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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 19, 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 concluded a series of summit meetings with President Trump of the United States. The two leaders were apparently in total agreement on the response to North Korea. Now that the two-day summit meeting has ended, could you share with us the Government’s evaluation of the outcomes and the challenges that lie ahead?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that during his visit to the United States, Prime Minister held three summit meetings with President Trump over the course of two days and that the two leaders engaged in an extremely frank and candid exchange of views on issues relating to North Korea and the economy. The Prime Minister’s visit to the United States has been extremely significant. With regard to North Korea, the two leaders reaffirmed the close policy coordination between the two countries with respect to the actions to be taken on the issue of North Korea, including the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. Furthermore, in response to a request from Prime Minister Abe, the two leaders agreed that President Trump would raise the abduction issue at the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. The two leaders also reaffirmed that North Korea needs to abandon all weapons of mass destruction programs, including nuclear weapons, and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. With regard to economic issues, the two leaders also decided to launch new talks for free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals, with a view to further expanding trade and investment between Japan and the U.S. and realizing economic development in a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on fair rules so as to benefit both countries. The two leaders spent more than seven hours together, including meals and golf, and in this relaxed atmosphere they further cemented their relationship of trust.
 
REPORTER: While new trade talks will be launched, it also appeared that the summit meeting has ended with the two leaders still being at odds on the trade issue. Based on the statements that President Trump has made, including that he does not want to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and prefers a bilateral free trade agreement, it would appear that there were some tough negotiations in the summit meeting. What is your view on this point and how will the Government be responding?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted, on economic issues, the two leaders decided to launch new talks for free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals. I disagree with the view that the summit meeting ended with the leaders still being at odds on trade. The leaders agreed to discuss concrete measures to expand trade and investment between Japan and the U.S. and realize economic development in a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on fair rules so as to benefit both countries at these talks. In the course of these talks, Japan will continue to call for the U.S. to rejoin the TPP.
 
REPORTER: One outcome of the meeting is that the two leaders closely coordinated policies on the abduction, nuclear and missile issues, ahead of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. Do you consider that, to make progress on the abduction issue, the two leaders also closely coordinated their policy, looking ahead to a possible Japan-North Korea summit meeting, beyond the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting next month?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as I have already noted, the two leaders reaffirmed the close policy coordination between the two countries with respect to the actions to be taken on the issue of North Korea, including the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. While it has been also announced, it was also confirmed that policy on North Korea must lead to the resolution of the nuclear and missile issues as well as the abduction issue, which is of the utmost importance for Japan. The Government will continue to deal with these issues firmly, considering what would be the most effective means of solving all matters of concern comprehensively.
 
REPORTER: The Russian military yesterday announced that it had begun military exercises in the Kuril Islands, including around the Northern Territories of Japan. Could you tell us what information the Government has on these exercises and whether you would make a protest?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding these military exercises, on April 18, the Government conveyed its position to Russia through diplomatic channels that the military buildup by Russian military in the Four Northern Islands is incompatible with Japan’s stance on the islands. In order to reach a fundamental solution on these issues, it is necessary to resolve the Northern Territories issue. Under a basic policy of resolving this issue and concluding a peace treaty with Russia, the Government will continue to engage persistently in discussions with Russia.
 
REPORTER: What do you think about the intention of Russia, as these military exercises coincide with the Japan-U.S. summit meeting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making comments about matters of the Russian side.
 
REPORTER: With regard to the communication that has been made to Russia through diplomatic channels, can you confirm the details such as the level and whether it was a protest?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was a protest as we conveyed our message based on Japan’s legal position over this issue. The details of the route will be informed to you later.

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