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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 29, 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 Remarks
(There were statements on the overview of the Cabinet meeting, the ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, and others.)

Q&As

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to North Korea. A Japan-U.S. telephone talk was held shortly after the missile launch by North Korea. How do you evaluate this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In response to North Korea’s outrageous act of launching a ballistic missile across Japan, Prime Minister Abe held an emergency telephone talk with President Trump for 40 minutes starting from 9:24 AM. During the call, the two leaders had an in-depth discussion on the analysis and perception of the recent missile launch by North Korea, as well as on the response Japan and the United States should take. As a result, both leaders confirmed that Japan and the United States share exactly the same position, namely that this missile launch poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat, and that they should immediately hold an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and further increase pressure on North Korea. At the same time, President Trump expressed the United States’ strong commitment to the defense of its ally Japan, stating that the United States is with Japan 100 percent. I believe it was extremely significant that, so shortly after this outrageous act by North Korea, the leaders of Japan and the United States were able to hold a telephone talk and a highly in-depth discussion on measures to take against North Korea, and to demonstrate the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance and the total coordination between Japan and the United States both internally and externally.

REPORTER: You just indicated that President Trump demonstrated the strong commitment of the United States to the defense of Japan. How does the Government of Japan evaluate this stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, I believe it demonstrated both internally and externally the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance and the total coordination between Japan and the United States. In that sense it was extremely significant.

REPORTER: I have a related question. After the Japan-U.S. telephone talk, Prime Minister Abe stated to the press corps that it is necessary to change the policy of North Korea. As Japan increases pressure on North Korea going forward, what manner of increased pressure do you believe will lead to North Korea changing its policies?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Under the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance, which the Prime Minister referred to, I believe we must first make every effort to protect the lives and properties of the people. At the same time we must apply pressure on North Korea to ensure that it changes its policies, while promoting Japan-U.S., Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and urging action from the international community, including China and Russia.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You said that there was an in-depth discussion regarding the response Japan and the United States should take towards North Korea. Were there any discussions regarding a military response in the telephone conversation between the leaders?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, Japan, the United States and the ROK recognize that this missile launch by North Korea poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat. It was agreed that we should immediately hold an emergency meeting of the UNSC and increase pressure on North Korea. While I would like to refrain from commenting on the future actions of the United States, Japan highly values the U.S. policy of keeping all options on the table. In any case, I believe it is extremely important that the leaders of Japan and the United States maintain close communication in this way, that we maintain dialogue at a variety of levels as well, that we promote Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and that we increase pressure on North Korea, including with China and the ROK.

REPORTER: I have a related question regarding the so-called “red line” of the United States, which, once crossed, the United States will take military action. Is the Government of Japan aware of where it is positioned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In my position as a representative of Japan, I would like to refrain from speculating about the future actions of the United States.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Does the Government analyze the recent missile launch to be a success or failure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, by repeatedly conducting such missile launches, I believe North Korea is building up its ballistic missile technology. In any case, the details are still under analysis.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Regarding the recent missile launch, the ROK military has announced that it had recognized signs of an upcoming launch from 2 AM. Did the Government share and recognize this same information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister stated in his press occasion, once the missile was launched, we made a clear and complete response. That is all.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Currently U.S.-ROK joint military exercises are being carried out in the ROK, and it has been reported that the ROK air force is also carrying out exercises as a protest to the recent missile. Does Japan have any concern that this protest could lead to actions that will further heighten tensions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this concerns the actions of the ROK military, I would like to refrain from commenting in my position as a representative of the Government of Japan. In any case, I believe it is of the utmost importance for Japan, the United States and the ROK to cooperate closely, while strongly urging North Korea to refrain from provocative acts and to implement the UNSC. The fundamental position of the Government of Japan is to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the people. From this position, we will take every step to ensure the safety and peace of mind of the people.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Will the Government urge China, which has a strong influence over North Korea, to enact an oil embargo against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the recent UNSC resolution prohibits imports from North Korea, including that of coal. It prohibits the import of North Korean coal, which accounts for one-third of North Korea’s total exports, and we must first of all firmly implement this resolution. At the same time, we must bear in mind the fact that North Korea has repeatedly conducted such acts, despite such resolutions, and we must therefore strongly urge a constructive response and role from China.

REPORTER: The recent launch was launched into the waters off Hokkaido instead of the area around Guam as North Korea had previously announced. From your analysis, what do you think North Korea’s aim is?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is still working to collect and analyze information. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from answering the question.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You stated that the recent missile launch poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat, but I believe North Korea has previously launched missiles through Japan’s airspace. What is it specifically that makes this a grave and serious threat?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There was no announcement or notice beforehand. A notice beforehand does not make it acceptable, but North Korea has heedlessly fired a missile through our airspace, which is an extremely grave matter that differs from previous cases, and the Government will respond to it as such.

REPORTER: Is a telephone talk planned between Prime Minister Abe and President Moon Jae-in?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this point nothing is decided.

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