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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 13, 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

(There were statements on the overview of the Cabinet meeting.)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) met with President Moon Jae-in of the ROK yesterday. The two sides shared the view on the necessity for sanctions to resolve issues relating to North Korea. How would you evaluate this meeting from the perspective of strengthening Japan-ROK relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Secretary-General Nikai visited the ROK as a special envoy of Prime Minister Abe, where on June 12 he held a meeting with President Moon and other officials. Secretary-General Nikai delivered a letter from the Prime Minister and confirmed with President Moon the importance of maintaining close communication at the leader level. It was also confirmed that arrangements would be made to realize a Japan-ROK summit meeting at an early juncture, using opportunities provided by the G20 Summit in July and other fora, and that the leaders would also make mutual visits. In the meeting it was also affirmed that in order to build a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship, active efforts would be made to promote people-to-people exchanges, including through tourism. With regard to North Korea it was confirmed that pressure should be exerted on North Korea and that Japan and the ROK will continue to work together closely. I consider that Secretary-General Nikai’s visit to the ROK had utmost significance for building a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship.

REPORTER: In the meeting President Moon did indeed refer to future-oriented relations, but with regard to the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue he also commented it was true that the agreement has not been well accepted by the people of the ROK and the issue is one that will take time to resolve. What are your views on the current seemingly passive stance of the ROK towards the steady implementation of the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Secretary-General Nikai has stated that Japan will respond appropriately to matters concerning bilateral relations, including the Japan-ROK agreement, and the meeting was held on that basis. In any event, the agreement reached at the end of 2015 is something that Japan and the ROK agreed upon. It is of the utmost importance to steadily implement this agreement that is highly valued by the international community. This point has been conveyed to the new ROK administration through various channels.

REPORTER: Although it was not mentioned in the meeting, during the presidential election campaign President Moon stated that it would be necessary to renegotiate the Japan-ROK agreement. What do you think about the possibility that the ROK will request renegotiation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In whatever case, the agreement reached at the end of 2015 is something that Japan and the ROK agreed upon. It is also highly valued by the international community and Japan considers that it is of the utmost importance to steadily implement it.

(Abridged)

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