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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 4, 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

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). I believe ongoing efforts are being made to hold the meeting tonight, Japan time. Could you tell us about the progress of the negotiations towards banning or restricting oil exports to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that an emergency meeting has been scheduled for 11 p.m. this evening, Japan time. I understand that various discussions will be continuing until the meeting is convened. At the current point I have nothing further to add.

REPORTER: I have a question relating to North Korean issues. Mr. Antonio Inoki, a member of the House of Councillors, is planning to visit North Korea from September 7 to 11. The Government is requesting all Japanese nationals to refrain from travel to North Korea as part of its measures against the country. What is your view of this planned visit by Mr. Inoki under such circumstances?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the press reports on this matter. As part of measures taken against North Korea, the Government of Japan is requesting all Japanese nationals to refrain from travel to the country, and therefore, people should respond appropriately, based on this policy. We have already been advising the Diet member in question of our view.

REPORTER: It is believed that Mr. Inoki hopes to find a path towards dialogue on the nuclear and missile development issues of North Korea. What is the Government’s view of this visit which comes at a time when the Government is trying to collaborate with various countries to put greater pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Please direct your question to Mr. Inoki. The Government is requesting all Japanese nationals to refrain from travelling to North Korea.

REPORTER: In today’s Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit telephone talk the two leaders agreed to seek to strengthen measures against North Korea. What is your evaluation of the ROK’s response to this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in today’s summit telephone talk the leaders agreed that with the escalating threat posed by North Korea, now is not the time to engage in dialogue, but rather a time to place pressure on North Korea, and that it is important to continue to maintain close cooperation between Japan and the ROK and among Japan, the ROK, and the United States. The Government recognizes the extreme importance of Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation. It will be also important to call on China and Russia, and, by doing so, place pressure on North Korea through the forum of the UNSC so that the country changes its policies.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning developments in North Korea. In a report to the ROK parliament earlier, the Ministry of National Defense of the ROK indicated that there are signs that North Korea is preparing for a ballistic missile launch. What is the Government of Japan’s understanding of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the reports on this matter. The Government is conducting maximum monitoring and surveillance, and on this basis, is collecting and analyzing information concerning nuclear and missile-related developments in North Korea. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from discussing specific items of information.

REPORTER: You have stated that Japan, the United States, and the ROK are engaged in close cooperation, but could you tell us if Japan, the United States and the ROK share the same recognition on what constitutes a red line that must not be crossed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are engaged in close cooperation.

REPORTER: With the anniversary of the founding of North Korea coming up on September 9, what is the Government’s view on the possibility of North Korea engaging in further provocative actions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are constantly making maximum efforts to monitor nuclear and missile-related developments in North Korea, and collecting and analyzing information through a monitoring and surveillance structure. I would like to refrain from commenting on the details.

REPORTER: I believe that the Diet Affairs Committee chairpersons of the ruling and opposition parties have met this afternoon to discuss the issues of North Korea. In that meeting Chairperson Kazunori Yamanoi of the Democratic Party commented that in the current circumstances, where there is no knowing when North Korea will next launch a missile, Prime Minister Abe has made approximately three trips from the Official Residence of the Prime Minister to his private residence, including last night. I understand he noted that under the current situation it would be advisable for the Prime Minister to remain at the Official Residence. What is the Government’s current opinion on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the matter you mentioned. It is the case that the Government is conducting maximum monitoring and surveillance. It is the most important responsibility of the Government to protect the safety and security of the people of Japan.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister travels between the Official Residence and his private residence, and I understand that after the nuclear test yesterday he hurriedly returned to the Official Residence. In a situation in which there is no knowing when North Korea will launch another missile, some have noted that the Prime Minister should always remain at the Official Residence. Is it the Government’s intention to move in that direction, or does the Government find it acceptable for the Prime Minister to continue to travel between his private residence and the Official Residence, given that his private residence is close by?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Under the current situation is there no knowing when there will be another missile launch? I would like you to make statements that are based on objective facts. The Government is taking all possible measures to respond to all situations. I would like to make it clear that it is the most important responsibility of the Government to protect the safety, security and peaceful daily lives of the people of Japan, and therefore, we are taking all possible measures.

REPORTER: Some regions are implementing evacuation training in response to North Korean missile launches. As such activities demonstrate, concerns are growing in Japan day by day regarding evacuations. In the event of a contingency the most dangerous place is said to be the ROK, particularly Seoul. In a contingency situation it is forecast that there would be great confusion. Does the Government have any views on the implementation of evacuation training that anticipates the evacuation of Japanese nationals in the ROK in a contingency scenario?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Embassy of Japan and Consulates-General in the ROK are constantly in close contact with Japan-related groups and organizations, including Japanese associations and Japanese schools. In coordination with such organizations training has been implemented that anticipates emergency scenarios. Recently the lines of contact between such organizations and the Embassy and Consulates-General have also been confirmed. In order to ensure that full preparations are in place and that an emergency response can be implemented smoothly, training was implemented on communication structures and procedures for confirming the safety of Japanese nationals in May and June this year.

REPORTER: I hear that in the meeting of the Diet Affairs Committee chairpersons of the ruling and opposition parties another point was raised. In discussions in the Standing Committee on Security of the House of Representatives, Diet member Mr. Yuichi Goto of the Democratic Party had previously raised the issue of whether the Government had known about the missile launch on August 29 on the night before, and in the Diet Affairs Committee chairpersons’ meeting conveyed to Chairperson Hiroshi Moriyama of the Liberal Democratic Party that it would be preferable for the Government to release information on the situation to the extent that it is possible to do so. Is the Government able to provide any explanation on this matter at the current time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is a Diet-related matter, I suggest that you direct your question to the Diet.
 

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