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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 19, 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: A vehicle in London in the United Kingdom has crashed into pedestrians causing many injuries. Do you have any information about whether Japanese nationals have been injured?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that this morning, Japan time, a vehicle crashed into pedestrians in northern London in the United Kingdom, injuring several people and that one person has been arrested. Authorities in the United Kingdom are currently investigating this incident, including the background. In addition, at the current point the U.K. authorities have not released any details about the incident, including the number of people injured, so we do not have any detailed information. The Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom is currently gathering information, but at the current point there is no information to suggest that any Japanese nationals have been affected.

REPORTER: Terrorist incidents have occurred frequently in the United Kingdom over the last few months. Is there any information to suggest that this was also an act of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The incident is still being investigated and I have not yet received any such information.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the accident involving a U.S. Aegis destroyer. On the weekend a U.S. Aegis destroyer and a Philippine-registered container vessel collided off the coast of the Izu Peninsula. Can I ask whether this will have any impact on surveillance and defense activities against the threat of ballistic missile launches by North Korea and also what the Government’s understanding is with regard to the cause of the accident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences for the crewmembers of the U.S. vessel who lost their lives and their bereaved families. I would also like to express my sympathy to those who were injured and pray for their early recovery. In this accident, the U.S. vessel that was sailing off Shimoda City, Shizuoka Prefecture collided with a foreign-flagged container ship at around 1:30 a.m. on June 17, with the result that seven members of the U.S. vessel’s crew lost their lives and three, including the captain, were injured. The Government will continue to cooperate with the United States to engage in the necessary searches and collection of information. The cause of the accident is currently being investigated. Regarding the operation of the U.S. forces, as a representative of the Government of Japan, I am not in a position to comment. In any event, as the regional security situation is of ever-increasing severity it will be of the utmost importance to continue to ensure the deterrence capability of the U.S. forces. We will continue to closely cooperate with the international community, including the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), maintaining a heightened state of vigilance and making every effort to ensure the safety of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: So can you confirm that the Government does not consider that the level of defense against North Korean missiles has diminished in the wake of this accident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is of the utmost importance to continue to ensure the deterrence capability of the United States, but I am not in a position to comment on the operation of the U.S. forces.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: According to some media reports the U.S. forces have notified the Government that the operation of four helipads in the Northern Training Area on the main island of Okinawa Prefecture will start this month, following the completion of construction in December last year. Could you comment on the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of any such matter.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Some press reports are suggesting that President Moon Jae-in of the ROK has decided to launch an investigation into the processes within the Presidential Office of the ROK that led to the conclusion of the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue at the end of 2015. Could I ask the view of the Government on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is aware of these press reports. In any event, the Japan-ROK agreement is something that Japan and the ROK agreed upon. It is also valued by the international community and Japan considers that it is important to steadily implement the agreement. We will continue to use every opportunity available to call on the ROK to fulfil its commitments and ensure the implementation of the agreement.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Today President Moon announced that following the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident the ROK will scrap all current plans to build new nuclear power stations. Can I ask for a comment about this announcement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not heard about this announcement and in any event any such decision is the responsibility of the ROK.

REPORTER: Do you think the decision made by the ROK will have any impact on the revision of Japan’s Basic Energy Plan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not.

REPORTER: A new smartphone-friendly page has been set up on the Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal Site, which to date has been accessed extremely often and provides information to the public about how to protect themselves in the event of a ballistic missile attack. However, some people have noted that when setting up a similar site in the future, a smartphone-friendly page should be set up at the same time, in view of the degree of public interest in this matter and the importance of the information contained, and also given that many people use smartphones. Could I ask for a comment about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I acknowledge that as you noted, the Civil Protection Portal Site was not responsive enough to people accessing the site via smartphone. With regard to important information that the public needs to be especially aware of, including what actions to take in the event of a ballistic missile strike, on May 29 improvements were implemented by uploading information to the site of the Public Relations Office of the Government of Japan and making the portal site more accessible via smartphone. The Government recognizes the importance of making information of high-interest to the public easily accessible and readily understandable, including by setting up smartphone-friendly pages, and we will continue to engage in improvements.

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