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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 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

(Abridged)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about North Korea. It has come to light that at the beginning of this month a vessel believed to be registered in North Korea trained its gun on a Fisheries Agency patrol vessel in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Could you share with us the facts that the Government is aware of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that on July 7, a Fisheries Agency patrol vessel was in Japan’s EEZ west of the Yamato Ridge, patrolling waters in search of foreign registered fishing vessels engaged in illegal operations, when at around 4:55 p.m. an incident occurred in which the Fisheries Agency vessel was pursued by a vessel of unknown registration armed with what appeared to be a rifle. The Fisheries Agency vessel immediately left the area to ensure its safety and no damage was sustained. Immediately following this incident the Government convened a liaison meeting among ministries and agencies concerned at which information was shared. From the facts that have been ascertained to date we consider there is a high possibility that the vessel in question was North Korean. Accordingly, the Government has lodged a protest in the strongest terms via the Beijing embassy channel.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Was the vessel that trained its gun on the Fisheries Agency vessel engaging in illegal operations or was it engaged in patrols? Have you received any information about such matters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As a result of comprehensive analysis of the appearance of the vessel’s crew, it has been determined that there is a high possibility that the vessel was of North Korean origin. I would like to refrain from speculating about the objectives or intentions of the vessel. The details are currently being analyzed by the authorities concerned.

REPORTER: If that is the case will Japan be strengthening its presence and patrolling structures in waters off Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In order to ensure the safety of Japanese fishing vessels, the Government is responding appropriately with ministries and agencies concerned working together.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Some press reports are suggesting that in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting that took place on July 8 the U.S. side requested the easing of regulations in the Japanese automobile market. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that at the recent summit meeting President Trump mentioned the issue of the U.S. trade deficit with Japan and the importance of reciprocal market access, in response to which Prime Minister Abe stated that he hoped that Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence would have thorough discussions to further deepen Japan and the United States’ win-win economic relationship. I would like to refrain from divulging any further details of discussions in the summit meeting as they relate to matters of diplomacy. What I would say is that Japan does not levy tariffs on vehicles imported from overseas, nor does Japan engage in any discriminatory practices other than tariffs, such as the establishment of non-tariff barriers. The Government’s recognition therefore is that the Japanese automobile market is already sufficiently open.

(Abridged)

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