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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 19, 2017 (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]



REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. It is about the comfort woman statue installed on the sidewalk in front of the Japanese consulate in Busan in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Mayor of Dong District, which manages the sidewalk, indicated to the press corps today that he does not intend to remove the statue. Although the Japanese Government is requesting the statue’s removal, in reality things are moving in a direction in which the statue may become permanent. What are the Government’s thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, it was confirmed in the Japan-ROK agreement reached at the end of 2015 that the comfort women issue is resolved finally and irreversibly. Notwithstanding this, a comfort woman statue was installed in front of the Japanese consulate in Busan. This has an unfavorable impact on Japan-ROK relations, and is also problematic in light of the international Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and is extremely regrettable. It is critical that both Japan and the ROK take responsibility to implement the agreement reached at the end of 2015 in accordance with the agreement, and the Government of the ROK has expressed that there is no change to its position that it will steadily fulfill the agreement. Japan will continue to persistently take various opportunities to strongly request the ROK side to steadily implement the agreement, including the issue of comfort women statues.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As a retaliatory measure in response to the installation of the statue, Japanese Ambassador to the ROK Nagamine and the Japanese Consul General have been temporarily recalled to Japan. Can you once again tell us whether, as long as the statue is not removed, it is inconceivable that the Japanese Government return Ambassador Nagamine to his post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no change in our intention to decide the matter in a comprehensive manner.

REPORTER: One more related question. You just stated it would be a comprehensive decision. Is there a point that will be given top priority in making this comprehensive decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like to make a decision taking into consideration various circumstances and other matters.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding North Korea’s missiles. The Yonhap News Agency of the ROK reported that North Korea has developed a new model of a missile that appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It’s been stated that the missile is ready to be launched at any time. What does the Japanese Government know?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government constantly makes efforts to gather and analyze information on developments regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles with keen concern. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from commenting on the individual, concrete details and related analysis.


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