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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 20, 2016 (AM)

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]


REPORTER: I have a question in connection with North Korea. According to an announcement by the U.S. Forces, this morning North Korea attempted a launch of a ballistic missile but it ended in failure. Can you tell us what the Government knows? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After comprehensively considering the various information that the Government has collected, our understanding is that at 7 AM today, North Korea launched a ballistic missile presumed to be a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile from an area near Kusong, a northwestern city in North Korea, but that it ended in failure. The Government is lodging a serious protest and is strongly condemning North Korea through our embassy channel in Beijing. In any case, we have not found any projectile flying towards Japan in association with this incident. Nothing has occurred that would have immediate implications on the security of Japan.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The United Nations Security Council released a statement condemning North Korea only two days ago. What is your analysis of North Korea’s provocations to which we are seeing no end?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the repeated missile launches by North Korea are serious provocations against security, undermining the peace and security of the region including Japan and of the international community, and are totally unacceptable. In addition, they are in violation of repeated Security Council resolutions obliging North Korea not to conduct any launches that utilize ballistic missile technology. North Korea has not eschewed its posture of continuing its nuclear and missile development, as was demonstrated at the Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in May, and we view that North Korea is continuing with its missile development activities. The Government will work closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in strengthening pressure on North Korea and urging North Korea to refrain from provocations and comply with relevant Security Council resolutions. Furthermore, the Government is committed to collecting information and conducting monitoring with a sense of vigilance to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: A related question. North Korea has conducted two failed missile launches within a short period of time. Does the Government expect these North Korean provocations to continue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, North Korea has indicated that it would continue with its nuclear and missile development. Therefore, we consider that its missile development activities will continue.

REPORTER: A related question. The launch took place within a very short period of time since the failure of the previous missile launch. Had the Government detected any signs of the launch in advance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from responding to your question due to the nature of the matter. However, it is true that the Government’s stance is to remain vigilant to be able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: I have a related question. North Korea has made failed attempts at launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile in succession. What is the Government’s analysis of the current level of development of North Korea’s missile technology? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is working closely with the United States and the ROK, as well as collecting and analyzing information. However, I would like to refrain from disclosing the details.

REPORTER: A related question. Chief Cabinet Secretary, I would like to confirm one detail. Were the ballistic missiles launched but ended in failure? Or did the launches fail during the attempt? Have you obtained any information regarding the nature of the failure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our understanding is that North Korea launched ballistic missiles but they ended in failure.

REPORTER: A related question. So your understanding is that the ballistic missiles fell in the midst of being launched?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: North Korea launched ballistic missiles but they ended in failure.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Yesterday, Her Majesty the Empress provided written answers to questions by the press. Her Majesty stated that His Majesty the Emperor delivered his message indicating his wish to abdicate, after thoroughly discussing the matter with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince and His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, and that it was with awe and respect that Her Majesty heard the thoughts revealed by His Majesty, which he made after thoroughly discussing the matter with Their Imperial Highnesses. The Government is currently conducting reviews based on the message of His Majesty. What is the Government’s view of Her Majesty’s remarks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we believe we are not in a position to comment on the thoughts of Her Majesty.


REPORTER: My question is in regard to the deliberations concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Right now the deliberations are getting nowhere due to the remark made by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yamamoto. Some members of the opposition parties have refused to attend the interpellation session and intend to seek the resignation of Minister Yamamoto. What is your view of the current situation?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Minister Yamamoto explained that at the Diet, opposition parties asked the Prime Minister several times whether he would be railroading the TPP ratification proposal through the Diet, and that the Minister made the remark implying that Diet affairs would be determined by the Diet. In addition, I strongly warned the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries not to make statements that can cause misunderstanding. At the Diet, the Minister retracted his remark and expressed his regrets. The Minister stated that he wished to retract and apologize for his remark. Therefore, I believe the Minister’s resignation is not at issue here.

REPORTER: What is your view regarding the fact that the deliberations are getting nowhere?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is a matter that is up to the Diet to decide. The Government will provide careful explanations. Given the critical importance of the TPP, the Government would like unreserved deliberations to take place and will respond carefully to the questions asked at the Diet.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the Government will provide two used large patrol vessels to Malaysia to support the strengthening of Malaysia’s maritime surveillance capability. This is seen as a move to keep a check on China, which is conducting unilateral maritime advancements. Has the Government already decided on this provision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan attaches importance to supporting the maritime capacity enhancement of Malaysia. The two countries are discussing the possible forms of cooperation, and we are unable to respond about the details at this point in time. Japan’s support for the maritime capacity enhancement of Malaysia is aimed at increasing Malaysia’s maritime security capability and promoting its socio-economic development. It is not being done with any particular events in mind.

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