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Cabinet Decisions and Other Announcements

The Second Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (After the Security Council Meeting on the Launch by North Korea)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 12, 2012 from 11:49 am
[Provisional translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  1. The government has convened the Security Council a short while ago, and discussed "the matter of the launch of the missile by North Korea, which it calls a "satellite"". Taking into account the various information we gathered in a comprehensive manner, it is judged that North Korea launched the missile, which it calls a "satellite" at approximately 09:49 today.
    Although it is estimated that the missile, which North Korea calls a "satellite", passed over Okinawa, no falling objects within our territory or in our vicinity has been identified as of now. Also, the destruction measures by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) was not implemented. The Government continues to engage in the confirmation process on whether there has been any fallen object within our territory and vicinity through related organizations.

  2. Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as well as myself (Chief Cabinet Secretary) received the situation report at the Crisis Management Center immediately after the launch, and convened the Security Council a short while ago, where we conducted the compilation of the information obtained regarding the launch. I would like to share the more details as follows:

    • It is estimated that the first rocket fell to approximately 200 kilometers west of the Korean Peninsula in the Yellow Sea, the second one to approximately 300 kilometers south-west in the East China Sea and the third one to approximately 300 kilometers east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean.

    • It is judged that the missile flew over Okinawa after the launch.

    • Although no falling objects within our territory or in our vicinity has been identified as of now, we continue to engage in the confirmation process on whether there has been any fallen object within our territory and vicinity.
  3. In accordance with the above, the Prime Minister re-issued the following three points of instruction:

    (1) Reconfirm whether there have been any damages caused by the launch, including fallen objects, focusing on the areas judged to have been flown over by the missile,

    (2) Make every effort for information gathering and analysis, including forthcoming moves by North Korea,

    (3) Respond to the situation in coordination with the countries concerned, including the U.S., the Republic of Korea (ROK), China, and Russia.

  4. Previously, at the Security Council convened, we decided to issue the Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary as circulated to you.
    (Reading the Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary)

  5. At any rate, the Government is fully engaged in the information gathering and analysis, and will share the information to the public as additional information is obtained. The Government continues to be fully committed to the crisis management with the sense of urgency.

  6. Also, we will hold a press briefing by officials in charge of this matter later. I expect that any questions regarding the details of the fact situation to be raised then.


REPORTER: Can you tell us at what time SEW information was obtained and at what time the missile was detected by the radar of the SDF? Also, regarding the initial response of the Government, do you believe that the Government was able to provide information promptly and accurately?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Overall, my feeling at this time is that the things we made improvements on bearing in mind the lessons of April went smoothly and according to our initial plan. As for SEW information, as it was believed that the missile was launched at approximately 09:49 and that - excuse me - with regard to SEW information, after it was obtained, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) conveyed this information swiftly to a Cabinet Secretariat official at the Crisis Management Center by way of a sound transmission system. SEW information was obtained at 09:52. At this time, there was information, such as that the launch time was 09:49, the launch location was North Korea's west coast, the launch direction was south, and the number of missiles launched was unknown. At 09:52, MOD notified the Cabinet Secretariat official as I just explained. The information was then communicated to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and myself, respectively, at 09:53. The first notification was this SEW information.

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, based on some information analyses, I believe it was speculated that at one time North Korea might have removed the missile from the missile base. Was today's launch within the Government's expectations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: While analyzing a variety of information, at 08:00 this morning, the ministers with relevant authority also shared information amongst each other. While I will not make explicit its content or the details, as there seemed to be slightly conflicting information being reported in general about whether the missile was removed or not removed, we took steps while thoroughly confirming the information.

REPORTER: Had the Government analyzed that the missile had been removed at one time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The fact that there was such information was analyzed, and today, a variety of discussions took place.

REPORTER: On the part about future measures, the Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary states, "ensuring that the UN Security Council will take actions accordingly based on the Presidential Statement in April this year." Is my understanding correct that this means that specifically, Japan will work with relevant parties with an eye to implementing new sanctions or a new resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, you may interpret it that way. I believe the measures will depend on the diplomatic efforts which are made going forward.

REPORTER: Does the Japanese Government analyze or deem that this missile launch was successful?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is too soon still to make a definite assessment at this point in time.

REPORTER: Also, you said that the first notification was SEW information. At what time did the Japanese Government make its own confirmation, such as by using the SDF's radar?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The SEW information I mentioned a moment ago was obtained at 09:52. Then, the SDF's radar information was obtained at 09:54. Furthermore, from the radar, it was predicted that the missile passed over Okinawa at 10:02.

REPORTER: While I understand that a Security Council meeting ended a short while ago, do you have any plans to convene a second Security Council meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As the Prime Minister issued instructions at today's Security Council meeting a short while ago, it remains to be seen whether a report based on the instructions will be given or not given. Now or today is not the stage to say whether a meeting will be held or not held.

REPORTER: Following today's launch, what is the Japanese Government's analysis of the signs of a second launch or additional launches?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: From analyzing a variety of information, the Government cannot deem at this point in time that there are any signs of future launches. In other words, there is no such information.

