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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 10, 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 regarding the summit telephone talk with President Trump. The Prime Minister himself also gave an explanation a short while ago. Could you tell us about the aims and objectives to hold a summit telephone talk at this time?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, from around 10:00 a.m. this morning for approximately 20 minutes, Prime Minister Abe held a summit telephone talk with President Trump. The telephone talk was held at the request of the U.S., in order to exchange views based on the recent developments in U.S.-North Korea relations. Following U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea yesterday and the release of three U.S. nationals unharmed, who had been detained by North Korea, the two leaders agreed to continue close coordination on the policies towards North Korea in advance of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting expected to be held.
 
REPORTER: You have just stated that the release of the three U.S. nationals also became a topic. How do you think their release will affect the situation surrounding the abduction issue that we are dealing with?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan has closely monitored this case from a humanitarian perspective and we welcome the release of the three U.S. nationals unharmed, who had been detained by North Korea. The Government wishes to utilize this momentum towards the early resolution of the abduction issue. As I have noted previously, the United States understands the importance of the early resolution of the abduction issue, and in the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting, President Trump gave us his strong word that he would raise the abduction issue during the forthcoming U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting and do his best. Furthermore, in the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Summit Meeting yesterday, there were discussions on North Korea for the first time in the summit meeting. Prime Minister Abe called for the support and cooperation of the leaders of China and the ROK towards the early resolution of the abduction issue, and gained their understanding.
 
REPORTER: President Trump has indicated that he is announcing the location for the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting within the next three days. Regarding this, was there any other mention in the summit telephone talk?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Other than that, nothing was mentioned.
 
REPORTER: In the Japan-China and Japan-ROK summit meetings held yesterday, the leaders called on Prime Minister Abe to engage in Japan-North Korea dialogue respectively. How does the Government currently consider the possibility of a Japan-North Korea summit meeting?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan has been consistently seeking to normalize relations with North Korea, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern such as the abduction, nuclear and missile issues as well as settlement of the unfortunate past. That is our basic policy until today. At the same time, any Japan-North Korea summit meeting would have to result in the resolution of the nuclear and missile issues as well as the abduction issue with North Korea, which is a top priority for the Government. Given the various developments following the recent inter-Korean summit and in view of the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, the Government will continue to engage in close trilateral cooperation with the United States and the ROK as we seek to elicit concrete actions from North Korea.
 
REPORTER: Are we to understand, therefore, that the Government of Japan still considers that we are still at the stage of applying pressure to North Korea, and have not yet reached the stage for dialogue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, we will continue to engage in trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the ROK, towards the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting.
 
REPORTER: I have a question about the Joint Declaration of the Seventh Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit released yesterday. The announcement was delayed until late at night. Could you tell us the reason behind the delay and what sort of coordination efforts were made among the three countries?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was the first trilateral summit meeting in two-and-a-half years. As the chair of the summit meeting, Japan negotiated diligently with other countries, seeking the best possible outcomes. Consequently, the declaration was released at such a late hour. I would like to refrain from making comments regarding the drafting and coordination process for the outcome documents..
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, about the agreement on measures aimed at expanding exports of Japanese rice to China at the Japan-China summit meeting. The agreement implies that additional rice milling and fumigation facilities in Japan are to be certified by China, which are currently limited to facilities in Kanagawa. With respect to facilities in Hokkaido, this agreement would also enable the direct export of rice to China from these facilities. Could you tell us about the significance of these measures and the effect that the Government hopes for?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As a result of the consultations with China, it has been agreed to add two rice milling facilities and five fumigation facilities to the list of facilities that are certified to export polished rice to China. This is something that the Government has been working hard on over the course of many years and it was finally agreed in the Japan-China summit meeting yesterday. The Abe Cabinet is committed to increasing incomes in farming and fishing communities and promoting revitalization of respective areas, by eliciting the forward-looking endeavors of agriculture, forestry and fisheries businesses that are eager to engage in export activities and by encouraging their innovation. Given that the consumption of rice in Japan is declining by approximately 80,000 tons every year, it is extremely good news that additional facilities have been certified to export polished rice to China. The Government hopes that the designation of additional approved facilities will lead to expanded exports of Japanese polished rice.
 
REPORTER: In the summit meeting yesterday, there was no indication of when such measures are to be implemented and when it would become possible to start exports from these newly certified facilities. Could you tell us when the Government expects that exports would begin?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Various preparations are required before starting exports, both in terms of measures to be taken by importers on the Chinese side, and other preparations by the rice milling and fumigation facilities. While I would like to refrain from specifying such a date at this point, the Government hopes to start exports as soon as possible, once all preparations are in place.
 
REPORTER: Returning to the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk, was there any exchange over the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, there was no discussion on that matter.
 
REPORTER: With regard to the location of the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, you just noted that no other points were mentioned. Did President Trump indicate that he would be making an announcement within the next few days?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already pointed out, other than that, no other points were mentioned from the U.S.

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