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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 4, 2018 (AM)

 
If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As
 
REPORTER: I have a question regarding North Korea. Over the weekend, it was decided once again that the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting will be held on June 12. On that occasion, President Trump stated that he no longer wanted to use the term “maximum pressure.” Until now Japan and the United States have aligned their policy to apply maximum pressure to North Korea. I would like to ask whether the Government will be changing its position following the President’s comments.
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First and foremost, after receiving a courtesy call from Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol of North Korea, President Trump stated that he no longer wished to use the term “maximum pressure” while sanctions would not be lifted until North Korea took action and that the current status of maximum pressure would continue. Japan welcomes the United States’ efforts towards the historic U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. There is absolutely no change to our position to maintain the policies that we have closely coordinated with the United States to date and work together so as to elicit concrete actions from North Korea towards the resolution of the outstanding issues of concern.
 
REPORTER: If that is the case, is it expected that the two leaders will confirm to maintain pressure at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting on June 7?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no change to our position to maintain the policies that we have closely coordinated with the United States to date and work together so as to elicit concrete actions from North Korea towards the resolution of the outstanding issues of concern. Although President Trump has noted that he no longer wished to use the term “maximum pressure,” he also stated that very powerful sanctions remained in place and these sanctions would not be lifted until North Korea takes action. These comments indicate, therefore, that there is no change to the basic policy towards North Korea that remains in place.
 
REPORTER: The joint press statement issued following the Japan-United States-Republic of Korea (ROK) Defense Ministers Meeting yesterday made no mention of the word “pressure.” Meanwhile, Defense Minister Onodera stated that pressure would be maintained until the outstanding issues of concern are resolved. Can we interpret this as indicating that the response to North Korea from now will be a combination of pressure and dialogue?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government’s position is as I have explained it, and Defense Minister Onodera also stated the same. We will not lift sanctions until North Korea takes concrete actions.
 
REPORTER: From the Government’s standpoint, in what phases is it considered necessary to apply pressure?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is necessary to continue to implement sanctions measures until North Korea changes its policies. That is something we have clearly stated.
 
REPORTER: President Trump revealed his idea that the ROK and Japan would bear the burden for economic assistance to North Korea in the event that it denuclearized. Given that Japan is also dealing with other issues including the abductions, could you please clarify once again the view of the Government on economic assistance to North Korea?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After receiving a courtesy call from Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol of North Korea, President Trump stated that Japan, China and the ROK would provide economic assistance to North Korea and the United States did not intend to spend a lot of money. While Japan has remained consistent on this matter, there is no change to Japan’s policy of 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. As is stated in the Pyongyang Declaration, if relations can be normalized then Japan would consider providing economic assistance to North Korea. Meanwhile, to put it another way, without the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern such as the abduction, nuclear and missile issues, there is no chance to normalize relations, nor would Japan extend economic cooperation. This point has been repeatedly explained to the United States on numerous occasions.
 
(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. It became apparent at the G7 meeting last weekend that the United States and other 6 countries were at odds over import restrictions on steel and aluminum imposed by the United States. At the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Governors’ Meeting, these six countries expressed their concerns and disappointment. I would like to ask once again the position of Japan on this matter.
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated to date, there are concerns that these broad trade-restrictive measures, which have been imposed by the United States for the national security reasons, could disrupt the global economy, and could have a significant impact on cooperation between the two economies of Japan and the United States, the two allies, and may have significant impacts on the whole multilateral trading system, which is based on the WTO rules. It is extremely regrettable that the situation has yet to improve despite the fact that Japan has repeatedly expressed its concerns about these measures at various levels. 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. In any event, we will continue to work with countries concerned, including the countries of Europe and Canada, in engaging in persistent negotiations with the United States, with a view to gaining an exemption from these measures.
 
REPORTER: It is likely that U.S. trade policy will be a focus of the G7 Summit this weekend. What are your thoughts about the role that Prime Minister Abe could play in this regard, given that he has built a close personal relationship with President Trump?
 
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Circumstances permitting, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit the United States, where he would hold a Japan-U.S. summit meeting, and attend the G7 Summit in Canada afterwards. I would like to refrain from making comments based on conjecture about the details of what will be discussed. I would add that Japan’s position is that, as a nation that respects the rules-based multilateral trading system, any trade measures should also be consistent with the relevant WTO agreements. Based on this position, we will continue to work closely with countries concerned, including the countries of Europe and Canada, in persistently calling on the United States to address this issue.

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