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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 4, 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.)

It appears that at about 9:39 a.m. this morning, a ballistic missile was launched from the west coast of North Korea. The missile is believed to have flown for approximately 40 minutes and fallen in the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) The details of the launch are currently being analyzed. As of now there have been no confirmed reports of damage to aircraft or vessels in the vicinity. From approximately 10:33 a.m., a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was convened to collect information and discuss the response to the launch. The NSC meeting confirmed the three points of instruction that had already been issued by Prime Minister Abe. In addition, a new instruction was issued for Japan to respond resolutely to the situation by continuing to work closely with the international community in calling strongly on North Korea to exercise self-restraint, and to thoroughly implement all related measures.

Q&As

REPORTER: Is the Government advancing analysis concerning how many missiles were launched, what type they were, and where they fell?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Based on the relevant information, it is necessary to analyze the launch comprehensively and from an expert perspective. Therefore, at the current time the details of the latest launch are still being analyzed.

REPORTER: The missile launched today flew for approximately 40 minutes, so it presumably covered a considerable distance in that time. Is there a high possibility that this missile was a lofted trajectory launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, the necessary information is being analyzed from a comprehensive and expert perspective. I would therefore like to refrain from saying anything that may be incorrect at the current time.

REPORTER: In a statement to the press, the Prime Minister has commented that this latest launch clearly escalates the threat posed by North Korea. On what basis has the Government determined that the level of threat has been raised?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, comprehensive and expert analysis is currently being conducted and I would like to refrain from making any detailed statement at this point. At the very least, it looks likely that the latest missile flew to a higher altitude than previous missiles and I believe that is the perspective from which the Prime Minister was speaking. I would like to refrain from going into detail.

REPORTER: What do you think the aims or intentions of North Korea were in launching a missile at this time, in light of the recent U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting, the U.S.-China telephone talks, and that the launch comes directly prior to the G20 Hamburg Summit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any definitive comments about the intention and purpose of this latest launch. In any event, Japan will continue to work closely with the United States, the ROK, and other countries concerned in responding to military actions by North Korea, including this latest ballistic missile launch, and the Government strives to gather and analyze information with great interest. We are making every effort to maintain a posture that will ensure the peace and safety of the nation and protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: President Moon Jae-in of the ROK has indicated that he is seeking dialogue with North Korea, so in the upcoming Japan-U.S.-ROK summit at the G20 Hamburg Summit, what sort of stance will Japan be requesting the ROK to take with regard to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, the United States, and the ROK have confirmed that we will continue to engage in close cooperation. A Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk was held yesterday in which it was confirmed that the two leaders will promote close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation in order to lead the international community to strengthen pressure on North Korea. The second important point is to continue to urge China to play a greater role. Therefore, in the upcoming Japan-U.S.-ROK summit meeting that is planned to be held in Hamburg, the Government hopes that the leaders will engage in frank discussions and will undertake policy coordination with regard to North Korea that will demonstrate the strength of solidarity and cooperation among the three countries both domestically and internationally.

REPORTER: I have a further question. Prime Minister Abe has recently stated that he will be calling on China and Russia to make a more constructive response. What specific actions will Japan be requesting of China and Russia, which are two countries that have influence on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Resolutions to place sanctions against North Korea have been adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). We will therefore be working to fully implement and respond to relevant resolutions and will be working in the international arena to call on China and Russia in particular to play a further role, using their influence to strengthen pressure on North Korea and strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to return to the issue of the missile launch. Despite strong pressure from the international community, North Korea shows no signs of stopping its provocative actions. Do you believe that a breakthrough in the situation can be achieved with the current level of pressure being applied on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, multiple resolutions have been adopted by the UNSC and it is of the utmost importance for North Korea to comply fully with these resolutions. Given that China and Russia are permanent members of the UNSC and have approved the resolutions that have been adopted to date, it is very important that they implement the provisions detailed in the resolutions. The Prime Minister has also stated that he will use every opportunity to call on the leaders of China and Russia with regard to this matter.

REPORTER: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has previously issued a proposal to the Government on Japan on acquiring a capability to strike enemy bases. Is there a possibility that the Government will now move to actively consider the acquisition of such a capability?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has received proposals from the LDP and we will consider them carefully, undertaking various considerations to comprehensively enhance Japan’s ballistic missile response capabilities, from the perspectives of strengthening deterrence capabilities under the Japan-U.S. Alliance based on an appropriate division of roles between Japan and the United States, and assessing what needs to be done to protect the lives and property of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: In the past you have specified whether one or multiple missiles were launched. However, on this occasion you have not specified whether one or more missiles were launched. Is there a reason for this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no particular reason. The details are currently being analyzed.

REPORTER: So is there a high possibility that only one missile was launched on this occasion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comment about the details, including on this point.

(Abridged)

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