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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 5, 2016 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
North Korea launched three ballistic missiles in an east-northeasterly direction from its western shore in the vicinity of Hwangju at around 12:13 p.m. this afternoon. It is estimated that the missiles flew approximately 1,000 km and they are thought to have fallen into the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The Government is currently engaged in analysis concerning the details of this launch. As of now, we have no confirmed reports of damage to aircraft or vessels or other such information. In terms of Government actions a report was immediately made to the Prime Minister and three instructions were issued based on instructions previously issued by the Prime Minister. Furthermore, information has been consolidated at the Response Office within the Prime Minister’s Office and a meeting among director-general-level officials of the relevant ministries and agencies was held from 1:15 p.m., following which a meeting of the National Security Council of Japan was held from around 2:39 p.m. This missile launch by North Korea, which follows a similar launch on August 3, is the second of its kind where missiles are believed to have fallen in Japan’s EEZ, and represents a grave threat to the security of Japan. Given that the G20 Summit is currently being held in Hangzhou, China, this launch is clearly a provocative action against Japan and the international community. Furthermore, as no prior warning was given before the missiles fell into Japan’s EEZ, the launch is an extremely problematic and dangerous act also from the standpoint of ensuring the security of aircraft and vessels. As this launch also violates relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and other agreements, the Government immediately issued a strong protest against North Korea via the embassy channel in Beijing, criticizing the launch in the strongest terms possible. These repeated actions by North Korea are entirely unacceptable. The Government will coordinate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and 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.


REPORTER: As you just noted, this missile launch was timed to coincide with the G20 Summit. What is the Government’s analysis of the aims of this launch?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any definitive statement about the aim and purpose of this missile launch by North Korea. However, speaking in general terms, it is possible that it was part of a series of exercises and activities to develop ballistic missiles. Given that North Korea has declared the press statement by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemning its series of missile launches, including the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) of August 24, to be a hostile act, and that it has also warned that it will continue to take a series of systematic active measures to demonstrate its status as a full-fledged military power, it is likely that these launches are shows of military strength in response to increasing international pressure. In any event, with regard to military actions, including the launch of ballistic missiles, the Government will continue to coordinate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and make every effort to gather and analyze information with a sense of grave concern.


REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic, concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The TPP bill was not passed in the previous session of the Diet, but with regard to whether it will be passed in the upcoming Diet session, given the current lack of clarity about TPP-related developments in the United States, there are some people in opposition parties who are stating that it is not necessary for Japan to move hastily to approve the agreement and pass relevant legislation. What are your views on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the TPP leaders’ meeting last November, the leaders of 12 countries agreed to aim for the agreement’s early entry into force. The Government understands that President Obama is taking steps to have the TPP agreement passed by Congress by the end of the year. In order for the effects of the TPP Agreement to be realized as soon as possible, Japan will lead the way in building momentum for the early entry into force. It is also of the utmost importance for Japan to play a leading role in supporting the free trade system and creating international frameworks, particularly at a time when protectionist and isolationist moves are being seen around the world. Therefore the Government will be working during the extraordinary Diet session towards achieving the approval of the TPP Agreement in the near term.


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