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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • A meeting of the Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, from 1:30 pm, the Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues convened a meeting. With regard to the assessment of the current state of the Japanese economy, the Monthly Economic Report for January made an upward revision from the previous month, stating that, "While the Japanese economy shows weakness, signs of bottoming out can be seen in some areas." Concerning short-term prospects, the Monthly Economic Report states that weakness would remain for the time being but the recovery is expected to resume while supported by the improvement of export conditions and the effect of the economic policy package. However, the report states that attention should be paid to the fact that the slowing down of overseas economies is still a downside risk of the Japanese economy. For details, please direct your questions to the Cabinet Office (Economic and Fiscal Analysis).


  • North Korea's response to the U.S. Security Council resolution on the launch of the missile
  • Verifications on the incident involving Japanese nationals in Algeria
  • A planned launch of an information gathering satellite

REPORTER: According to the Korean Central News Agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea issued a statement that resolutely and fully condemns the resolution passed by the United Nations (UN), which included stronger sanctions in response to North Korea's launch of a "satellite," stating that it would take physical countermeasures to expand and bolster its self-defense military capabilities, including nuclear deterrence. North Korea has also hinted that it might conduct a nuclear test. There is a precedent in which in April 2009, a counteraction was taken following a similar statement. What kind of responses is the Government considering going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that North Korea made such a statement. In that context, North Korea has also refused to recognize the validity of the Six-Party Talks, and it is extremely regrettable that North Korea is reinforcing its stance of rejecting dialogues for denuclearization. Japan will strongly urge North Korea to refrain from taking any provocative actions.


REPORTER: With respect to the resolution of the Security Council, North Korea has also hinted at conducting a nuclear test. At this point in time, what do you think about the prospects of a nuclear test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As was also asked a short while ago, there is the past case in which a nuclear test was subsequently conducted. Therefore, naturally, so that these things do not happen, we will request that North Korea not conduct a nuclear test through an international organization - with this being a resolution of the UN. At the same time, we are taking measures so that we are ready to respond immediately in the event that a nuclear test is conducted.


REPORTER: The latest crisis (the incident in Algeria in which Japanese nationals have been taken hostage) has raised a variety of discussions, including regarding the National Security Council (NSC) and the revision of the Self-Defense Forces Act. I believe it is of foremost importance that the facts are first confirmed onsite, and that the facts regarding what happened under what circumstances are disclosed and discussed. Is the Government prepared to disclose this information once the situation has settled down? Saying "we are confirming" over and over again gives the impression that time is just passing without any information coming to the surface. What is the timing that you have in mind for the disclosure of information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it is just as you stated. Therefore, we would like to first start with the verifications. We would like to verify as quickly as possible. We would first like to start with the verifications by gathering the respective director general-level officials and such people. On this basis, we would like to hold a meeting and come up with responses. That is our intention.


REPORTER: In terms of the verifications, from the perspective of information collection capabilities, is my understanding correct that the verifications will be conducted bearing in mind the information collection capabilities of the Japanese Government and the information collection capability methods of other countries, such as the United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In fact, in this latest incident, Japan also gathered quite a lot of information independently. I personally believe this was well done. However, it is also true that information was collected in coordination with countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. Moreover, I believe the U.S. and the UK also found that there is much significance to carrying out information collection activities jointly with Japan. Therefore, these three countries in fact made a variety of efforts. We hope to also make these things clear in the process of the verifications.

REPORTER: Due to the nature of the situation, I believe it is the Government that will be conducting the verifications. Which ministry or agency or which arm of the Cabinet will be leading the compilation of the verifications?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Cabinet Secretariat will be doing the compilations. However, the verifications will first be conducted by the parties currently involved, for example, the Self-Defense Forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry, as well as personnel from JGC Corporation.

REPORTER: It is expected that an information gathering satellite will be launched on January 27. What are your plans concerning the next steps of the development of the ground monitoring satellite system?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: If the launch is successful, the optical satellite and this radar satellite, respectively, will be able to take photographs of specific areas of the earth once a day. Therefore, in a sense, a variety of studies will be made possible. With regard to the specific content of the operations of the satellite system, due to its nature I would like to refrain from making any comments.


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