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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 24, 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 regarding Japan-ROK relations. Yesterday, the Governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) signed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which entered into force on the same day. What is the significance of the agreement’s entry into force in the face of the rising threat of North Korea?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the agreement was signed in Seoul on the 23rd. By concluding this agreement, information exchanged between the Japanese and ROK Governments will be given proper protection, and smoother and quicker exchanges of information will take place between the two Governments. We have high expectations in this regard. As the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs have entered a new phase, there was vital significance to concluding this agreement under these circumstances. It is extremely important that Japan and the ROK work together in addressing the nuclear and missile issues of North Korea. The Government hopes to steadily continue pursuing bilateral cooperation in the security field.   


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. It seems that Russia deployed missiles to Etorofu and Kunashiri Islands in the Northern Territories. Is the Japanese Government aware of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we are aware of the reports. The Government constantly follows the movements of the Russian Armed Forces in the Northern Territories. We consider that the Northern Territories issue itself needs to be resolved to fundamentally settle these issues. The Government will make persistent efforts in the negotiations to arrive at a solution acceptable to both sides. 


REPORTER: I have a related question. Mr. Trump, who showed a conciliatory stance towards Russia during his U.S. presidential election campaign, won the election. Russia may have thus concluded that there is no need to rush to achieve a breakthrough in the relationship with Japan, according to some people’s speculations. Does Japan perceive that Mr. Trump’s election has resulted in a change in Russia’s stance?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I believe the Government should refrain from responding by speculating about President-elect Trump’s foreign policy after he takes office. Japan has been holding a series of political dialogues with Russia, and is advancing the Japan-Russia relationship in a way that will contribute to the national interests of Japan. The Government will engage in the territorial negotiations in this context. It has absolutely no impact on the policy of the Government.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At yesterday’s symposium, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda made comments regarding President-elect Trump’s announcement of his intention to withdraw from the TPP. The Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary stated that if Mr. Trump were to say that the United States wishes to have forward-looking TPP talks, then it is important to include the United States, even if that requires more time. The Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary hinted at the possibility of renegotiation. Can you once again tell us the position of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is not really a matter of renegotiation. These remarks being made by President-elect Trump are being made before he is inaugurated. On the margins of the recent APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the leaders of all countries that signed the TPP Agreement held a meeting and vowed to make efforts to quickly obtain approval in our respective countries. President Obama also attended the meeting and made such remarks. Therefore, it remains unchanged that the respective signatories will urge the United States to join the TPP and that Japan will play a leading role in this effort. 

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. So Japan still believes that there is no room for renegotiation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, 12 countries made this vow. Therefore, I expect that the respective countries will be urging the United States to join the TPP.


REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. Japan has been taking steps to reach a free trade agreement with the EU. Does Japan intend to pursue bilateral consultations with the United Kingdom which will withdraw from the EU? How much priority will be given to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, Japan will make every effort to reach an agreement in principle for the Japan-EU EPA by the end of this year. We consider this to be extremely important. Japan will take appropriate measures with the United Kingdom, while closely following how the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU play out over the former’s withdrawal. At this point in time, we are not considering an agreement between Japan and the United Kingdom.

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