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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 14, 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
 
REPORTER: Last night President Trump made public that he would dismiss Secretary of State Tillerson, who leads U.S. diplomacy. Given that this dismissal comes ahead of the historic first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, can I ask for a comment from the Government?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from making comments on the personnel affairs of a government of another country.
 
REPORTER: I have a related question. This dismissal comes at a time when there is a need for Japan-U.S. cooperation ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. What is your view about the impact on policies regarding North Korea?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Secretary Tillerson stated in a press conference that, effective as of the end of March 13, U.S. time, he will be delegating all responsibilities of the office of the Secretary to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and his commission as Secretary of State will terminate at midnight, March 31. In addition, the appointment of current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mr. Mike Pompeo, as Secretary of State-designate, will require the approval of the U.S. Senate, which will take a certain amount of time. It is for this reason that, as I have just noted, Deputy Secretary Sullivan will assume the responsibilities of the Secretary of State from 1:00 p.m. on March 14, Japan time. We already maintain firm and close communications with the Government of the United States at various levels from those between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump to those at the working level. In that sense, we do not foresee any negative impact in particular. We will continue to engage in close Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation and apply maximum pressure to elicit specific actions from North Korea in the ROK-North Korea and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings towards the abandonment of its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. Needless to say, the same can be said for our efforts to seek a resolution to the abduction issue. With regard to policies towards these meetings, we are completely together with the U.S. and the ROK with regard to such matters, and therefore we do not expect that there will be any adverse effect in particular.
 
REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-North Korea relations. With North Korea moving to engage in dialogue, does the Government intend to explore the possibility of a Japan-North Korea summit meeting with a view to resolving the abduction issue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, there are various press reports on this matter, and I would like to refrain from making comments on each of these individual reports. In any event, it is important that Japan, the United States and the ROK continue to closely coordinate policies ahead of the ROK-North Korea and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings. In addition, we will advance measures towards a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, closely working with the United States and the ROK. Through this process, we will consider our future response from the perspective of what would be most effective in resolving these issues.
 
REPORTER: At this point in time how does the Government see the necessity for direct dialogue with Chairman Kim Jong-un?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just mentioned, we will continue to consider our response from the perspective of what would be most effective for advancing measures towards the comprehensive resolution of the nuclear, missile and abduction issues.
 
REPORTER: You have just stated that the Government will consider its response from the perspective of what would be most effective. Does that mean, depending on the situation, the Government could explore the possibility of holding a Japan-North Korea summit meeting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, we will consider various responses from the perspective of what would be most effective.
 
REPORTER: In the first place, does the Government consider that the recent move could lead to the resolution of the abduction issue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the recent Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk, Prime Minister Abe strongly called for the resolution of the abduction issue. When President Trump visited Japan, he met with the families of the abductees. We believe that he therefore sympathizes with their feelings and concerns. The abduction issue is a top priority for the Government and we will continue to make steadfast efforts.
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. The ROK media and other outlets are abuzz with news that, when Mr. Suh Hoon, Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) of the ROK, paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister yesterday, a chair was prepared that was the same size as the Prime Minister’s. When Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK, and others paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, it appeared as though they had a chair that was smaller than the Prime Minister’s. What was the reason for this difference?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To be honest, I am not aware of this matter. I have received a report that the arrangements regarding courtesy calls are made taking into consideration each individual case.
 
(Abridged)

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