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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 10, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

Today, it seems that North Korea launched two ballistic missiles in an east-northeasterly direction from proximity of Nampo on the west coast of North Korea at approximately 5:22 a.m. and 5:27 a.m., respectively. It is estimated that the missiles traveled approximately 500 km and fell into the Sea of Japan. As of now, no damage has been reported from aircraft and vessels. With regard to the Government’s response, following the Ministry of Defense’s first report to the Cabinet Secretariat, the Information Liaison Office for the Situation in North Korea, established within the Crisis Management Center of the Prime Minister’s Office, has been collecting information. Also, a meeting of the directors-general of relevant ministries and agencies was held under the leadership of the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management and the Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat, in addition to which, at around 9:40 a.m., a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was held, which engaged in consultations concerning the collection of information and the Government’s response. The meeting of the NSC confirmed the three instructions already issued by the Prime Minister and instructions were given to continue to resolutely respond, working with the international community to strongly urge North Korea to exercise restraint, and thoroughly implementing related measures. The latest ballistic missile launches by North Korea are very problematic acts from the perspective of ensuring the safety of aircraft and vessels. Furthermore, they are in violation of the related United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Japan therefore immediately lodged a strong protest with North Korea. The Government will continue to work closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in strongly urging North Korea to exercise restraint. In addition, the Government will take all necessary measures to be able to respond to contingencies with a sense of urgency, including surveillance and reconnaissance.


REPORTER: With regard to this latest short-range ballistic missile launch, if the launch used ballistic technologies it would be in violation of the UNSC resolutions. What is the recognition of the Government with regard to this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: UNSC Resolution 2270 and other related UNSC resolutions determine that North Korea should not engage in any kind of launch that uses ballistic missile technologies. This latest launch by North Korea is therefore in clear violation of UNSC resolutions.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Japan is currently a member of the UNSC, so given that directly after the adoption of the UNSC resolution North Korea has engaged in these actions that are both provocative and in violation of the resolution, what is the Government’s view about the necessity for some sort of action?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will continue to urge North Korea to refrain from provocative actions and will make the required and appropriate response in close cooperation with the United States and the ROK.


REPORTER: I have a question about import restrictions following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Tomorrow will mark the fifth anniversary of the accident and India has lifted import restrictions on all food products produced in Japan. However, there are still 37 countries and regions that are imposing import restrictions in some form or another and recently it is said that some countries and regions, including the ROK and Taiwan, have further strengthened restrictions. What will the Government’s response be to this matter going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to welcome the lifting of import restrictions by India. It will soon be five years since the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and as you have just noted, there are some countries where import restrictions remain in place. In cooperation with local governments in disaster-affected areas, the Government is endeavoring to overcome damage caused by unfounded rumors, sending out a widespread message to the governments and people of such countries and regions about the current status of reconstruction and the situation in the affected regions. For example, in places like Hong Kong and Shanghai, food product exhibits and booths and photographic exhibitions are being held. Furthermore, in response to countries and regions such as the ROK and Taiwan, which still maintain restrictions, the Government will continue to use every opportunity to call on such countries and regions to relax or abolish restrictions.


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