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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 16, 2018 (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 were statements on the overview of the Cabinet meeting and others.)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about the foreign ministers’ meeting which will be held in Vancouver, Canada. Foreign Minister Taro Kono will attend the meeting, where foreign ministers will discuss the issue of North Korean nuclear weapons and missiles. What is the Government’s view regarding the significance of holding this meeting at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nuclear armament of North Korea is totally unacceptable. It is necessary to fully implement the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions as well as use all means to place maximum pressure on North Korea to compel it to change its policies. At this meeting, we would like to send a strong message that the international community maintains this policy.

REPORTER: China and Russia, which have influence over North Korea, will not attend the meeting. In this regard, what do you think about the effectiveness of the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Government should refrain from making comments on individual countries’ attendance and non-attendance at the meeting. In any event, a total of 21 countries, comprising mainly the United Nations Command Sending States, are scheduled to attend the meeting. We believe that this will be an extremely significant meeting in terms of exchanging views from the perspective of what would be the most effective means of strengthening pressure on North Korea. The Government will continue to collaborate and cooperate closely with China and Russia on North Korea.

REPORTER: According to some reports, in the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, the Government is considering having the Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Force vessels cooperate in temporarily evacuating Japanese and U.S. nationals in the Republic of Korea (ROK), to the island of Tsushima. What are the facts of the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, when Japanese nationals are in danger overseas, it is a matter of course that the Government makes every effort to protect and rescue them. Furthermore, it is our duty. Therefore, the Government anticipates a variety of scenarios that require the protection or evacuation of Japanese nationals in the ROK, and is making the necessary preparations and considerations. However, as revealing the specifics of these considerations would have a grave impact on the safety of Japanese nationals, I would like to refrain from commenting. In any event, we take all possible measures to be able to respond appropriately to any situation.

REPORTER: Since last year you have said that this year the situation in North Korea would approach a critical stage. Is it correct to understand that the evacuation plan for Japanese nationals has already been developed in detail?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as I just stated, it is the duty of the Government to make every effort to protect and rescue Japanese nationals overseas. Therefore, we constantly anticipate a variety of scenarios that require evacuation, and are making the preparations and considerations.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Chinese nuclear submarine that was traveling submerged near the Senkaku Islands. Can you tell us once again the Government’s view regarding the significance of the vessel being a nuclear submarine, and how the Government sees its threat?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On two days, January 11 and 12, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs expressed our serious concerns to the Chinese Ambassador to Japan, and lodged a strong protest as well as urged China to ensure that this does not happen again. The Government will resolutely defend Japan’s territorial land, sea and airspace, and will deal with the matter in a firm but calm manner.

REPORTER: It is considered that the nuclear submarine can carry cruise missiles and travel longer distances than a conventional submarine. What measures does the Government believe are needed against this threat posed by the submarine?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I just stated, the Government will resolutely defend Japan’s territorial land, sea and airspace, and will deal with the matter in a firm but calm manner. The Japan-U.S. Alliance forms the basis of our ability to take such responses.

REPORTER: I have a question related to the earlier question on temporary evacuation in case of an emergency on the Peninsula. If the Government has begun considering such concrete plans, does this imply that the Government thinks an emergency related to North Korea has become imminent and will occur with a fairly high probability? Furthermore, is the Government currently not considering announcing specific numbers regarding the extent to which such an emergency is expected to affect Japanese, ROK, and other nationals?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, when Japanese nationals overseas are in danger, it is of course the Government's duty to make every effort to protect and rescue them. We are constantly anticipating a variety of scenarios that require the protection and evacuation of Japanese nationals in the ROK, and are making the necessary preparations and considerations. I would like to refrain from providing details on that matter.
 

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