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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 7, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the nuclear test by North Korea. Today, the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting and released a statement that strongly condemns the nuclear test, saying that it is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions. What is the Japanese Government’s assessment or comments concerning this statement?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: Yesterday, Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) requested an emergency Security Council meeting. Today, from before dawn of the 7th or 11 AM of the 6th New York time, closed-door Security Council consultations took place for approximately two hours. All member states condemned the nuclear test by North Korea. After the consultations, a press statement was released, which states that the Security Council strongly condemned the nuclear test by North Korea, which is a clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions and of the non-proliferation regime, and will begin to work immediately on further measures in a new Security Council resolution. It was Japan and the United States that played a central role in requesting the meeting. Furthermore, the Security Council released this comment on the same day. I believe that this is praiseworthy, and that it contributed to demonstrating Japan’s presence as a non-permanent member.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Security Council expressed its intention to accelerate consultations with a view to drafting a resolution that includes new sanctions. Which country will take the lead in drafting the sanctions proposal? Can you please elaborate, including how Japan will be involved in this effort? In addition, exactly what kind of stronger sanctions does the Japanese Government consider desirable?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: During this morning’s telephone talk between President Obama and Prime Minister Abe, the leaders agreed that the two countries would collaborate and lead the discussions for the swift adoption of the resolution. I expect that at the Security Council, Japan would coordinate with the permanent members in compiling the resolution with appropriate content. Japan will be actively engaged in the work towards the swift adoption of a new resolution that has strong content. I would like to refrain from commenting on the concrete content as this would impair future negotiations and consultations. Japan will coordinate closely with the countries concerned, including the United States and the ROK, towards the swift adoption of a new, strong resolution.

REPORTER: A Japan-U.S. summit meeting was held this morning. What is the status of the arrangements of other summit meetings, such as a Japan-ROK or Japan-China summit meeting?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: We are coordinating with countries at a variety of levels based on the instructions of the Prime Minister. As of now, nothing is decided with regard to a Japan-China or Japan-ROK summit meeting that you referred to.

REPORTER: North Korea continues to announce that it was a hydrogen bomb. I imagine that Japan has since been undertaking studies to confirm whether it was a hydrogen bomb or its impact on the environment. Can you please share what you know?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: First of all, following the Japan Meteorological Agency’s detection of seismic waves suggesting the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea, as well as North Korea’s announcement that it conducted a hydrogen bomb test, the Government is working to gather relevant information and confirm whether this is true. As of now, we have not determined that it was a hydrogen bomb test. As regards the environment, at this point in time, the air dose rates measured at the monitoring posts set up in various parts of Japan have not shown any significant changes. In addition, artificial radionuclides have not been detected from the atmospheric suspended dust collected daily by the T-4 aircraft of the Air Self-Defense Force.

REPORTER: While the topic of summit meetings came up earlier, I would like to ask about upcoming foreign ministers’ meetings. Yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida held telephone talks with U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, as well as the foreign ministers of the ROK, Germany, and the EU. Will the Foreign Minister be holding telephone talks with China and Russia?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: As with the earlier question regarding summit meetings, as of now nothing is decided with regard to Japan-China and Japan-Russia foreign ministers’ meetings.

REPORTER: My question is in connection with what I asked the Chief Cabinet Secretary yesterday. Based on the latest action by North Korea, what is your view on signing a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with the ROK?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: At the recent Japan-ROK foreign ministers’ meeting, the two sides confirmed that the “comfort women” issue is resolved finally and irreversibly. Accordingly, Japan considers that Japan-ROK relations will enter a new era of future-oriented relations, and that a foundation has been established for bringing Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK security cooperation to a new level. It is critically important that Japan and the ROK collaborate on intelligence in order to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile program. The Government will work to further deepen Japan-ROK security cooperation, including the swift signing of a GSOMIA.


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