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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 7, 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: I have a question about inter-Korean relations. It has been decided that a ROK-North Korea summit meeting will take place at the end of April. Could you tell us how the Government analyzes the reason why North Korea has agreed to hold a summit meeting, and also what measures it will take in response to this decision?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, any response to North Korea should be fully based on the lesson that previous dialogue with North Korea has not led to denuclearization. Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is also meaningless. In order to engage in meaningful dialogue, it is of the utmost importance for North Korea to commit to abandoning its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and to demonstrate concrete actions towards denuclearization. In the statement released by Vice President Pence of the United States on March 6, following the announcement made by the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK), it was confirmed that the United States will continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea based on its consistent position that all options are on the table until North Korea demonstrates concrete steps towards denuclearization. The Government will continue to engage in Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation and work with other countries concerned, using all means to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to make it change its policies and abandon its nuclear and missile programs. Our aforementioned position to date, including on the abduction issue, is absolutely unwavering.
 
REPORTER: According to the ROK’s explanation, North Korea made clear that it is willing to move towards denuclearization. What is the Government’s analysis of North Korea’s intentions?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As a first step it will be necessary to receive a thorough briefing from the ROK. As the matter you mentioned is based on the announcement issued by the Government of the ROK, I would like to refrain from commenting on specific topics in the announcement. 
 
REPORTER: Some press reports suggest that Mr. Suh Hoon, Director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) of the ROK, is to visit Japan. Could you tell us whether it has been confirmed when the NIS Director is coming to Japan and who in the Government is to meet with him?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have already engaged in communications on this matter through various channels with the relevant ROK authorities concerning the outcomes of the special envoys’ visit to North Korea, including this announcement. We are working with the ROK to receive a necessary briefing as soon as possible. Director Suh Hoon of the NIS was part of the delegation that visited North Korea and his visit to Japan is currently in the process of being arranged.
 
REPORTER: The ROK has expressed its view that the conditions required to hold a U.S.-North Korea dialogue are adequately met. Meanwhile, judging from what you have just mentioned, is it the view of the Government that such conditions have not been adequately fulfilled yet?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, following the announcement by the Government of the ROK, Vice President Pence issued a statement that the United States will continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea based on its consistent position that all options are on the table until North Korea demonstrates concrete steps towards denuclearization. In any event, there is no change in the Government’s approach of using all means to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to make it change its policies, making it commit to abandoning its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and demonstrate specific actions towards denuclearization.
 
REPORTER: You have constantly emphasized the importance of close Japan-U.S. cooperation and coordination of policies. Now that an inter-Korean summit meeting has been decided, are there any plans for Prime Minister Abe to hold a telephone talk with President Trump in the near future?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we constantly maintain close communication with the Government of the United States at various levels and we will continue to do so. Indeed, we have continued to communicate with the United States through various channels since the announcement by the Government of the ROK. As I have already mentioned, Vice President Pence has reiterated the position of the U.S., and it has been made clear that Japan and the United States are in complete alignment on this issue. We will continue to engage in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation and coordinate our North Korea policies accordingly.
 
REPORTER: As you noted earlier, in the recent inter-Korean meeting there was no mention of the issue of abductions of Japanese nationals. Based on the outcomes of this latest meeting, how will the Government respond towards resolution of the abduction issue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The abduction issue is a top priority for the Abe administration and there is absolutely no change to our position of continuing to devote every effort to realizing the return of all the abductees to Japan as quickly as possible, based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.”
 
(Abridged)

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