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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 30, 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 and on the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting.)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting. I believe that the summit meeting has already begun. Could you tell us what points the Government of Japan will be focusing on?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The U.S.-ROK summit meeting has yet to begin. My understanding is that President Trump and President Moon Jae-in are scheduled to hold a summit meeting late tonight, Japan time. I would like to refrain from making any speculative comments about dialogue between other countries. However, I believe that it is of the utmost importance for Japan, the United States and the ROK to engage in close cooperation in a broad range of areas, including our response to North Korean issues. In that sense, Japan hopes that the U.S.-ROK summit meeting will confirm the importance of close cooperation.

REPORTER: With regard to policy on North Korea, there seem to be some differences between President Trump and President Moon on whether to prioritize pressure or dialogue. Do you think that this summit meeting will help to bridge the gap between the two sides?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, as a representative of the Government, I would like to refrain from making any speculative comments about dialogue between other countries. What I would say is that, given that it is of the utmost importance for Japan, the United States and the ROK to engage in close cooperation, the Government of Japan hopes that close cooperation will also be seen in the upcoming summit meeting.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about North Korea. The Government of the United States has announced independent sanctions on a Chinese bank for its involvement in money laundering for North Korea. This is the first time that the Trump administration has implemented independent sanctions on a Chinese company. Can I ask for your evaluation of this measure from the perspective of increasing pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The recent announcement demonstrates the United States’ firm stance against North Korea and Japan strongly supports it. Japan will continue to work closely with the countries concerned, including the United States, and make a robust response, with a view to resolving various issues of concern.

REPORTER: You have just stated that Japan strongly supports the announcement by the United States. Will the Government be considering similar measures to coincide with the measures taken by the United States, so as to increase pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will continue to work closely with the United States and the other countries concerned, while considering what measures will be most effective and taking into account the latest measures announced by the United States.

REPORTER: In terms of policies to respond to North Korea, the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States share the recognition that it is important for China to increase pressure on North Korea. Do you think that the strengthening of sanctions on a Chinese company will encourage China to step up pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the impact the latest U.S. measures may have on China or other matters. Japan will continue to work closely with the countries concerned, such as China and Russia, on this issue.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about the comfort women issue. In an interview with a local newspaper, Mr. Takashi Shinozuka, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta, Georgia, reportedly stated that the comfort women were paid prostitutes. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK has criticized this statement as being extremely inappropriate and has demanded a retraction. However, Mr. Shinozuka is saying that he did not use the word “prostitute” in the interview. Are you aware of what words Mr. Shinozuka actually used in the interview?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In an interview conducted with a local newspaper on June 16, Consul General Shinozuka of the Atlanta Consulate General did not use the words “paid prostitutes,” “prostitutes,” or the like. In addition, Mr. Shinozuka explained the Government’s stance that it is inappropriate to refer to the comfort women as “sex slaves.” However, in the article covering the interview the newspaper itself paraphrased the comments and used the term “paid prostitutes.” These are the facts. On June 27, the local newspaper that ran the original article made clear that Mr. Shinozuka did not use the words “paid prostitutes.”

REPORTER: You have just noted that the Government’s stance is that the term “sex slave” is inappropriate. Has the Government explained the facts behind this interview to the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The facts pertaining to this matter and the Government’s position have already been explained to the ROK.

REPORTER: What was the reaction from the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Today, June 30, a Korean residents’ group is scheduled to newly install a comfort woman statue in a park in Georgia. It appears that some residents living in the vicinity of the park are against the installation. Can I ask for a comment from the Government about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This matter is highly regrettable and runs counter to the stance of the Government and measures that have been implemented to date. The Government has approached various persons concerned to explain our stance and we will continue to respond appropriately in this matter.


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