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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 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
(There was a statement on the overview of the Cabinet meeting.)

At today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the invitation for an official working visit to Japan by His Royal Highness the Crown Prince Frederik Andre Henrik Christian and Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of the Kingdom of Denmark from October 9 to 12. During their stay in Japan, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will invite Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess to a luncheon. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and Mrs. Abe will also meet with Their Royal Highnesses. This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Japan-Denmark Diplomatic Relations and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik is serving as Honorary President for Denmark for the various events that are being planned. His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, who is serving as Honorary President on the Japan side, visited Denmark in June this year and the Imperial Family and the Royal House of Denmark have a long history of friendly exchanges. The Government hopes that through the visit of Their Royal Highnesses to Japan the friendly and cooperative relations we share with Denmark, a partner with which we share basic values, will be further strengthened and advanced.

Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit India from September 13 to 15. During his visit the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with Prime Minister Modi of India and discuss a broad range of issues, including security and economic affairs. In addition, the two leaders are scheduled to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed railway project. This visit is intended to give even greater momentum to a new era in Japan-India relations and further strengthen our bilateral ties.

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the activities of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). A new resolution on sanctions against North Korea has been unanimously adopted by the UNSC. This resolution taken by the international community comes just over one week since the latest nuclear test by North Korea, so can I ask about the Government’s evaluation of this outcome?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, this morning, September 12 (Japan time) the UNSC unanimously adopted a new resolution on North Korea. The Government welcomes that in the short space of just over one week since the latest nuclear test this extremely strong resolution was adopted that imposes drastically stricter sanctions measures against North Korea. In specific terms, this resolution imposes for the first time extremely strict measures that restrict the supply of crude oil and oil-related products, a total ban on import of textiles from North Korea, and a ban on newly providing work authorizations to North Korean overseas workers by member states. According to estimates by the United States the implementation of this resolution will result in an approximately 30 percent reduction in the supply of crude oil and oil-related products to North Korea. Furthermore, the total ban on import of textiles from North Korea is projected to incur a reduction in annual foreign currency revenues of approximately US$760 million. In the event that this resolution and all previous related resolutions are fully implemented it is expected that North Korea’s foreign currency revenues from exports will be reduced by approximately 90 percent. North Korea’s provocative actions pose a grave and imminent threat to the peace and security of the region including Japan, and the adoption of this new resolution demonstrates clearly the international community’s shared determination that the pressure against North Korea should be raised to an unprecedented, new level to urge North Korea to change its policy. Japan worked together with the United States in leading discussions towards the adoption of this resolution. We will continue to work together with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and also cooperate with China and Russia, using the UNSC Sanctions Committee on North Korea as we endeavor to ensure the full implementation of this resolution by all UN member states.

REPORTER: You have already referred to this in your remarks, but could you tell us what the Government considers will be necessary to ensure the effectiveness of this resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will continue to work with the United States and the ROK and also cooperate with China and Russia, utilizing the forum of the UNSC Sanctions Committee on North Korea as we endeavor to ensure the full implementation of this resolution by all UN member states.

REPORTER: The United States was seeking a total ban on exports of oil to North Korea and this resolution does not go as far as a total ban. It has been suggested that this was a concession to China and Russia. What is the view of the Government on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, this resolution imposes for the first time extremely strict measures that restrict the supply of crude oil and oil-related products, a total ban on import of textiles from North Korea, and a ban on newly providing work authorizations to North Korean overseas workers by member states. In addition, this resolution demonstrates clearly the international community’s shared determination that the pressure against North Korea should be raised to an unprecedented, new level to urge North Korea to change its policy. In that sense, the Government of Japan highly evaluates its adoption and content.

REPORTER: With this resolution the international community has issued a certain conclusion on this matter, but it could still be said that there is room for further pressure. On August 25 Japan strengthened its own measures against North Korea, but since then there have been further missile launches and a nuclear test. Does the Government intend to impose further sanctions of its own against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will closely monitor the reaction of North Korea to the latest resolution adopted by the UNSC and will continue to consider what would be the most effective means of strengthening pressure to achieve the comprehensive resolution of all matters of concern.

REPORTER: You have stated that the Government will monitor the response by North Korea, but it is the case that the country had already announced that it would take retaliatory measures if a new resolution were to be adopted. If North Korea continues to engage in provocative actions following this latest resolution, will the Government request the UNSC to impose stronger measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally, while the Government welcomes the unanimous adoption of the UNSC resolution and the clear message from the international community that it sends, we will continue to monitor the situation.

REPORTER: You have just praised the extreme strength of the latest UNSC resolution and to date the Government has been calling for maximum pressure to be placed on North Korea, with the Prime Minister himself calling on the international community to step up pressure to another level. Do you consider the content of the latest resolution to be in accordance with the Government’s stated stance on strengthening pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is obvious that the new resolution contains extremely strong and strict measures. In any event, as I noted before, it is anticipated that the combined effect of all relevant resolutions to date will result in North Korea’s foreign currency revenues from exports being reduced by approximately 90 percent. It will therefore be important to ensure the full implementation of all relevant resolutions.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme. According to reports by the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, a new inscription system that improves the transparency of the screening process for the Memory of the World Programme is due to be initiated from next year. This means that there is an increased possibility that documents concerning the comfort women issue that have already been submitted for inscription by civil society groups in Japan, China and the ROK will be inscribed under the current system, which does not provide countries concerned an opportunity to express opinions. What information does the Government have about the current status of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is the case that efforts are underway to revise the current system and ensure that the Memory of the World Programme is implemented in accordance with the original missions and purposes for which UNESCO was established. The Government is fully engaged in this process. As discussions are currently underway at UNESCO I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of the proposed revisions to the system and the outlook. With regard to applications that have already been submitted, such as those you mentioned, my understanding is that a final decision will be made based on deliberations by the International Advisory Committee (IAC), which is scheduled to convene in the autumn. With regard to the submission for inscription of the documents you referred to, the Government considers that these documents are not in accordance with the original mission and purpose of the establishment of UNESCO of fostering friendship and mutual understanding among member countries. We will continue to monitor developments and assert our position when it is necessary to do so.

REPORTER: With regard to the Government’s financial contribution to UNESCO, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indicated that a decision will be made based on the status of deliberations on the new inscription system. How does the Government intend to respond with regard to contributions to UNESCO?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is a matter that has been determined to date by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and we will naturally make a decision on payment of contributions that takes all perspectives into comprehensive consideration.

(Abridged)
 

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