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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 24, 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]

Q&As
(Abridged)

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe has announced that he will attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics. Could you please explain once again the reason behind this decision, in the midst of the current confrontation between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) over the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, circumstances permitting, the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Pyeongchang in the ROK and attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 9. When the Prime Minister indeed visits the ROK, he will offer his encouragement to the Japanese Olympians and also hold a summit meeting with President Moon. The Olympics are a festival of peace and sports. Looking ahead to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan wishes to contribute to the success of the current Games, which are also being held in Asia. It is with that in mind that the Prime Minister decided to attend the opening ceremony. The recent actions made by the ROK on the Japan-ROK agreement do not have any impact on the decision to attend the opening ceremony. In any case Japan will strongly urge the ROK Government to steadily implement the agreement. We have no intention of budging an inch on the agreement in any way.

REPORTER: Some members of the Liberal Democratic Party are concerned that a visit by the Prime Minister to the ROK could send a wrong message regarding the Japan-ROK agreement. What efforts will the Government make to address this concern?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Arrangements for a summit meeting are currently being made. If a summit meeting is held, Prime Minister Abe will convey Japan’s position on the North Korean issues and the comfort women issue. Specifically, with regard to North Korea, the Prime Minister intends to confirm that Japan and the ROK will use all means possible to increase pressure on North Korea so as to compel it change its policies. Regarding the comfort women issue, the Prime Minister will explain that the Japan-ROK agreement is a commitment between the two countries and that Japan absolutely cannot accept any unilateral requests from the ROK for additional measures, and will strongly urge the ROK to steadily implement the agreement.

REPORTER: Are we to understand that the Japanese Government and the ROK Government are already engaged in official consultations regarding the holding of a summit meeting with President Moon?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Arrangements are currently being made.

REPORTER: I understand that arrangements are currently being made. Is this being done with the intention to set up a summit meeting on February 9, the day of the opening ceremony, or is this also still being coordinated?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Circumstances permitting, including those related to the Diet, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit the ROK and attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang. If this visit is materialized, the Prime Minister will offer encouragement to the Japanese Olympians and hold a summit meeting with President Moon.

REPORTER: As you have just explained, the Government will also take into account the schedule of the Diet. Could you please share the state of arrangements with the Diet, which is the legislative branch, and those with the Government itself?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The ruling parties would request the necessary arrangements to be made at the Diet.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have frequently highlighted the importance of Japan-US-ROK cooperation in addressing the nuclear and missile issues. In light of this, did the US decision to send a delegation headed by Vice President Pence to Pyeongchang affect the Government’s decision regarding whether or not the Prime Minister would attend the opening ceremony?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Not at all. Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Olympics are a festival of peace and sports. Japan wishes to extend its cooperation for the success of this Olympics, which are also being held in Asia. The decision for the Prime Minister to attend the opening ceremony was made with this in mind.

(Abridged)


 

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