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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 28, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: There are signs that North Korea is moving forward with preparations to launch a ballistic missile. Please explain the information that the Government has obtained on this matter.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that there was this type of media report. The Government is constantly gathering information and conducting other activities regarding developments related to North Korea’s missile activities as a very important matter. However, I would like to refrain from making specific comments on individual items and related content because of the nature of this issue.

REPORTER: On a related point, I would imagine that this matter was a topic at the afternoon National Security Council (NSC) meeting. Were there any items confirmed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There was a discussion of the situation in East Asia. Within this context, the discussion naturally addressed the North Korea issue, including sanctions and other points.

REPORTER: Still on this topic, is there a possibility of reinforcement of the normal state of readiness in light of this information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding North Korea, the Government is always fully prepared to truly protect the lives and safety of the Japanese people. Besides this point, North Korea recently conducted its fourth nuclear test, and it has launched missiles around the implementation of nuclear tests in the past. Furthermore, since February 16 is the birthday of Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong-il, we are approaching this timing with an awareness that the possibility of some type of provocation cannot be ruled out given the overall context. In any case, Japan has fully prepared itself, taking into account past experience and other aspects.

REPORTER: On the same topic, can I understand that the situation is not tense enough yet to issue a shoot-down order?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on this point.

REPORTER: I have a question related to North Korea. It appears that consultations with China and others related to a sanctions resolution by the UN Security Council regarding the recent nuclear test are taking a considerable amount of time. What is the Government’s current outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, while the timing of a decision on a Security Council resolution is unpredictable, the Government is currently engaged in consultations through bilateral talks and other venues. Furthermore, the United States and China held a foreign ministers meeting on January 27, and I have been informed that the two countries voiced a shared awareness of the need for a sanctions resolution at the subsequent press conference.

REPORTER: Related to this matter, does Japan intend to review its own sanctions after a sanctions resolution by the UN Security Council?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is reviewing the situation, including this point, along with North Korea’s reactions and trends in the international community. In any case, the Government is currently assessing the situation with the aim of presenting a resolute, firm response.


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