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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 12, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about North Korea’s missile launch. North Korea made a video of the launch public yesterday. Please explain what you ascertained from the video and the Government’s analysis.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of various opinions about the video, and the Government is monitoring and analyzing conditions and developments in North Korea. However, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on the aim of the broadcast or its purpose.

REPORTER: Regarding the timing of the video being made public, in 2012, North Korea made it public about a half day after the launch. The disclosure came four days after the launch this time. What are your thoughts on the timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am well aware of this point and it is being analyzed. However, the Government would like to refrain from making comments.

REPORTER: This is related. The General Association of Korean Residents in Japan just held a press conference on Japan’s own sanctions for North Korea and issued a statement of criticism as a unilateral abandonment of the Stockholm Agreement. Please explain the Government’s opinion on this point.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as I also mentioned in my recent briefing, Japan has no intention of abandoning the Stockholm Agreement. The Government intends to continue dialogue aimed at resolving the abduction issue and to make thorough efforts to realize the return of all abduction victims as quickly as possible based on the Stockholm Agreement.


REPORTER: This is somewhat related. The Government spoke about North Korea’s missile as essentially being a ballistic missile launch this time, in contrast to talking about “some type of projectile” in the launch before the prior one. It has been using the essentially a “ballistic missile” expression since the prior launch. Could you explain the reason for the change?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I know that the Ministry of Defense prepared reports on past launches by North Korea and refers to a missile or ballistic missile in these documents. The launch case that you just mentioned from April 2012 failed, and the Ministry of Defense did not prepare a report. Please ask the Ministry of Defense about the details.

REPORTER: I have another related point. The Government released a photograph of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting that addressed the missile launch the other day. Could you explain the reason and also indicate the Government’s stance toward future releases of NSC photos and disclosure of related content?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government normally does not make NSC-related disclosures. But this is not the first time, and there have been other cases. The NSC plays a key role as the commend center for the promotion of strategic diplomacy and natural security policies for the entire Government. Prime Minister Abe, who chairs the NSC, decided to make the disclosure this time. I think the Prime Minister, as Chairman, intended to clarify that the Government, at the helm of the NSC, is doing its utmost to ensure the safety and peace of mind of the Japanese people against North Korea’s provocative actions, including the launch of a ballistic missile.

REPORTER: The Nikkei Average closed below 15,000 yen as well. What is the Government’s analysis?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have repeatedly commented on the point that Japan’s actual economic situation is on very solid footing, and I believe investor sentiment is overly pessimistic. The Government intends to pay attention to domestic and overseas conditions, while cooperating with the G7 countries and other members of the international community, and without being overly influenced by market shifts. We plan to swiftly utilize the fiscal 2015 supplementary budget, which was recently approved, and think it is very important to steadily proceed, in a timely manner, with necessary measures to solidify a virtuous cycle for the real economy.


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