Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  July 2017 >  July 29, 2017 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 29, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In response to the missile launch conducted by North Korea yesterday, Japan has been immediately working in close cooperation with the relevant countries. Specifically, telephone talks were held and exchanges of views took place between Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson at around 9:30 AM this morning, between Minister Kishida and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha of the Republic of Korea (ROK) at around 11 AM, and between Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat Yachi and U.S. National Security Advisor McMaster at around 11:30 AM. Later, the National Security Council held a meeting from around 12:50 PM. After being briefed on the content of these telephone talks, the Prime Minister issued instructions to maintain an advanced monitoring and surveillance structure and prepare for all possible circumstances in order to protect the lives and properties of the people of Japan in any situation, while closely cooperating with the relevant countries, including the United States and the ROK.

Q&As

REPORTER: North Korea announced that it has succeeded in a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Both the United States and the ROK are increasingly of the view that the missile was an ICBM. What is the analysis of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we are currently analyzing the details of the type of missile that was launched by North Korea yesterday. I would like to add that the missile launched this time is estimated to have flown for approximately 45 minutes, and to have far exceeded an altitude of 3,500 kilometers. In light of this, it is anticipated that the missile has a maximum range of at least 5,500 kilometers. We consider that it was an ICBM-class ballistic missile. In any case, it is necessary to carry out comprehensive and specialized analysis carefully. The details are being analyzed at this current stage.

REPORTER: I have a related question. According to the announcement by North Korea, it appears that yesterday’s missile had a longer flight time and a higher altitude than the ICBM launched on the 4th of this month. Does the Government perceive that North Korea has further accelerated its ICBM development?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are currently carrying out a comprehensive and specialized analysis carefully. Based on the circumstances, I believe it is natural to arrive at such a view.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the U.S. Forces is discussing the possibility of a military attack in response to the launch. What is the Government’s outlook regarding the possibility of the U.S. Forces conducting a military attack?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is the most important responsibility of the Government to protect the safety and security of the Japanese people in any situation, while closely cooperating with the United States and the ROK.

REPORTER: North Korea’s provocative acts are escalating despite the repeated sanctions of the international community. What are your thoughts on the need for a response of a different dimension from previous responses?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The United States has stated to date that all options are on the table. It is critically important that the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Alliance is further strengthened. We will steadily engage in Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, including on the security aspect.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Some view that the efforts of China, which has influence over North Korea, have not led to the suppression of North Korea’s provocative acts. What are your expectations for China to impose a full oil embargo on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is now making every effort to carry out diplomacy with the intention to stop North Korea’s provocative acts while cooperating through diplomacy with countries such as China and Russia, which have the most influence over North Korea.

REPORTER: I have one further related question. In response to the launch, is there a telephone talk or other discussion planned with the leader of the United States or of the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just stated, we have swiftly held telephone talks with the U.S. Secretary of State, the ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the U.S. National Security Advisor, and confirmed that we will respond in close cooperation with each other. At this point in time nothing has been decided with regard to a telephone talk with the president. In any case, I expect that such talks will be considered based on the situation.

REPORTER: The heads of the U.S. and ROK military forces held a telephone talk, and discussed options that include military countermeasures. Has Japan already held such a discussion on military matters with the United States and the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is undertaking every step to ensure the safety and security of the Japanese people while continuously engaging in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation.

REPORTER: If the United States and the ROK were to implement military countermeasures, is there a possibility that Japan will align itself with this policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, from the viewpoint that ensuring the deterrence of the United States is of the utmost importance, Japan highly values President Trump’s statement to keep all options on the table. Furthermore, we will respond to North Korea’s provocations while engaging in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. This is being done with Foreign Minister Kishida concurrently serving as the Minister of Defense. Do you believe this has not interfered with the Government’s responses thus far?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Since assuming both posts, Foreign Minister Kishida has been going to the foreign and defense ministries, making both of them his bases, and taking command of the responses to the missile launch. In any case, I believe the Minister is giving full guidance to both ministries and is fulfilling his responsibilities.

REPORTER: Yesterday’s launch was conducted in the middle of the night. What do you think North Korea’s aim was?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government should refrain from making any conclusive statements regarding the intention and purpose behind North Korea’s ballistic missile launch. In any case, we are steadily gathering and analyzing information on the situation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Do you think it is likely that North Korea will conduct another ICBM-class missile launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is conducting maximum monitoring and surveillance to protect the lives and properties of the Japanese people, and is taking steps to be prepared for all situations without undermining our monitoring and surveillance efforts.

REPORTER: Regarding the maximum range of the missile, you mentioned earlier that it likely exceeds 5,500 kilometers. Is it correct that you have not yet completed the analysis on the specific maximum range?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is gathering and analyzing information. At the current stage, however, I would like to refrain from responding about the details.

REPORTER: The recent launch was conducted from Mupyong-ni in inland North Korea, which I think is more or less unprecedented. What is your analysis of the launch location?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are fully aware of that fact. In that context, we are gathering and analyzing a variety of information.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the subject of Mr. Kishida holding two posts. Former Defense Minister Inada was said to have leadership issues. In this connection how do you evaluate the performance of Minister Kishida at this current time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Minister Kishida was requested to concurrently serve as Minister of Defense based on the Prime Minister’s decision that Mr. Kishida was most appropriate for the position. To say the least, we give top priority to the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and close Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation in our response to the issues of North Korea. When considering that point, because the defense and foreign ministers attended and held the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (2+2) meetings together with the United States, and because Minister Kishida is a member of the National Security Council, the Prime Minister determined that Minister Kishida was most appropriate for the position, and instructed him to concurrently serve as Minister of Defense. I believe he is providing firm leadership in that context.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. The Government’s responses will be ongoing. What are your thoughts on the concerns over Minister Kishida having too many duties as a result of holding two posts and being unable to handle them due to overwork?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding that point, our understanding is that Foreign Minister Kishida is providing firm leadership.

REPORTER: In consideration of the severe circumstances, do you view that responses can be taken under this current situation of having a single minister concurrently serve two posts, even if the circumstances become severer such as missile debris falling within Japan, or a missile striking our territories or territorial waters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister gave the instruction to the Foreign Minister, determining that he was most appropriate for the position based on our fundamental policy of preparing to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. To date, the Foreign Minister has been steadily dealing with the situation ever since it occurred.

REPORTER: Some view that yesterday’s missile was capable of rising to 10,000 kilometers and reaching the west coast of the United States. What is the opinion of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While we are currently analyzing the details, we consider that the missile achieved an altitude of well over 3,500 kilometers, had a flight time of 45 minutes, and flew approximately 1,000 kilometers. Against this backdrop, North Korea is claiming that yesterday’s launch demonstrated the maximum range and that the entire U.S. mainland is within its range. The recently launched ballistic missile is considered to be ICBM class based on the flight altitude and range. Japan in any case is currently conducting a careful analysis.

REPORTER: Does the Government regard the recent missile launch to be a success?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Considering the altitude of 3,500 kilometers, the flight time of 45 minutes, and the flight distance of approximately 1,000 kilometers, we view that North Korea’s ballistic missile development has made a certain degree of technological advancements.



Page Top

Related Link