REPORTER: In that case, with regard to the Government being on alert from 07:00 to 12:00, what is the plan for tomorrow and beyond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Prime Minister has issued instructions on this. A bit more time is still needed to make various confirmations, including those relating to the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and the National Police Agency (NPA). At this moment in time, the plan has not yet been decided.

REPORTER: In response to this missile launch, does the Government intend to come up with new economic measures against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, as I stated a moment ago, my understanding is that this will be discussed going forward in coordination with the international community at the UN. I believe the task ahead is determining what action the Japanese Government will take while keeping an eye on the situation.

REPORTER: Concerning the launch location, a short while ago you said the "west coast." There had been information that preparations were being made at the launch pad in Tongchang-ri. What is the Government's projection regarding the launch location?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As a matter of fact, the information collected has nearly all been restricted to Tongchang-ri. Although I stated in very broad terms a moment ago, it narrows down to what you have stated.

REPORTER: According to the Government's analysis then, the missile was launched from the launch pad that it had continued to monitor consistently?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This cannot be confirmed yet at this moment in time. Slightly more time is needed, but that is our presumption. A little more time may be needed to confirm this.

REPORTER: Does this mean that the Japanese Government will request a meeting of the UN Security Council to be convened?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs already has been, and is now, making various moves. As Japan is currently not a member of the Security Council, I believe this will be done while coordinating and keeping in contact with each country.

REPORTER: Earlier, you said a little more time is needed for confirmation. Given that there was information also on whether the missile was or was not removed from the Tongchang-ri launch pad that had been monitored continuously, were you saying that analyses are now being done without eliminating the possibility of the missile being launched from a launch pad other than the one that had been monitored?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is believed that what you described is hardly likely. However, it is too early to make a definitive statement.

REPORTER: North Korea had said that it would postpone the launch period. While I presume that the Japanese Government will be analyzing this, what are the Government's thoughts at this moment in time on why North Korea conducted the launch today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Now is not the time to determine the intentions of North Korea. As to the reporting in North Korea, I understand that there will be some kind of a news or broadcast again at 12:00 today on Korean Central Television. Oh, it is already now 12:00. In any case, we will be paying close attention to such information as well.

REPORTER: Regarding this morning's meeting among the relevant ministers, was the meeting convened because information of some kind had been obtained which indicated a launch of some kind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As the purpose of the meeting and so on concern intelligence, I will not make them explicit. It is the case, however, that while collecting a variety of information, information was analyzed and shared among the relevant ministers.

REPORTER: This afternoon, I believe the Prime Minister was scheduled to campaign in the Kansai area. Will this go on as scheduled?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The so-called confinement hours are until noon. However, as the Prime Minister issued instructions a short while ago, he intends to hear reports from the NPA, JCG, and MOD, respectively, a little while longer. Therefore, regarding the itinerary, please send inquiries to the office of the Prime Minister.

REPORTER: Following this missile launch, what steps does the Government intend to take with regard to the postponed Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: These are Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultations, and as such, as I also stated in the Statement I read out a moment ago, I believe Japan needs to first strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions towards resolving outstanding issues of concern, including the abduction issue, and nuclear and missile programs.

REPORTER: You said that the information dissemination following the launch generally went smoothly and according to plan. However, with information coming out before the launch that the missile had been dismantled or that the launch period would be postponed until the 29th, I believe there was a widespread perception among the public that the missile would not be launched today. I do not recall the Government then sending out a message asking the people to remain on alert. Do you believe this was OK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It was discussed during the information sharing at today's meeting at 08:00 that I would make this kind of announcement in my press conference scheduled for 11:00 today. However, the missile launch was conducted ahead of this.


<Memo handed to Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura>

On the subject of the UN that was raised earlier, Japan, through our Permanent Mission to the UN, has already requested Morocco, which currently holds the presidency of the Security Council, to swiftly convene a meeting.

REPORTER: Pardon me for bringing up the statement you made last week, but with regard to the statement you made last week that it would be good if North Korea quickly launches the missile, today, Liberal Democratic Party President Abe once again said in a stump speech that, "With the Chief Cabinet Secretary making such a statement, the international community will not be persuaded at all." Bearing in mind today's response of the Government, what are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I have responded to this many times. I have held a press conference to correct the statement which was insufficient. Following this, I further checked the improvements which were made bearing in mind the lessons of April and today they were implemented. I intend to fulfill and complete my duties.

<Memo handed to Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura>

While I will not really go into the content of this morning's meeting, based on pooling together and analyzing a variety of information, the relevant ministers shared the recognition that North Korea remained ready to launch a missile within a few days.


REPORTER: If as of 08:00 the Government had analyzed that North Korea was ready to launch a missile within a few days, why didn't it promptly provide this information to the public immediately after the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: So this is "within a few days." In other words, recognizing that there were various reports being made by the general media and questioning their validity, we deemed it would be "within a few days." During the meeting, we did not straight away recognize that it would be today.


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