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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 23, 2018 (PM)

 
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: In a summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK), President Trump mentioned the possibility that the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting might be postponed. As the postponement was indicated, what is the Government’s analysis regarding this comment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, we are aware that President Trump stated in a press conference held after the U.S.-ROK summit meeting that there was a possibility that the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit meeting might be postponed or cancelled. It is important that the forthcoming summit meeting provides a substantive opportunity to make progress on the nuclear and missile issues, and above all, the abduction issue rather than the summit meeting being held. The Government highly values President Trump’s strong resolve to elicit concrete actions by North Korea. There is no change to our stance to continue our preparatione for the summit meeting together with the United States, while conveying Japan’s views thoroughly to the United States.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have just noted that the Government will convey Japan’s views, and Prime Minister Abe also stated that arrangements were being made for a Japan-U.S. summit meeting at the time of the G7 Summit next month. How will Japan be coordinating with the United States towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Prime Minister’s attendance at the G7 Summit and the schedule for a bilateral summit meeting are currently in the process of being arranged. In any event, in order to ensure that the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting that is to take place immediately after the G7 Summit provides an opportunity to make progress towards the denuclearization of North Korea, we will continue to make preparations together with the United States, while conveying Japan’s views thoroughly to the United States on various levels, including the leader and foreign minister level.

REPORTER: I have a related question. President Trump stated in the same press conference that Japan, China and the ROK are willing to invest very large sums of money in order to support North Korea. Could you explain the Government’s stance on economic assistance to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: President Trump stated in the same press conference that the ROK, China and Japan would also make efforts to support North Korea. Japan’s consistent basic policy is that we seek 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 . As is stated in the Pyongyang Declaration, after the normalization, Japan will provide economic cooperation to North Korea. Meanwhile, to put it another way, without the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abductions, nuclear and missile issues, there is no possibility of normalization, nor would Japan provide economic cooperation. There is absolutely no change to this policy and we will continue to make every effort to resolve outstanding issues.

REPORTER: In this morning’s session of the Cabinet Committee of the House of Representatives, the relevant bills to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement signed by the eleven countries without the United States were approved. Can I ask for a comment from the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the House of Representatives, the TPP11 Agreement was approved on May 18 and the relevant bills to implement the agreement were also approved by a majority vote in the Cabinet Committee today, which means that the bills now await closing discussions in the plenary session of the House of Representatives. Given that the TPP11 members are all accelerating domestic procedures relating to the agreement, Japan will continue to take the lead in maintaining momentum towards the early entry into force of the agreement.

REPORTER: The time taken for deliberation of these bills was 15 hours, which was approximately 20 percent of the time required for deliberations by the Special Committee of the House of Representatives on the Trans-Pacific Partnership prior to the withdrawal of the United States from the agreement. Representatives of the agricultural industry had also requested deliberate discussions, on issues such as the revision of the low-tariff import quota for dairy products. Do you think that sufficient deliberations were made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was discussed and decided by the Diet. It is a matter of course, for the Government to respond thoroughly to the decision of the Diet.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: In your press conference on May 15, you stated that towards the denuclearization of North Korea it would be essential to utilize professional knowledge, such as the implementation of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Foreign Minister Kono also indicated that Japan is ready to cover the initial costs of such inspections. Meanwhile, with regard to the dismantlement of the nuclear test site in North Korea, there are no signs that specialized agencies such as the IAEA and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which detects nuclear tests conducted on Earth, have been invited at the current point in time. It appears, therefore, that it is still far from an inspection to verify the irreversible dismantlement such as scientific assessment and other means. What does the Government think is necessary in the future to address this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government considers that the action being taken by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear test site shows a positive attitude. On the other hand, we are fully aware that it does not provide any opportunity for inspectors to verify and this has been regarded as an issue. We will continue to closely monitor North Korea’s concrete actions going forward. In any event, it is of the utmost importance for professional knowledge, including information and experience possessed by the IAEA, to be fully utilized in order to ensure the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs. We will continue to work closely with countries concerned, including the United States, towards the denuclearization of North Korea, and engage in full discussions on the most effective means to achieve denuclearization.

(Abridged)

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