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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 14, 2017 (AM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Remarks



REPORTER: In response to North Korea’s ballistic missile launch, an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council was held and a statement was made to the press strongly condemning North Korea. How does the Japanese Government view the statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, based on a request from Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), an emergency session of the Security Council was held just after 7 AM today. In addition to strongly condemning the ballistic missile launch made on the 12th, the press statement reaffirmed that North Korea shall refrain from further violations of the relevant Security Council resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions. The Security Council demonstrated its unified stance that it will not tolerate these repeated launches by North Korea in the recent press statement, and Japan will continue to work closely with the United States, the ROK, and other relevant countries to strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative actions, and comply strictly and fully with the obligations under Security Council Resolution No. 2321 and other agreements.

REPORTER: I have one more question related to North Korea’s missile launch. In a television program yesterday evening, in relation to North Korea’s missile launch, Prime Minister Abe stated that while the previous Obama administration was very cautious about exercising military power, the Trump administration has reviewed that stance and intends to resolve the issue diplomatically, while keeping all available options on the table. What are the Japanese Government’s thoughts on the Trump administration’s stance towards North Korea, and the possibility of the U.S. exercising a military option?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, as this is a statement by the Prime Minister, I do not think it is appropriate for me to add anything to it. I would also like to refrain from commenting on the diplomatic dialogue between Japan and the United States. In any case, in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting held on February 10, the two leaders discussed the increasingly severe security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, including the issues on North Korea's nuclear and missile development, which constitute a new level of threat, and shared concerns. Furthermore, the two leaders shared the recognition that it is necessary to continually strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance in light of the current situation. Both leaders also agreed to continue to strongly urge North Korea to refrain from further provocative actions and comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions and other agreements, and that Japan, the United States, and the ROK would continue to work together closely, including at the United Nations. As a representative of the Japanese Government, I would like to refrain from commenting on how the United States will concretely enact that policy in response to North Korea. In any case, the two leaders agreed to continually strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance in response to concerns related to the security environment.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In the recent statement condemning North Korea, the Security Council warned that it may take further measures. Going forward, what additional measures does the Japanese Government judge to be effective in stopping the provocative actions of North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, to date, we consider the Security Council to be the most effective forum for sending a strong message to North Korea from the international community and implementing sanctions on North Korea. As I believe many countries share that recognition, I expect that the Security Council will of course take further effective responses to North Korea. In addition to ensuring that North Korea complies with the resolutions issued until now, we will proactively take initiatives, including making use of the Sanctions Committee.

REPORTER: In response to the recent actions by North Korea, along with making use of the forum of the United Nations, going forward, how is Japan considering to strengthen its independent measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, Japan considers it important to ensure the effectiveness of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and I think it is natural that we will also firmly implement Japan’s independent measures. Furthermore, in cooperation with the United States, the ROK, and other relevant countries, as well as the international community, Japan will discuss the response going forward. Additionally, Japan will closely monitor North Korea’s reaction to the succession of the Security Council resolutions and Japan’s own measures, based on which we will continuously consider our response going forward, taking into account what would be most effective.


REPORTER: I have a question on another topic, related to Russia. According to reports by TASS and other media outlets, Prime Minister Medvedev has named five uninhabited and previously unnamed islands among the Kuril Islands after officers of the former Soviet Union and other prominent persons. Please tell me the Government’s reaction, and if it has made any response to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the Government is aware that the Northern Territories are included in the scope of the recent naming. Japan finds this development to be completely inconsistent with Japan’s stance regarding the Northern Territories and extremely regrettable. We will make a response. In any case, in relation to this development, the resolution of the Northern Territory issue itself is crucial. The Government will continue to firmly engage in negotiations with Russia based on the basic policy of resolving the issue of the attribution of the Four Northern Islands and concluding a peace treaty.

REPORTER: I would like to confirm, did the Government make a protest or some other concrete response to the Russian side?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In regard to this issue, Japan has made an appropriate protest through diplomatic channels with Russia regarding Japan’s position on February 13.

REPORTER: I would like to confirm one more point. You said that Japan will firmly engage in negotiations with Russia towards the resolution of the issue of the Northern Territories, but do you believe this incident will have a major impact?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think so at all. The Prime Minister believes that it is exactly because these issues exist that we must engage in negotiations. The Prime Minister attended the summit meeting with this in mind.

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