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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 5, 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: I have a question about inter-Korean relations. The Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) is expected to send a special envoy to North Korea and discuss issues such as progress in inter-Korean relations and a dialogue between the United States and North Korea toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. With respect to this meeting, what are the points that the Government of Japan is focusing its attention on?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the response to North Korea, including the latest dispatch of the special envoys to North Korea, it is important that any responses fully take into account the lessons of the past experiences, namely that previous series of dialogues with North Korea have not led to denuclearization. I would like to refrain from conjecturing on the outcomes. It is of the utmost importance to continue to urge North Korea to commit to the abandonment of its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and to demonstrate its commitment with concrete actions towards that direction. Japan and the United States are in complete agreement on that point. We will continue to closely share information bilaterally with the ROK and trilaterally among Japan, the United States and the ROK and respond to North Korean issues.
 
REPORTER: With regard to the meeting of the special envoys, one of the focuses would be whether the ROK could do a bridge-building aimed at materializing dialogue between North Korea and the United States. You have just mentioned about Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation. What role will Japan seek to play in response to the recent move by the ROK?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in responding to North Korea, we are engaged in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation on various levels.
 
REPORTER: As you have also mentioned, North Korea has not changed its position of not agreeing to hold a dialogue with the premise of denuclearization. What is the Government’s outlook for the outcomes of the meeting that the special envoys are to hold?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from making comments on specific and individual matters from Japan’s point of view, out of diplomatic discretion. We are constantly engaged in close Japan-U.S., Japan-U.S.-ROK and Japan-ROK cooperation in responding to this issue, and our policy of applying maximum pressure on North Korea is absolutely unwavering.
 
REPORTER: At what level is the Government expected to receive a report from the ROK on the outcome of the special envoys’ dispatch?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What I would like to state here is that we are engaging in close Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation on various levels.
 
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. President Trump’s announcement that he intends to introduce import restrictions on steel and aluminum has provoked a widespread opposition in Europe, China and elsewhere. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Seko has conveyed Japan’s concerns to the United States. Could you tell us how the Government perceives these import restriction measures by the United States?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we are of course aware of the remarks made by President Trump. Our understanding is that the Government of the United States has yet to announce the details of the measures that it will impose. As you noted, on March 3, Minister Seko conveyed to Secretary of Commerce Ross that imports of steel and aluminum from Japan, an ally of the United States, will not adversely impact its security. In addition, we have repeatedly expresse d Japan’s concerns through diplomatic channels, including from Foreign Minister Kono to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Lighthizer. In any event, we will continue to watch closely actions taken by the United States and respond appropriately.
 
REPORTER: You have just stated that the Government will watch closely the actions of the United States on this matter, whereas the European Union (EU) has indicated that it is considering countermeasures based on the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. At the current point, is the Government considering similar countermeasures of its own in response to the measures taken by the United States? If not, is there any possibility that Japan will join with the EU or other countries in responding to them?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as the Government of the United States has yet to announce the details of the measures it will impose, I would like to refrain from answering based on conjecture about any specific responses by the Government of Japan. I would add that after carefully analyzing what the measures would entail and the impact such measures would have on Japanese companies, we will respond firmly and appropriately, seeking first to engage in consultations with the United States.
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of the U.S. tariffs. Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom and others have directly expressed their deep concerns about these measures to President Trump in telephone talks. Is Prime Minister Abe supposed to make a similar response?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the United States regularly and properly responded to matters of mutual concern at various levels of government, including at the summit level. With regard to the responses to this matter, I would like to refrain from conjecturing about exchanges at the summit level.
 
(Abridged)

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