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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 23, 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

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: His Excellency Mr. Peter Christian, President of Micronesia, will pay an official working visit to Japan from October 23 to 26. During his stay in Japan, the President will make a state call on His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. Prime Minister Abe will also hold a summit meeting with the President and host a dinner. Micronesia and Japan are neighbors connected by the Pacific Ocean, and are important partners that have had a close relationship historically. Next year we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Micronesia. By inviting President Christian to Japan, we will seek to further deepen our bilateral partnership.

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Dealing with North Korea was included in the LDP’s election campaign pledge. What kind of diplomacy will the Government be undertaking in response to North Korean threats?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the sanctions resolution that was recently adopted by the United Nations (UN) contains unprecedentedly severe measures.  As the resolution was adopted unanimously among the UN member states, we consider it critical that these measures are thoroughly implemented. As there is a commission to monitor its implementation within the UN, the Government will make full use of it and other available mechanisms to deal with this issue.

REPORTER: I have a related question. With regard to the responses to North Korea, the pledge mentioned strengthening missile response capabilities. President Trump of the United States will also be visiting Japan next month; how exactly will the Government be enhancing its missile response capabilities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, throughout this election campaign the Government was fully prepared to take actions immediately in response to incidents such as North Korea’s ballistic missile launches. We did this by having the Self-Defense Forces carry out surveillance and monitoring, while Minister of Defense Onodera and I stayed mostly in Tokyo. The situation will continue to be severe, and we will therefore make every effort to ensure there are no gaps or holes. In addition, North Korea has proceeded to strengthen its ballistic missile capabilities. In the face of this situation, we must work as quickly as possible to fundamentally strengthen our ability to protect all of Japan constantly and continuously, and thereby, further build up our readiness to secure the lives of the people, as well as Japan’s territorial land, waters, and airspace. We are requesting funds in the FY2018 budget request to introduce defense equipment, especially Aegis Ashore and others, as key items of the budget. In this context, the Government will take such actions, and at the same time, take all possible measures against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats through monitoring and surveillance.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: A helicopter of the U.S. Forces burst into flames during the election campaign. The aircraft was removed without the Government being able to carry out an investigation. Furthermore, flights were resumed even though the Government had not confirmed the safety of the helicopter. In response to this, the people of Okinawa are once again calling for the revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Does the Government view that the current situation is an ideal form under the SOFA?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, there cannot be any resumption of flights without the assurance of safety. The Government has been requesting the United States to take all possible measures to ensure safety management and to minimize impacts on the local residents. We will continue to fully push the United States at all levels to ensure the safety of U.S. Forces’ flights.

(Abridged)
 

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