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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 4, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: The agreement in principle on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed and confirmed this morning. What is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am very pleased that Japan signed the TPP Agreement, which has historical and strategic significance, and that it did so as a founding member of the agreement. I think it is important to ensure that the agreement actually comes into effect and to realize benefits for consumers and businesses. Japan intends to promptly submit it to the Diet and seek Diet approval, thereby taking the lead in building momentum for its swift enactment. The Government also intends to mobilize the relevant policies and promote proactive actions by businesses as well as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries operators to realize maximum benefits from the TPP. Additionally, the Government plans to devote efforts to broaden new participation in the TPP Agreement.

REPORTER: Continuing with this topic, I expect that you will be starting domestic procedures for obtaining approval. What is your outlook or sense of the schedule?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Since the Agreement was signed today, we intend to promptly submit related laws to the Diet. We will make efforts to obtain approval from the Diet as soon as possible and pursue early effectuation of the TPP along with the other countries.

REPORTER: I have a related question. While some parties are excited about the TPP, there is also still deep-rooted uncertainty about it among certain groups, particularly people engaged in the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries industries. What issues are remaining in the Government’s mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding this point, the Government aims to include robust measures that should be capable of resolving this type of uncertainty in the supplemental budget and main budget proposal. With Director Koizumi of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Agriculture and Forestry Division at the forefront of our efforts, we have been soliciting various opinions from related parties and also making efforts to go out and explain the TPP. We intend to continue delivering even more effective explanations and seeking understanding for the TPP.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about North Korea’s missile situation. Some media reports are saying that activity is taking place at the ballistic missile launch pad in eastern North Korea too. Please explain any changes in the situation related to the missile.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is working to gather and analyze information related to the missile activities with serious interest, but I do not intend to comment on the content or analysis of specific information due to the nature of the topic. At any rate, the Government will continue to closely cooperate with the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and other related parties to strongly urge North Korea to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions, and abide by related Security Council Resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Furthermore, the Government intends to firmly protect the safety and security of the Japanese people through information gathering, and warning and surveillance efforts, acting with a sense of vigilance in order to respond to any circumstances.

REPORTER: This is related. Today the Government will be holding an explanatory meeting for prefectural representatives regarding initial alerts in the case of a missile launch. Could you explain again how the Government intends to give notification of a launch and other matters to the general public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, regarding this missile, if it is launched, we intend to initially utilize Em-Net to communicate information to administrative entities and media outlets, and we also plan to use the J-ALERT instantaneous warning system to transmit information to the affected region in the case of an impact on Japan. Today we conducted an explanatory meeting for regional public entities in Tokyo and Okinawa regarding transmission of such information. At any rate, we intend to appropriately communicate information to the general public and related institutions.

REPORTER: This is also related. Do you expect North Korea to proceed fairly quickly with the missile launch again this time considering that it has conducted previous launches on the third day of the notification period in all cases?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, the Government intends to firmly respond while analyzing a variety of intelligence, including, of course, this type of past experience. Since North Korea has given notification of a launch of a ballistic missile, which it calls a “satellite,” with a flight path that passes over Japan’s Nansei Islands, Defense Minister Nakatani yesterday issued an order to take destruction measures against the ballistic missile in preparation for falling objects. Specifically, Japan has dispatched three Aegis destroyers to appropriate positions in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea and is currently deploying PAC3 systems in Tokyo and its surrounding areas, and Okinawa Prefecture. At any rate, besides these deployed capabilities, the Government is committed to making an effective response based on the specific flight path and other aspects.


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