a comment.

REPORTER: If this is true, it is a critical issue. You stated that you will not make a comment. Does that mean you do not deny it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the source of the documents is unknown, I do not believe the Government should respond to this question.

REPORTER: Leaving the documents aside, can you comment on whether you have received XKEYSCORE from the NSA and whether you have used it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just stated, various news can be found in the world, but I believe the Government should not comment on individual matters when the source is unknown. As you are aware, Japan and the United States are security allies. We exchange a variety of information on a daily basis. However, as this matter also concerns our partner country, I believe the Government should not respond to unreliable information.


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