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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 11, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the telephone talk with the Republic of Korea (ROK). It was explained that, when Prime Minister Abe and ROK President Moon talked on the telephone earlier, President Moon did not make any negative comments regarding the Japan-ROK agreement. In your view, did the telephone talk give the Government of Japan the impression that the ROK side will move to steadily implement the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today's telephone talk began at 2:35 pm and lasted for about 25 minutes. It was a summit telephone talk between Prime Minister Abe and Mr. Moon Jae-in, the ROK's new president. Prime Minister Abe offered his congratulations to Mr. Moon on being elected as President and expressed his desire to work with President Moon on building future-oriented relations between Japan and the ROK. The leaders also confirmed that they will work closely together on the pressing issue of North Korea, and Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to manage Japan-ROK relations in an appropriate manner, including with regard to the Japan-ROK agreement. The leaders also agreed to promptly arrange an in-person meeting, with Prime Minister Abe stating that he would like to meet President Moon as soon as possible, and President Moon also saying that he would like to hold a summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe at an early juncture. I believe it was a highly positive and meaningful telephone talk, which included discussion about the prompt holding of a summit meeting and affirmation of Japan-ROK cooperation on the North Korea issue. In any case, the Japan-ROK agreement that was signed at the end of 2015 is something to which both countries committed and that has received high praise from the international community, and I believe it is extremely important for Japan and the ROK to implement the agreement in a responsible manner. We intend to continue to communicate these points to the new administration in the ROK through a variety of channels.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Does this mean that the Government has no particular concerns regarding the ROK side's implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What is important is that the ROK is our most important neighbor with which we share strategic interests. Furthermore close coordination between Japan and the ROK is essential to regional peace and stability, including responding to the North Korea issue. I believe that it is important for us to work with the new administration in a wide range of areas to build a new and future-oriented era.

REPORTER: I have one more related question. It was explained that President Moon expressed the need to solve historical issues in an intelligent manner. From the Government's perspective, what kinds of methods are conceivable?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was the first dialogue between the two leaders, and they therefore first discussed some fundamental matters. The two leaders then discussed the fact that Japan and the ROK are extremely important neighbors, as well as the need to respond to the North Korea issue, through close Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation. In this sense I believe it was an extremely positive talk.

REPORTER: I have a further question relating to the telephone talk. In the briefing earlier, it was said that President Moon explained during the talk that some members of the public in the ROK are wary of the Japan-ROK agreement. President Moon himself publically pledged during the presidential election that the agreement would be placed back on the drawing table and renegotiated. Did the President make any mention of this stance toward the Japan-ROK agreement during the talk?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to manage Japan-ROK relations in an appropriate manner, including the Japan-ROK agreement. I believe it was a very positive and meaningful telephone talk, in the sense that the two leaders discussed the prompt holding of a summit meeting and affirmed Japan-ROK cooperation on the North Korea issue. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the individual items discussed. The telephone talk lasted 25 minutes. The two leaders have never met each other, so first, rather than discussing specific details, Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to manage the Japan-ROK agreement in an appropriate manner. Furthermore, the leaders discussed the prompt holding of a summit meeting and Japan-ROK cooperation in relation to North Korea, which, in any case, are surely the top priorities. In that sense, this was a positive telephone talk for both sides.

REPORTER: Does that mean that, as the international community moves to increase pressure on North Korea, Japan and the ROK will be able to work closely together in responding to the issue of North Korea, despite the fact that President Moon is said to have a conciliatory attitude toward North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The leaders agreed to maintain Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation in relation to this matter. That is surely what is most important.

REPORTER: I have a related question. While on the one hand President Moon has said that historical issues need to be solved in an intelligent manner, the Office of the President of the ROK today announced that President Moon explained during the telephone talk that the majority of ROK citizens are unable to accept the Japan-ROK agreement from an emotional standpoint and that public opinion is unreceptive toward the agreement. If that is the case, it appears that it may take a long time for the comfort women statues to be removed, as the ROK side should have done already. What are your thoughts on that?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japan-ROK agreement is something to which both countries committed and that has received very high praise from the international community. It is extremely important that both countries implement the agreement in a responsible manner. I believe this is a matter of course.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a somewhat detailed question. The Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site has a Q&A section regarding actions to take in the event of a ballistic missile attack. In response to a question from those wanting to know whether their mobile phone or smartphone will receive area and emergency alert emails when the J-Alert system is activated, only a simple answer is given, namely that people should direct such inquiries to the mobile phone company with which they are contracted. On the other hand, you said yesterday that since certain older mobile phone models are not equipped to receive such alerts, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency was calling on people to make use of apps that issue J-Alert warnings or register for alert emails sent out by local governments. There are presumably a large number of citizens who do not actually know about this. The number of people accessing the Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site is growing rapidly and drawing great interest from the public. It has been pointed out that including the information that you provided yesterday on the website would be highly effective. What is your opinion on that?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I also believe it would be highly effective. If I may elaborate, some inexpensive or older mobile phones and smartphones are not equipped to receive emergency alert emails. For this reason, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency today posted information on its website on how people can ascertain whether their mobile phone is equipped to receive such emails and what measures to take if they are not. The Agency also issued a request to local governments for cooperation with disseminating this information. The agency has also provided information on other measures such as how to make use of smartphone apps and mobile phone email services provided free of charge by private businesses. I believe that the Cabinet Secretariat may also be editing the information on the portal site as we speak.

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