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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 9, 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 United States-North Korea relations. Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea proposed a summit meeting with President Trump and the President has accepted this proposal. The Prime Minister also explained about this matter a short while ago. Could you tell us what facts the Government is aware of and how it will respond?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Actually, I also attended the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk. From shortly after 8:50 am for 30 minutes today, Prime Minister Abe held a summit telephone talk with President Trump, which was arranged at the request of the United States. According to President Trump, Mr. Chung Eui-Yong, National Security Adviser, and others of the Republic of Korea (ROK), who are currently visiting the United States, reported to him that at the recent meeting between the ROK and North Korea, Chairman Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearization, said he desired peace with the United States, and expressed his wish to have dialogue with President Trump. President Trump mentioned that this move by North Korea was the outcome of the maximum pressure we had been placing, including the severe sanctions that had been imposed to date, and the presence of the U.S. military force. President Trump also explained that he was open to meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un, while monitoring the situation going forward. In response, Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation to President Trump for informing him of this outcome in such manner and noted that this move by North Korea was the result of applying maximum pressure on North Korea through close cooperation between President Trump and himself, and consolidated efforts together with the ROK and the international community. Prime Minister Abe also pointed out that it was necessary for North Korea to demonstrate specific actions towards denuclearization in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. President Trump responded that as a matter of course, pressure, sanctions and military force would continue to be applied to North Korea. In addition, Prime Minister Abe mentioned that Japan and the United States stood 100 percent together on this issue and that he would like to visit the United States in early April after the passage of the budget for a summit meeting so as to make concrete arrangements to that end. In response, President Trump welcomed such a meeting. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe asked President Trump’s assistance for resolving the abduction issue, to which President Trump responded that he would provide such assistance as a matter of course. In this telephone talk, the two leaders confirmed that they would continue to step up cooperative efforts towards resolution of the abduction, nuclear and missile issues.
 
REPORTER: You mentioned that Chairman Kim Jong-un committed to denuclearization. Does this mean he has proposed a concrete policy towards complete denuclearization?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: (In the summit telephone talk) it was mentioned that he expressed a commitment towards denuclearization and a desire for peace and security. President Trump also explained that he indicated his readiness to meet with Chairman Kim in response to that. In addition, the President mentioned that it was the outcome of the pressure that has been applied on North Korea through cooperation between Japan and the U.S. and among Japan, the U.S. and the ROK as well as with the international community. In that sense, it is also important to carefully monitor the actions that North Korea actually takes and assesses the situation, while engaging in Japan-U.S., Japan-U.S.-ROK and international cooperation.
 
REPORTER: The Government’s position has been to seek the abandonment of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Is it the case that the Government has perceived that it can now see a path towards the abandonment in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner through the change in North Korea’s posture?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It seems that North Korea has made the first steps in that direction. To date, the Government has worked with the United States, the ROK and the international community and taken various measures, including the adoption of severe resolutions in the United Nations. We have implemented a policy of applying maximum pressure until North Korea takes specific actions towards abandonment of its nuclear and missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. It appears that North Korea has now begun to move in that direction. That said, it is also important to carefully monitor the actual actions that North Korea takes from now.
 
REPORTER: In the summit telephone talk, did President Trump mention when the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting would take place? Senior government officials of the ROK announced that the meeting would take place by May. Has the Government received any report about this matter?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: President Trump explained that he was prepared to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un.
 
REPORTER: It was previously announced that President Moon Jae-in of the ROK would hold a ROK-North Korea summit meeting at the end of April. It was followed by the announcement that President Trump would also hold a summit meeting with North Korea. Is the Government also to explore the possibility of a summit meeting with North Korea?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From Japan’s point of view, as the Prime Minister noted in his press occasion earlier, we would like to hold a Japan-U.S. summit meeting with President Trump in April or later once the budget has been passed. President Trump has responded that the U.S. would also like to coordinate a summit meeting.
 
REPORTER: On March 8, President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation[U that will introduce new tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum to the United States. Was this referred to in the recent summit telephone talk?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There was no exchange over that issue. The United States requested the telephone talk to discuss the outcomes of the meeting it had with the visiting ROK delegation and the future response to North Korea.
 
REPORTER: With regard to the anticipated visit to Japan by the special envoy of the ROK (to North Korea), what is the status of arrangements concerning the schedule of meetings, and who will meet with the special envoy from the Government?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point this has not been decided.
 
REPORTER: Will it be next week?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It will probably be next week.
 
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Today President Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation that introduces import restrictions on steel and aluminum. Can I ask for a comment from the Government about the signing of the Proclamation and what impact the import restrictions could have on the Japanese economy if they are implemented?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, both the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry have issued statements on this matter. It is extremely regrettable that the United States has decided to introduce such measures. There are concerns that these broad trade restriction measures, which have been taken for the stated reason of national security, could impact not only the United States, but could also disturb global steel and aluminum markets including those of Asia, and could have a significant impact on the economic relationship between Japan and the U.S., who are allies, and may have significant negative impacts on the multilateral trading system as a whole and the world economy. The Government believes that imports of steel and aluminum from Japan will not impair U.S. national security, and rather that imports of high-quality Japanese products will actually make a significant contribution to the growth of U.S. industries and the creation of jobs. After carefully examining the content of the measures and their impact on Japanese corporations, the Government will consider necessary measures under the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) while continuing to request that the Government of the United States exclude Japan from its measures.
 
REPORTER: You have just noted that the Government will be seeking a resolution under the WTO framework and requesting the exclusion of Japan from these measures on a bilateral basis. Will the Government be advancing these two things in parallel?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government considers it appropriate to seek resolution under WTO rules. We believe it is also important to engage in consultations with the United States after carefully examining the measures and their impact on Japanese corporations.
 
REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of North Korea. You have stated that it is necessary for North Korea to demonstrate specific actions towards denuclearization. What kind of specific actions do you have in mind?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: These actions would be something that lead to progress towards denuclearization in a verifiable manner, which the Government, the United States and the international community have demanded.
 
REPORTER: The Government has always stated that dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless. At the current point, is it the Government’s view that there is no longer concern over falling into a cycle of dialogue for the sake of dialogue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, according to the President, Chairman Kim Jong-un has committed to denuclearization and seeks peace with the United States. Based on these circumstances, the U.S. made a decision to hold a summit meeting. Meanwhile, the Government has stated to date that we must not have dialogue for the sake of dialogue and that North Korea must commit to denuclearization. We believe that the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting would be held under such direction.
 
REPORTER: It is said that Chairman Kim Jong-un requested President Trump to visit North Korea. Did President Trump mention that he intended to visit North Korea and where the meeting would take place during the summit telephone talk?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing was raised on those matters.
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-China relations. Yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi of China remarked that there has been a precious improvement in Japan-China relations and that peace and friendship can again be the dominant theme of China-Japan relations. What are your thoughts on his comments?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the comments made by Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. Seizing upon this milestone as an opportunity, we will continue to promote cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in all areas, and seek further improvements of our relations from a broader perspective, under the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests.” It is important to work together with China towards improving bilateral relations overall, including reciprocal leader visits.
 
(Abridged)

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