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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 13, 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]

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about a statement you made on a pre-recorded radio program, where you spoke about North Korea’s capacity to miniaturize a nuclear warhead. In the program you stated your belief that North Korea has not yet perfected the miniaturization of missile warheads. However, in a television program in which Defense Minister Onodera appeared on September 10, he stated that looking at the stances of the United States, Russia and China, it is likely that over the course of 10 years of research North Korea has made technological progress towards miniaturization and it must be assumed that North Korea now has such capabilities. It appears that there are differences in your recognitions of the situation. Can I ask you to clarify your own understanding of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I assume that you listened to the program. The question I was asked by the interviewer was related to a statement made by a Chinese official, who stated that the North Korean issue should be tackled based on the assumption that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons. Japan cannot accept the assumption that North Korea is a nuclear weapons state. I responded that the Government is working to urge North Korea to change its policies by strengthening international pressure on it.

REPORTER: So you were not implying that North Korea’s technologies have not reached the stage where it is capable of deploying a miniaturized nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details of Minister Onodera’s statement on this matter, but given that the latest nuclear test was larger in comparison to previous tests, it cannot be denied that North Korea may have achieved a certain level of progress. The question of whether it has successfully managed to miniaturize a nuclear weapon is one that we are working to analyze in cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma. We hear that the working-level meeting of the Council for Promoting the Mitigation of the Impact of MCAS Futenma on Okinawa is due to be held in the near future. What discussions are planned to take place in this meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The meeting will take place tomorrow. I have received a report that the details of the meeting are currently being finalized with Okinawa Prefecture and Ginowan City. In any event, the Government is committed to eliminating the dangers posed by Futenma and alleviating the burden on Okinawa in a tangible manner, and we will provide thorough explanations in order to seek understanding for the Government’s efforts on this matter.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have another point of confirmation about North Korea’s capabilities to miniaturize nuclear warheads on missiles. In the recent radio program you stated the view that North Korea is not yet capable of miniaturization and in this press conference you have stated that analysis is being implemented to assess whether North Korea has successfully achieved miniaturization. Does this mean that you have amended your previous statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, that is not the case at all. As I have already noted, the question I was asked by the interviewer related to a statement made by a Chinese official, who stated that the North Korean issue should be tackled based on the assumption that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons. I responded that the Government cannot accept any discussion that is based on the assumption that North Korea is a nuclear weapons state. That was the context in which my comment was made.

REPORTER: What are your views on considerations to introduce an auction system that would accept competitive bids for the usage rights for radio frequency bands?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the total burden of radio frequency usage in fiscal 2015 increased from approximately 10 billion yen to approximately 20 billion yen among major communications carriers. On the other hand, the burden for private television companies was considerably less, standing at around several hundred million yen. There are cases in other industrialized nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, where authorities determine the usage rights for radio frequency bands for a fixed period through a competitive bidding system. In the meeting of the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council that was held on September 11, I hear that discussions covered the urgent need to create rules to ensure the dynamic reallocation of frequency bands and ensure that they are being utilized more effectively, including enhanced information disclosure on the status of public-private frequency band usage, and the redesigning of the frequency band usage system. In any event, the Government recognizes that frequency bands are a shared public asset. Given the extreme importance of using frequency bands effectively, we will continue to engage in discussion on methods that will contribute to more effective usage, taking international trends and practices into account.
 

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