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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 26, 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 and others.)

Q&As

REPORTER: In the Cabinet meeting or the following informal meeting of cabinet ministers, did the Prime Minister refer to the dissolution of the Diet and did he also give any instructions to Cabinet ministers, including about crisis management and response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister explained about the press conference he gave yesterday in which he announced his intention to dissolve the Diet. He also made a comment that with regard to Japan’s crisis management structure, Defense Minister Onodera and I are basically to take the lead in such responses.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to return to the matter of crisis management and response. In a television program broadcast yesterday, the Prime Minister stated with regard to the issue of North Korea that during the election campaign period you and Defense Minister Onodera will be responding fully to any developments, based in Tokyo. Are we to understand that you and Defense Minister Onodera will basically be remaining in Tokyo to respond to any situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, it is the case that the two of us aim to ensure a comprehensive readiness structure remains in place.

REPORTER: Last year there was a missile launch by North Korea during the election campaign for the House of Councillors. I believe that since then Japan has strengthened its readiness and response structures, but can I ask what the Government’s view is of how the situation relating to North Korea has changed since last year’s election?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to make it very clear that the Government itself is not being dissolved. We constantly maintain a round-the-clock, year-round response structure to protect the lives, properties and peaceful daily lives of the people from the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea. The Defense Minister and I will be at the center of the Government’s crisis management and response structure. The way in which ministers have been assigned duties is different from how it was for the previous election for the House of Councillors.

REPORTER: I imagine that the Prime Minister will be travelling around the country on the campaign trail, so are we to understand that this will not affect such matters as the convening of the four ministers’ meeting of the National Security Council?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has previously been the case that such meetings have been convened while the Prime Minister himself was away on overseas visits. In all such situations we have ensured a thorough crisis management and response structure.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, about the comfort women issue. Yesterday the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced plans to erect a memorial dedicated to the comfort women in a national cemetery. What is the Government’s view of this announcement, given that the Japan-ROK agreement concerning the comfort women of 2015 confirmed that the issue is resolved finally and irreversibly?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the matter you raised. These developments go against the spirit of the Japan-ROK agreement, which confirmed that the issue was finally and irreversibly resolved. Furthermore, the Government is concerned that they also threaten to disrupt the current moves for Japan and the ROK to mutually develop a future-oriented relationship. We have strongly expressed these concerns to the ROK side. Furthermore, the Japan-ROK agreement was confirmed by the leaders of both countries. It is also a pledge to the international community and it is of the utmost importance for the contents of the agreement to be steadily implemented.

REPORTER: In addition to plans for this monument to the comfort women, the Government of the ROK has indicated that it is contemplating other commemorative events. Given the need for Japan and the ROK to work together in responding to the North Korea issue, do you think that these moves initiated by the Government of the ROK could impact such cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, as I have just noted, and as you have mentioned in your question, the Japan-ROK agreement was confirmed by the leaders of both countries as finally and irreversibly resolving the issue. The conclusion of the agreement was welcomed by the United States and by the international community and it is therefore of the utmost importance for both sides to steadily implement the agreement. That is what we will strongly request to the ROK side.

(Abridged)
 

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