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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 21, 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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) gave an interview to the Washington Post, in which he spoke about the 2015 Japan-ROK agreement concerning comfort women, stating that the core to resolving the issue is for Japan to take legal responsibility for its actions and to make an official apology. This can be seen as a comment that goes against the objectives of the agreement, so can I ask for a comment from the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, through the agreement that was reached in 2015, the comfort women issue was finally and irreversibly resolved. This is something that both governments confirmed. The agreement 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.

REPORTER: In the interview, President Moon stated that he is looking for Japan to take legal responsibility and issue an official apology. Is it the Government’s view that such actions are not necessary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the time of the conclusion of the agreement in 2015, the Government expressed anew its most sincere apologies and remorse.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on the Winter Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang in 2018. Minister of Sports, Culture and Tourism Do Jong-hwan of the ROK, who has a managing role in Pyeongchang 2018, has announced that the ROK government is seeking to jointly hold some events for Pyeongchang 2018 with North Korea. What is the Government’s view of this new policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the press reports on this matter, I am not aware of any official announcement from the government of the ROK and therefore I would like to refrain from commenting on what is still a hypothetical matter.

REPORTER: It would appear that the ROK is giving consideration to letting North Korea host some ski events. I understand that this is still a hypothetical matter, but if the joint hosting of the Games were to be realized, could you tell us whether Japan would be able to participate, given that the Government is requesting Japanese nationals to refrain from visiting North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, this is still a hypothetical matter and the Government has not confirmed any announcement concerning the joint hosting of the Games. That is why I would like to refrain from commenting on something that has not been confirmed officially.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Following the death of Mr. Otto Warmbier, who was released by North Korea in a coma, many Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Diet members have condemned North Korea and called for joint action with the United States to resolve the abductions issue. Can I ask for a comment about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that people have strongly condemned North Korea’s actions on such humanitarian issues following the outcome of this case and are also calling for Japan to work with the international community, including the United States, to resolve the abductions issue. Hearing these opinions, the Government is resolved to continue to work closely with the United States and other countries concerned to realize the return of abductees to their home countries at the earliest possible time.

REPORTER: With regard to Mr. Warmbier’s release, it is the case that United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy Joseph Yun met senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea in Norway last month. Is the Government considering similar negotiations with North Korea with a view to resolving Japan’s abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is also making every effort to elicit concrete actions from North Korea. For example, at an international conference held on June 15 in Mongolia, Mr. Shigeki Takizaki, Deputy Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, issued a strong demand to a representative of North Korea’s foreign ministry to comply with the Stockholm Agreement and return all abductees to Japan without delay. Consistently applying the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action,” Japan will continue to work ceaselessly to achieve the return of all Japanese abductees without delay.

REPORTER: I have a last question on a different topic. In an interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan, Minister of Home Affairs of Bangladesh, stated that Bangladesh wishes to offer condolence money to the families of the seven Japanese nationals who were killed in the terrorist attack on a restaurant in Dhaka on July 1 last year. Could I ask for a comment about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the press reports, we are still confirming the details with regard to the wishes of the government of Bangladesh concerning the offering of condolence money. I would like to refrain from making any comment at the current time.

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