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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 15, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the resignation of Mr. Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia. Prime Minister Abe had a close personal relationship with Prime Minister Abbott, so how do you think the change of leadership will affect such matters as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the procurement plan for future submarines?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that a leadership election for the ruling Liberal Party of Australia took place and that Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, former Minister for Communications, defeated Prime Minister Abbott to be elected as party leader. Australia is an extremely important partner for Japan, in both security and economic terms, and there is absolutely no change to the Government’s intention to further strengthen the close partnership between Japan and Australia. In terms of security-related cooperation and specifically the matter relating to cooperation on submarine development, currently various procedures are being advanced by the Government of Australia under a competitive evaluation process and at the present point I do not think I should make any further comment on this matter.

REPORTER: I have a question on North Korea. According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea has hinted that it might implement a test launch of a long-range missile to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea next month. Can I ask for the Government’s view on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, to date several resolutions have been adopted by the United Nations Security Council, prohibiting North Korea from launching ballistic missiles or anything that uses ballistic missile technology. Therefore, even if the launch is purported to be for a satellite, the Government is of the view that it will clearly violate the Security Council resolutions on the launch of long-range ballistic missiles. The Government of Japan will continue to fully coordinate with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), calling on North Korea to refrain from such provocative actions and comply with Security Council resolutions, as well as the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks and other commitments.

REPORTER: At the Citizens’ Rally held recently to call for the swift rescue of all victims of abduction by North Korea, a resolution was issued calling on the Government to set a deadline for the repatriation of abduction victims and to notify North Korea of this deadline. As the Prime Minister himself noted, based on the fact that there has been no progress in more than a year since the establishment of the Special Investigation Committee, I believe it is now essential to set a deadline and demand a response from North Korea. Why has the Government not done this and are there any factors that are preventing the Government from setting such a deadline?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The resolution of the abduction issue is a matter of utmost importance for the Abe administration. At the Citizens’ Rally two days ago, the Prime Minister himself stated that despite the fact that it has been over one year since the establishment of the Special Investigation Committee and the start of investigations by North Korea, it is truly regrettable that no concrete prospects have arisen in relation to this investigation. In this regard, last month, for example, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of North Korea and requested the execution of the agreement regarding this matter that was concluded between Japan and North Korea, communicated the concerns held in Japan, and strongly demanded the quickest possible return of all abductees. The Government continues to make every effort on this issue, based on the principles of ‘dialogue and pressure’ and ‘action for action.’ The Government continues its ongoing efforts to consider the most effective means of eliciting positive actions from North Korea that would resolve this issue.

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