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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 13, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have a question regarding the situation in North Korea. Sources such as media in the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have said that North Korea is likely to go ahead with its fifth nuclear test as soon as today. What is the Japanese Government’s understanding of the current situation and its responses?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has serious concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities, and is constantly engaged in the collection and analysis of information. Obviously I should refrain from disclosing the details and our analysis of individual pieces of information due to the nature of the matter. Japan will continue to work closely with the United States, the ROK, and other countries to urge North Korea to refrain from provocations and comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. In addition, Japan will make all possible efforts to conduct information gathering and surveillance with a sense of urgency to be able to deal with any situation.

REPORTER: I understand that events to celebrate the birth of President Kim Il-sung of North Korea are scheduled to take place on the 15th of this month. Do you think there is a link between this and the timing of the nuclear test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are collecting and analyzing a variety of information, including about these matters. The Government considers it vital to maintain full readiness to secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people in any situation. We are conducting thorough surveillance under these circumstances.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Although you said that you would not disclose individual pieces of information, I would like to ask if, as of now, the Japanese Government knows whether CNN’s report is true that reconnaissance satellites have confirmed signs of North Korea preparing for the launch of a mobile missile according to U.S. Government authorities. It is reported that this medium-range ballistic missile is likely a Musudan. Does the Japanese Government know if these reports are true at this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan and the United States are working together closely. Japan is obviously taking steps to maintain readiness to secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the people with a sense of urgency based on information collection and analysis. That is the situation.

REPORTER: My question is in connection with the previous question. I recall that in March, the Ministry of Defense issued an order for destruction measures against ballistic missiles. Is this order still in effect even now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, it is the Government’s top priority to secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the people in any situation. In this regard, the Government is asking the Self-Defense Forces to maintain the necessary readiness. However, I would like to refrain from disclosing each and every specific measure we are taking.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Russia relations. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of Russia held a press conference prior to visiting Japan. With regard to the Northern Territories issue, the Foreign Minister expressed the view that all four islands would be open to negotiation. It can be construed that on this specific territorial dispute, Russia presented a stance that is more forward-looking than before. What is the view of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government’s understanding is that on the whole, Foreign Minister Lavrov of Russia stated that Japan and Russia would continue to hold negotiations to conclude a peace treaty. Furthermore, at the Japan-Russia foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled for the 15th, I gather that in-depth discussions will take place regarding the peace treaty issue towards finding a solution acceptable to both sides, in line with the agreement reached between the leaders of Japan and Russia.

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