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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 22, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: It is deemed that North Korea launched one ballistic missile from its eastern shore today at around 5:57 AM and one at around 8:03 AM, respectively. The first ballistic missile is presumed to have been launched in an eastern direction, separated into several pieces, and then fell near the coast of the eastern shore. As of now, we have no confirmed reports of damage to aircraft or vessels or other such information. As regards the Government, following the first report from the Ministry of Defense to the Cabinet Secretariat, information was consolidated at the Response Office within the Prime Minister’s Office for the Situation in North Korea, which is established at the Crisis Management Center of the Prime Minister’s Office. In addition, meetings among the director-general-level officials of the relevant ministries and agencies were held from 7:15 AM and 8:50 AM today, under the leadership of the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management and the Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat. The meetings discussed information aggregation and responses. Today’s ballistic missile launches by North Korea, following on from North Korea’s nuclear test on January 6, launch of a ballistic missile which it calls a “satellite” on February 7, and repeated ballistic missile launches that have followed, are provocations against security that undermine the peace and security of the region including Japan and of the rest of the international community. Today’s ballistic missile launches are extremely problematic acts from the standpoint of ensuring the security of aircraft and vessels. In addition, they violate the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the recently adopted Resolution 2270, and the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, and go against the purport of the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. Japan immediately lodged a serious protest to North Korea through the embassy channel in Beijing. Based on the four items already instructed by the Prime Minister, the Government will coordinate closely with our allies, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and with other relevant countries to strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint, including at the UN Security Council, and, with a sense of urgency, take all possible necessary responses to be able to respond to any situation. If North Korea launches a missile, and as was the case on February 7, it could fly over Japan or have other effects on Japan, this information will be swiftly notified to the people and to relevant organizations through J-ALERT and Em-Net (Emergency Information Network). The Government will communicate information as appropriate. The people are asked to stay tuned to information from the Government and behave in a calm manner.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding these missile launches by North Korea. What is the Government’s analysis regarding the timing of the launches, including why North Korea chose this timing for the launches?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: At this stage I am not aware of anything in particular with regard to the analysis of why North Korea conducted the launches at this timing. Precisely right now the Six-Party Talks are being held in Beijing. The North Korean delegate is also attending the talks. In this sense, I have to say North Korea’s actions were extremely lacking in good faith.


REPORTER: I have a related question. Do you foresee that these provocations by North Korea could continue?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: It is difficult to grasp what North Korea’s main objectives are. Regardless, North Korea has repeatedly used and conducted provocative language and actions, including numerous ballistic missile launches, various tests necessary for the development of new weapons, release of images of what appears to be nuclear warheads, and the holding of large-scale ground exercises. Furthermore, as was indicated at the recent Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, North Korea has not changed its position of continuing with its nuclear and missile development and is expected to continue its nuclear and missile development activities. Generally speaking, the possibility cannot be ruled out that North Korea will continue to conduct ballistic missile launches as part of its missile development. Based on the instructions from the Prime Minister, the Government will, with a sense of urgency, continue to work closely with the United States and the ROK, among other countries, in making every effort to collect the necessary information and conduct analysis as well as carry out surveillance, including of North Korea’s future activities, and take all possible measures to ensure the peace and security of Japan.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to the U.S. presidential election and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Ms. Hillary Clinton, who has clinched the Democratic nomination, stated in her address that trade agreements not profitable to the United States should be renegotiated, hinting at renegotiating the TPP. This is believed to be the first time she referred to the possibility of renegotiation. What is the Government’s comment? What impact do you expect this will have?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the remarks made by the candidates of the U.S. presidential election. At the TPP Summit last November, the leaders of 12 countries including the United States confirmed that they would aim for the Agreement’s early entry into force. The incumbent President Obama positions the Congress’s passage of the TPP Agreement at as a top priority of his trade agenda this year. With the TPP Agreement, one agreement is intertwined with other agreements in a complex manner. If we take out only one and renegotiate, the whole thing may fall apart. Japan has absolutely no intention of agreeing to a renegotiation, even if the United States were to make such a request. Japan will lead the effort to increase the momentum to realize the Agreement’s early entry into force. As was agreed upon among the relevant countries, we expect that countries including the United States will act responsibly and proceed with the procedures by gaining domestic support.


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