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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 5, 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.)

Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Vladivostok in Russia from September 6 to 7, where he will attend the Eastern Economic Forum, and also hold meetings with the leaders of Russia, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In the Japan-Russia summit meeting it is expected that the leaders will engage in a frank exchange of opinions on bilateral relations, including the issue of the conclusion of a peace treaty, and also on the international situation, including the issue of North Korea. Through the Japan-Mongolia summit meeting it is expected that our strategic partnership will be further strengthened. In the Japan-ROK summit meeting the two leaders will exchange views extensively on the formation of a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship and on a future response to issues relating to North Korea.

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning additional sanctions by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Following the nuclear test by North Korea, the G7 has issued a leaders’ statement, calling for the UNSC to adopt a resolution that includes additional sanctions. Can I ask for the Government’s evaluation of this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given the seriousness of the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear test on September 3, the G7 leaders issued a statement on September 4. This statement includes in particular a call for the UNSC to work towards the adoption of a new and effective resolution. Such matters are the focus of this statement. The Government will continue to respond firmly to North Korea as we continue to deepen cooperation with the international community, including the G7 members.

REPORTER: Does the Government consider that the G7 statement will help in the adoption of a new resolution on sanctions against North Korea that Japan and other countries are calling for?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that this statement by the G7 leaders will have a major effect on the international community as a whole.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of North Korea. Some press reports suggest that China and Russia are reluctant to accept a proposal for a new sanctions resolution that would include a ban on the export of oil to North Korea. If China and Russia do reject a proposal to ban exports of oil to North Korea, what does the Government consider to be the next feasible measure to strengthen sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in the emergency meeting of the UNSC, Japan, the United States, and the ROK are closely working together towards the adoption of a robust resolution that includes strict measures. When considering a UNSC resolution it is most important to take into account North Korea’s external economic relations and sources of foreign currency. Various options can be thought of in this context. As the content of the resolution is currently being discussed at the UNSC I would like to refrain from making any further comment so as not to compromise the discussions. In any event, I believe that there will be serious discussion on future responses to North Korea, from the perspective of considering the most effective means of strengthening pressure on North Korea towards the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues.

REPORTER: The North Korea Sanctions Committee of the UNSC has issued a midterm report, in which it is noted that some countries are not cooperating with the sanctions and this is creating loopholes in the sanctions. Some have observed that even if a resolution on banning exports of oil to North Korea were to be adopted, if there are loopholes it would not lead to effective sanctions. What specific measures do you consider to be necessary in order to enhance the effectiveness of sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we are currently seeking the adoption of a new UNSC resolution in response to the issue of North Korea. At the same time, what is important is to ensure the full implementation by all U.N. members states of the UNSC resolutions that have been adopted to date. The Government of Japan will continue to make maximum efforts to ensure the full implementation of relevant UNSC resolutions, utilizing the forum of the North Korea Sanctions Committee and also directly calling on countries concerned.

REPORTER: China and Russia have emphasized the necessity for the United States and the ROK to halt joint military exercises as a means of defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. What is the Government’s view of this concept?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that China and Russia have expressed such positions. The Government considers that it is entirely inappropriate to discuss the U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, which are for the purpose of preparing to respond to the nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea, on the same terms with UNSC resolutions, as well as the nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches of North Korea, which violate international law. The Government recognizes the necessity of the strong deterrence capability of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and the U.S.-ROK Alliance in order to ensure the defense of Japan and the peace and security of the region. From this perspective, Japan highly values the Trump administration’s stance of leaving all options on the table. We are taking all possible measures to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: I have a question about the “human resources development revolution” that is one of the priorities of the Government. There are press reports suggesting that Prof. Lynda Gratton of the United Kingdom is to be appointed as a member of an advisory council to deliberate specific policies. Could you tell us the status of the arrangements and the aim of this appointment, and also the expected schedule for meetings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister Motegi will be formally announcing the expert members of the council, which will be the pillar of the “human resources development revolution” envisioned by the Prime Minister. This is a bold initiative to create a vision for an economy and society in which people can live until they are 100 years old, where all children are able to work hard towards reaching their dreams regardless of their family’s economic situation, and where all people can return to education and take up new challenges regardless of their age. In line with the breadth of this vision, we are seeking the participation of experts from all generations and from a wide range of backgrounds. We will hold the first meeting, after which an interim report is expected to be compiled by the end of the year. I believe that Minister Motegi is in the process of considering various people for appointment to the council.

(Abridged)

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