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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 12, 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 have a question on a different topic. According to media reports, in the recent Japan-China summit meeting, Prime Minister Abe requested President Xi to halt exports of oil to North Korea as a sanctions measure. Could you tell us the facts behind the reports on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to measures to address the issue of North Korea, the Government considers that China has an extremely important role to play in dealing with North Korean issues, given that China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a member of the Six-Party Talks process, and also accounts for 90 percent of all North Korean trade. In the recent summit meeting Prime Minister Abe spoke with President Xi, strongly encouraging China to fulfill a more constructive role. The two leaders confirmed that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a common goal for Japan and China, and shared the view that they would work on the issue more closely. I would like to refrain from discussing specific details as this is a diplomatic agreement. However, from the perspective that the role played by China is of the utmost importance, the Government will continue to strongly encourage China to play such a role constructively. With regard to the point about oil exports I am naturally aware of the reported information. As I have already noted, Japan recognizes that actions by China have a great influence on initiatives by the international community to respond to the issue of North Korea and therefore we will continue to strongly encourage China to respond responsibly and constructively.

REPORTER: You have just noted that the specific details are a matter of diplomacy, but could you tell us whether the Government considers it necessary for China to prohibit exports of oil to North Korea as a means of playing a constructive role?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no change to the Government’s recognition that putting pressure on North Korea is of the utmost importance.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Northern Territories. According to some press reports the Government of Japan and the Government of Russia have initiated discussions on the establishment of regular services linking the Northern Territories with Hokkaido, with a view to realizing joint economic activities. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports and whether the Government is considering such matters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands, at the recent Japan-Russia summit meeting held on July 7, the two leaders confirmed that the local research by the joint public and private research team sent to the four islands at the end of June had been very meaningful and would lead to accelerating future deliberations. Based on the results of the local research visit, the two leaders also agreed to hold vice-ministerial consultations in Moscow in late August in order to advance discussions, including discussions on the legal framework that will become necessary in the future. At this point I would like to refrain from making any speculative comments about the future outlook or any specific projects that may be selected. In any event, the Government is currently making full preparations for the vice-ministerial consultations in August, with a view to substantiating projects as soon as possible that will have economic significance and in a way that will not harm both countries’ legal positions.

REPORTER: If regular services were to be established it could be expected that they could be used not just for joint economic activities, but also more widely, to enable visa-free visits for former island residents and also grave visits. What is the Government’s expectation in this regard, assuming that regular services were to be initiated?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What I would say at the current point is that discussions are taking place with regard to legal frameworks and it has been agreed to hold vice-ministerial consultations in Moscow in August. Therefore, at this stage, we are making various preparations in that respect.

(Abridged)

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