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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 23, 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 on the moves made by North Korea. Chairman Kim Jong-un announced that North Korea will suspend nuclear testing and others. This announcement came ahead of the anticipated inter-Korean summit and U.S.-North Korea summit meetings. What is the Government’s analysis of its intentions and objectives?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government welcomes as a positive step the announcement made by North Korea that it will suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches and also decommission its nuclear test site. The Government hopes this announcement leads to concrete actions by North Korea toward abandoning its nuclear and missile programs. We will continue to collect and analyze information as well as closely monitor the nuclear and missile development by North Korea with the greatest interest. There is no change in our policy that North Korea needs to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, which was also confirmed at the recent Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting. Ahead of the inter-Korean summit and U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, we will continue closely coordinating our policies with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
 
REPORTER: Chairman Kim did not go into specific details about the abandonment of nuclear weapons and the specific path to denuclearization. Related to that point, what is the Government’s analysis of North Korean strategy?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, since the visit to North Korea in March by the delegation of a special envoy from the ROK, until now North Korea itself has not made any external statements about ceasing nuclear tests, despite the designated statements made by the ROK and China on the nuclear and missile issues following their interactions with North Korea.. In the recent statement, North Korea announced that it would suspend nuclear tests and ICBM launches and also decommission its nuclear test site. Moreover, Chairman Kim went as far as to say that North Korea sought to make positive contributions towards a world free from nuclear weapons. The Government welcomes these announcements as a positive step moving forward. We hope that this announcement would lead to concrete actions by North Korea towards abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.
 
REPORTER: With this announcement, North Korea has made some concessions over the nuclear and missile issues. What outlook does the Government have concerning the resolution of the abduction issue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the recent Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting, President Trump gave his assurance that he will raise the abduction issue in the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. This assurance will give great courage to the families of the abductees and the Government greatly appreciates the President’s leadership on this issue.
 
REPORTER: North Korea has twice in the past ignored its commitments towards denuclearization. Do you have the feeling that this time will be significantly different to these past pledges?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, this time we are engaging in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation and, centered on the U.S., are continuing to apply maximum pressure on North Korea. The previous two cases were when these pledges were simply made during the course of the meetings, whereas this time we are determined to continue to apply maximum pressure on North Korea until it commits to denuclearization and changes its policies. Prime Minister Abe has led the efforts to apply pressure, including its enormous military capabilities of the U.S., working together with President Trump., as well as the U.S.-ROK joint exercises, which have also been implemented. I believe, therefore, that there are significant differences between the current situation and what has happened in the past.
 
REPORTER: If that is the case, are we to understand that the Government considers the latest statement by North Korea to have greater credibility than statements made in the past?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We see that the announcement made by North Korea represents a first step in the right direction and, therefore, the Prime Minister has also welcomed it.
 
(Abridged)

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