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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 14, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about developments in North Korea. Media outlets in the Republic of Korea (ROK) are reporting that North Korea is deploying the Musudan missile. Please explain any information that the Japanese Government has obtained at this point.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media information you just mentioned. As I have stated each time this comes up, the Government gathers and analyzes information on developments related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles on a regular basis with serious interest. However, I cannot comment on the content and analysis related to specific information because of the nature of the matter. The Government has also ensured that the Self-Defense Forces have made the necessary preparations from the standpoint of being ready to protect the lives and assets of the Japanese people under any circumstances. I would like to refrain from disclosing the details.


REPORTER: The Trilateral Summit Meeting by Japan, the United States, and the ROK reached agreement on strengthening security among the three countries, and the Vice-Ministerial Consultation is taking place on April 19. Do you expect to continue steady reinforcement in the security area?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, the United States, and the ROK have already been responding jointly at a variety of levels to various regional situations, such as the issue of North Korea, and other global issues. Nothing has changed in plans to continue close collaboration in our responses. The upcoming Japan-US-ROK Vice-Ministerial Consultation will consist of a follow-up from the Trilateral Summit Meeting held in March 2016 and planning for close collaborative responses on areas of interest to the three countries, such as responses to North Korea.


REPORTER: Changing topic, it was officially decided to resume deliberations by the Special Committee on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement from tomorrow. While the schedule has been substantially delayed because of the stalled Diet deliberations, please explain again the Government’s aims for the deliberations.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the TPP Agreement and related laws, the Government intends to devote its utmost efforts to approving the agreement and formulating the relevant laws during the current session of the Diet, following sufficient deliberations. The Government will provide careful explanations so as to facilitate forthright discussions of the content.

REPORTER: I think Ginowan City Mayor Atsushi Sakima just met with you and raised the topic of halting operation of Futenma Air Station within five years and other matters. Could you please explain the discussion that you had?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mayor Sakima requested cooperation for his visit to the United States planned for the end of this month. He also strongly urged that Futenma Air Station be closed and returned as soon as possible in light of the passage of 20 years since agreement was reached between Japan and the United States on the return of Futenma Air Station. Furthermore, he requested the elimination of the dangers posed by Futenma Air Station and the alleviation of the burden of the bases, including suspension of operations within five years. I think the most important thing is that it is absolutely vital to ensure that Futenma Air Station, which is located in a densely-populated area, surrounded by residential buildings and also an elementary school, must not be allowed to remain at its current location indefinitely, and that the danger it poses is removed. The Government and Okinawa Prefecture are currently moving forward with procedures for a settlement as presented by the court. The Government intends to respond sincerely to this process and devote its utmost efforts to removing the dangers posed by Futenma Air Station, and ensuring its early return.


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