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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 3, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: The Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced that North Korea launched short-range missiles or rocket artillery a short while ago. What information is the Japanese Government aware of? Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am aware of these news reports. The Government, with serious concern over North Korea’s missile activity, gathers and analyzes information from peacetime. I would like to refrain from commenting on individual details, as that would disclose Japan’s information gathering capabilities. In any case, we have not confirmed any projectiles flying towards Japan. We do not perceive that we have a situation that has direct implications on the security of Japan. Japan, in collaboration with the United States and the ROK, will continue to urge North Korea to refrain from provocations, and comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Japan continues to conduct surveillance with a sense of urgency in order to be able to respond to any situation.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning North Korea. A Security Council resolution was adopted for imposing sanctions. What is your assessment of the resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan highly appreciates that the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution today, March 3, Japan time. We consider that with this resolution, the international community has demonstrated a resolute stance against North Korea. Japan strongly urges North Korea to sincerely heed the strong warnings and condemnation repeatedly expressed by the international community to date and to comply faithfully and fully with the resolution adopted today and the series of relevant resolutions, without taking further provocative actions, such as nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. I believe Japan, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, contributed greatly to the adoption of this resolution in close coordination with concerned countries, including the United States and the ROK. This has led to the adoption of a robust resolution that incorporates a lot of Japan’s assertions. In implementing this resolution, Japan will fully coordinate with concerned countries and take steps to ensure its effectiveness. Japan will undertake steady efforts for the comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern regarding North Korea, including abductions, nuclear and missile issues, maintaining the principles of dialogue and pressure and action for action, in close coordination with the international community.

REPORTER: In the past, a variety of loopholes have been pointed out in regard to the sanctions against North Korea. What role does the Japanese Government hope to play to ensure that the resolution is more effective, including Japan’s own sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the overview of today’s resolution, the resolution determines North Korea’s nuclear test and ballistic missile launch to be violations of past Security Council resolutions and strongly condemns them. Compared to the Security Council resolution in response to the previous nuclear test, today’s resolution encompasses strong and comprehensive content including the increase and strengthening of measures related to trade, finance, the movement of people, aviation, and maritime traffic. To ensure compliance with these measures, Japan will continue to work with the United States, the ROK, and the international community to respond appropriately.

REPORTER: My question is related to the previous question. Your assessment is that today’s sanctions resolution encompasses very strong content. My question is about Russia’s response. Russia requested a one-day extension before the adoption. As for the content of the resolution, it seems that Russia’s calls for some easing of the strong sanctions were incorporated into the resolution, in the sense that an exception was made to the ban on the export of aviation fuel to North Korea, allowing fuel to be sold and supplied to North Korean private aircraft outside of the country. What is Japan’s evaluation of these responses of Russia?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from commenting on the various opinions expressed by a range of countries in the negotiation process. Having said that, Japan welcomes that with the adoption of this resolution, the international community ultimately demonstrated strong condemnation and resolve to enforce the measures, which is evident even by looking at the resolution objectively. The resolution was adopted unanimously.


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