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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 14, 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)

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I understand that today’s missile traveled for approximately 30 minutes before falling into the Sea of Japan. This means that it was quite a long flight compared to previous launches. Was today’s missile of a different characteristic or nature from past missiles?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated earlier, it is necessary to conduct comprehensive and specialized analyses. That said, it is true that the missile flew for 30 minutes. We are now analyzing these and other aspects.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You stated that you are now conducting analyses. What is the likelihood that the missile was launched on a lofted trajectory, at a higher altitude than conventional launches?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated earlier, the missile flew 800 km in the east-northeasterly direction from the west coast and then fell into the Sea of Japan. This took 30 minutes. These are the circumstances. We are now collecting and analyzing various information in this context.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask just one further question. Today’s launch came shortly after the new President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) took office. Do you think there is any relationship between the President’s assumption of office and today’s launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are now analyzing the situation, including whether North Korea conducted the launch because the ROK President has just assumed office, or based on various global developments.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to the timing of the launch. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that China is attaching significant importance to is being held from today. What is your outlook on how the China-North Korea relationship would be affected by North Korea’s belligerent launch at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just stated, we are now analyzing whether North Korea conducted the launch based on various developments, as well as how the launch is related to such factors.

REPORTER: The current Trump administration has been applying greater pressure by maintaining readiness against North Korea, including deploying a carrier strike group to waters near North Korea. Are we seeing the U.S. Forces making some kind of a move?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for Japan, we are steadily taking responses in close cooperation with the United States and the ROK and are taking all possible measures to ensure the security and safety of the people.

REPORTER: In that case, are you saying that at this stage you have not confirmed any major activities by the U.S. Forces around North Korea that stands ready to take responses?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are conducting thorough surveillance and maintaining full readiness in order to ensure the security and safety of the Japanese people. We are conducting thorough surveillance with a sense of urgency on a day-to-day basis.

REPORTER: The international community, including the United States, has stepped up its pressure considerably. With North Korea continuing to not cease its provocative actions, how do you think the Government should further step up its pressure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Government is fully prepared to protect the lives and properties of the Japanese people by maintaining all possible readiness to be able to respond to any situation, in close cooperation with the United States and the ROK.

REPORTER: I have a related question. President Moon of the ROK is seen as having a conciliatory approach towards North Korea. What sort of measures does Japan wish for with regard to the North Korean policy of the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the ROK have affirmed clearly that the two countries would cooperate closely on the issues of North Korea.

REPORTER: A related question. As was mentioned in an earlier question, North Korea has not ceased its provocative acts even as the international community continues to apply pressure. Do you view that the situation will improve under this existing pressure alone? Or do you believe that pressure of another dimension is needed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, we are collecting and analyzing a variety of information. We believe that it is necessary to deal with the issues of North Korea with joint efforts, through Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation as well as the cooperation of China and Russia.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the J-ALERT, national early warning system, which is put into use during a missile launch. Was it put into operation today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We determined it was unlikely that the missile launched today would reach Japan, and therefore, systems such as J-ALERT were not utilized.

REPORTER: I understand that today’s missile traveled approximately 800 km. Where is the location of the missile’s landing as seen from Japan’s mainland?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no mistake that it did not fall within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Japan. That is what we have inferred.

REPORTER: Then you will not be disclosing the detailed location of the missile’s landing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has estimated where it has fallen. However, I would like to refrain from making any conclusive statements since we are currently analyzing the details. We have estimated the landing location.

(Abridged)

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