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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 3, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

A short while ago, the National Security Council (NSC) held a meeting and discussed information related to the nuclear test conducted by North Korea. Based on a comprehensive consideration of the information that we have so far, including observation of seismic waves which may differ from the ordinary waveform of a natural earthquake, the Government deems that North Korea conducted a nuclear test today. North Korea's nuclear and missile development poses a new level of threat - more grave and imminent - to Japan’s security and seriously undermines the peace and security of the region as well as the international community. Japan cannot accept this by any means, and immediately lodged a serious protest against North Korea through the “embassy” channel in Beijing, condemning North Korea in the strongest possible terms. Furthermore, Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have immediately begun making arrangements for holding an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Based on the outcomes of the NSC meeting, the Prime Minister instructed three new items in addition to the three items he had already instructed, namely: take all possible measures to gather and analyze information, including the forthcoming moves by North Korea; strengthen the monitoring structure, collaborating with relevant countries, so as to identify the impact of radioactive materials caused by the nuclear test; and take all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of the Japanese people, including fully preparing for contingencies. Additionally, at the NSC meeting the Statement by the Prime Minister was deliberated and finalized, as has been distributed to you, so I ask that you please take a look at it. As regards the impact on Japan of the radioactive substances released by the underground nuclear test, it is generally considered that radioactive substances are unlikely to be released into the atmosphere in the case of underground nuclear tests. In fact, abnormal values were not detected in Japan following announcements of North Korea’s previous five nuclear tests. We ask the people to remain calm and continue on with their daily lives and activities as usual.

Q&As

REPORTER: Could I ask about the basis on which you determined that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) determined that North Korea conducted a nuclear test based on a comprehensive judgment of the information that we have so far, including observation of seismic waves which may differ from the ordinary waveform of a natural earthquake.

REPORTER: In order to consider a response to this test, will telephone talks be held with President Trump of the United States and President Moon of the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The leaders, foreign ministers, and defense ministers, respectively, will be deepening their cooperation urgently. However, at this point in time nothing has been decided yet.

REPORTER: What is the Government’s view about the possibility of the United States engaging in military action following North Korea’s nuclear test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, it is important to strengthen pressure on North Korea so that it changes its policies and actions.

REPORTER: The earthquake caused by the nuclear test was measured at a magnitude of 6.1, the largest-ever tremors caused by a nuclear test by North Korea. What is the Government’s analysis of the size of the tremors?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the JMA has estimated the size of the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.1, the largest-ever of its kind, as you just mentioned in your question. The details are currently being analyzed. In any event, it is unacceptable that North Korea has gone ahead with conducting this nuclear test.

REPORTER: I understand that details are currently being analyzed, but is it the Government’s view that a nuclear test with even larger destructive force than before has been conducted?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true based on the magnitude of the earthquake that an extremely large amount of energy was used.

REPORTER: North Korea will mark the anniversary of its founding on September 9. It was on September 9 last year that North Korea conducted its previous nuclear test. What is the Government’s analysis with regard to the timing of the latest test as well as the Government’s forecast regarding the possibility of North Korea engaging in further provocative actions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is making maximum efforts to monitor the situation and gather and analyze information on North Korea. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from going into detail, but we are taking all possible measures to fully protect the safety and peaceful daily lives of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: You mentioned earlier that an emergency meeting of the UNSC is due to be convened, so can you comment on the necessity of strengthening sanctions against North Korea, including the imposition of oil supply restrictions or a ban on oil imports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is a fact that China and Russia are suppliers of crude oil and oil products to North Korea. The Government is monitoring the impact such actions by China and Russia could have on the international community’s measures against North Korea. We are also engaged in serious considerations on making a strong response to North Korea, examining what would be the most effective means of strengthening pressure in order to achieve the resolution of outstanding issues in a comprehensive manner, including the option of seeking a new UNSC resolution. In the course of such considerations it is of the utmost importance to take into account such matters as North Korea’s external economic relations and its sources of foreign currency. We therefore have various options when considering how to respond, including imposing regulations on the trade of crude oil and oil products.

REPORTER: Both China and Russia are wary or reluctant to put greater pressure on North Korea, and a Japan-Russia summit meeting is scheduled to take place soon. Could you tell us how the Government intends to approach China and Russia and create consensus among the countries concerned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have been approaching China and Russia through diplomatic channels. In addition, in summit meetings to date Prime Minister Abe has also called strongly for pressure on North Korea to be increased. As a result, a ban on coal imports from North Korea was actually included in the recently adopted UNSC resolution. The Government considers it to be imperative to further increase pressure on North Korea following this nuclear test in order to change its policies and actions.

REPORTER: You have just mentioned the necessity of further strengthening pressure on North Korea, so is it the case that in the UNSC the Government will be calling strongly for the imposition of a ban on oil exports to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is a fact that there are various options available to us when considering what is important, taking into account North Korea’s sources of foreign currency and external economic relations, and that what you said could be included in our options.

REPORTER: In relation to the United Nations, it is already the case that a new UNSC sanctions resolution has recently been passed and Japan has also implemented its own measures against North Korea. Notwithstanding such measures, North Korea has gone ahead with a nuclear test. What is your view of the current situation in which these measures have failed to halt North Korea’s provocative actions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The recently adopted UNSC resolution included a ban on the import of coal from North Korea and China also approved this resolution. It is said that coal accounts for approximately one-third of the country’s economy and under the most recent resolution coal is now subject to import restrictions. It will be important to ensure that the sanctions that have been adopted so far are implemented. Also, despite the extremely strongly worded statements from the UNSC, North Korea has gone ahead with this nuclear test and recently also launched a missile that flew over Japan. Considering this situation, we are looking to the UNSC to issue a further strong statement, and as I just stated, are also considering various options for a further resolution that takes into account North Korea’s external economic relations and foreign currency sources, as we seek to make the country change its actions and policies.

REPORTER: Will the Government be considering not just a sanctions resolution by the UNSC, but also its own original measures against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will take responses while coordinating with various countries concerned.

REPORTER: A large amount of energy was released by the explosion of the nuclear test, so what is the Government’s view on the possibility that this was a hydrogen bomb test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are currently analyzing various information.

REPORTER: Were there signs that North Korea was preparing for a nuclear test today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is constantly monitoring nuclear and missile developments in North Korea and collecting and analyzing information. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from discussing the details.

REPORTER: North Korea has emphasized that it has made advances in the development of a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could be fitted on a missile. Does the Government hold a similar view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, we are constantly collecting and analyzing information on various matters, including the one you mentioned, and exchanging information with other countries, including the United States and the ROK. However, given the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from discussing the details.

REPORTER: Was there any discussion about the signs relating to this nuclear test by North Korea in this morning’s Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of the telephone talk.
 

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