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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 7, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: A Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting was just held and I believe the leaders reconfirmed continued cooperation in response to North Korea. Could you please share the contents of the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A summit meeting was held between Prime Minister Abe and President Moon Jae-in of the ROK for 50 minutes from 8:35 AM Japan time this morning. The two leaders shared the recognition that as the threat of North Korea continues to grow, it is now necessary to strengthen pressure. Additionally, it was confirmed that the adoption of even more powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions would be sought, and that Japan and the ROK, and Japan, the United States and the ROK would continue cooperating closely, including urging action from China and Russia. In this way, an in-depth exchange of view about the understanding of current situation and future responses regarding the issue of North Korea was held between the leaders of Japan and the ROK, and our shared perception and continued close cooperation was confirmed, making it a significant meeting. We will continue to advance Japan-ROK relations in a future-oriented manner, while maintaining close communication, including at the leaders’ level.

REPORTER: While I believe close cooperation has been confirmed between Japan, the United States and the ROK, on the other hand, in an ROK-Russia summit meeting, President Putin expressed a highly critical view of sanctions. How do you intend to urge action from Russia and China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, today Prime Minister Abe will hold a Japan-Russia summit meeting. We will use such opportunities, and additionally work at a variety of levels, to continue increasing pressure on North Korea led by Japan, the United States and the ROK. Furthermore, regarding the recent nuclear test by North Korea, extremely severe statements have been made, including from China and Russia. In that context, in order to ensure that North Korea does not engage in any acts of provocation, we will work to change the policies of North Korea by urging action from China and Russia, and furthermore countries throughout the world, primarily through the UNSC.

REPORTER: While China and Russia are demonstrating a cautious attitude regarding increased pressure, the United States is seeking the adoption of additional sanctions against North Korea on 11 September. Please share your expectations on whether you believe this can be achieved.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the proposed UNSC resolution has been shared with each of the members in an undisclosed manner, and will not be publicized. Furthermore, as deliberations have just begun, I would like to refrain from commenting on when the resolution might be proposed, or how specifically the matter will progress. However, in any case, Japan believes it is essential that a new UNSC resolution that includes strict measures is adopted as soon as possible. We will continue cooperating closely with the UNSC members, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the ROK, while also maintaining close communication with countries such as China and Russia.

REPORTER: Related to North Korea, I would like to ask about the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. In yesterday’s press conference, you stated that Japan would strictly adhere to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. Compared to the time when the Three Non-Nuclear Principles were decided, however, the nuclear weapon development of North Korea has greatly progressed, and the threat posed to Japan has become a severe one. Considering the current conditions, I believe Japan’s policy, including permitting the United States to bring nuclear weapons to Japan, should be discussed, but what are your thoughts on the necessity of such deliberations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As a matter of policy, the Government has strictly adhered to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles to date. On a legal basis, in addition to the Atomic Energy Basic Act stipulating that atomic energy research and utilization must only be conducted for peaceful purposes, as a non-nuclear-weapon state according to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Japan is obligated to not accept or produce nuclear weapons. To date, the Government has not discussed reviewing the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, and has no intention to do so in the future either.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe has long stated that the maximum possible pressure will be applied to North Korea. Do you believe it is possible that such an improvement in nuclear deterrence through the Japan-U.S. Alliance would increase pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe we have the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance, Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, UNSC resolutions that include China and Russia, the transition of existing UNSC resolutions from adoption to implementation, and now the discussion of even further strengthened measures against North Korea. We have adopted such resolutions and are transitioning them to the implementation stage. Through these initiatives we will change North Korea’s policy and its actions. That is the Government’s basic policy.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister held a summit meeting with the President of Mongolia yesterday. On the same day, Vice-President Komura of the Liberal Democratic Party held a meeting in Iran as the personal envoy of the Prime Minister. In both meetings, the Japanese side called for understanding and support in the policies against North Korea. Could you please explain the significance of urging countries aside from China and Russia that also have ties to North Korea to take action?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we consider the understanding and support of UNSC members and other UN members to be extremely important for increasing pressure on North Korea. In that context, the Government will urge action from permanent members of the Security Council, such as the United Kingdom and France. The Prime Minister has also made efforts to engage Australia, Germany, and, as you have just mentioned, Mongolia. Foreign Minister Kono is also proactively undertaking diplomatic initiatives, such as engaging the ambassadors of non-permanent members of the UNSC based in Tokyo.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Japan-ROK summit meeting. Was the issue of the requisition of workers raised in the recent meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that Prime Minister Abe stated Japan’s position that the 1965 Agreement on the Settlement of Problems Concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the Republic of Korea entirely and finally resolved this issue.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. Did President Moon Jae-in make any statement in response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The President made an explanation of the ROK side’s position.

REPORTER: Regarding the details, did the President once again state that the right of individuals to make claims has not been rescinded?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting as this involves diplomatic communications.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Regarding the issues of comfort women and the requisition of workers, does the Government of Japan consider the recent summit meeting to have achieved a measure of success, or do you think there has been no change to the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has maintained a consistent position regarding these issues at all times, and has emphasized that it is important that both sides steadily implement the Japan-ROK Agreement.

REPORTER: Regarding the Government of Japan’s position, did President Moon Jae-in demonstrate a degree of understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The President provided an explanation of the ROK side’s position, but I would like to refrain from making a statement on diplomatic matters.

REPORTER: Last month, a Japanese Parliamentarian Delegation paid a visit to Beijing, and it has been reported in the press that during a meeting with Mr. Kong Xuanyou, Special Representative of the Chinese Government for Korean Peninsula Issues, on 30 August, Mr. Kong stated that if the situation escalates due to prolonged pressure, scenarios are possible where North Korea launches a missile that passes over Tokyo. Could you please share the facts of this point and the Government’s reaction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not aware of this matter. I would like to refrain from making a statement.

REPORTER: Is the Government also considering the possibility of North Korea launching a missile that passes over Tokyo?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Protecting the lives, properties and peaceful daily lives of the people is the most important duty of the Government, and we are currently working to maintain a robust posture considering a variety of scenarios.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Coinciding with the nuclear test on 3 September, North Korea alluded to an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack which could wipe out the overall societal infrastructure, and there are opinions that as Japan is not a continental country, but rather an island nation, it may be easy to strike. While I believe it is still in the research stage, as can be seen in the budgetary requests by the Ministry of Defense for FY2018, could you please share your viewpoint on considerations being made for the reinforcement of the financial, defense and communication networks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is gathering and analyzing information with the gravest sense of concern regarding the various developments of North Korea, including the development of such weapons. Furthermore, in preparation for the remote chance that such a strike actually occurs, we are of course aware that efforts are necessary to minimize the effect on the daily lives of the people, and are therefore considering the necessary countermeasures.

REPORTER: You just mentioned it in your statement, but in relation to this incident, the media is reporting that a government report made to the U.S. Congress in 2004 estimated that in the event of a strike on the U.S. mainland, 90% of U.S. citizens would be dead in one year, and it is therefore possible that people’s interest in the matter will grow. Is it possible that information will be distributed through the Civil Protection Portal Site?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in preparation for the remote chance that an EMP attack does occur, it goes without saying that the Government will consider the necessary countermeasures in an effort to minimize the impact on the daily lives of the people. At the same time, we will consider disseminating information through media such as the Civil Protection Portal Site during our deliberations.
 

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