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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 27, 2017 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question related to the activities of North Korea. I understand a U.S. university research group released the findings from its analysis of satellite photos, which was that North Korea is preparing for the next nuclear test. What information does the Japanese Government know?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is constantly collecting and analyzing information regarding the activities of North Korea with serious concern. Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from responding about the details of our information and its analysis.

REPORTER: While you stated that you would like to refrain from going into the details, I would like to ask you a related question. North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year, among other activities, and it appears North Korea is accelerating the pace of its nuclear program. Do you think there is a high chance that North Korea will go ahead with another nuclear test in the near future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in close collaboration with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), the Government will continue to steadily carry out the necessary information collection and analysis as well as surveillance and monitoring with a sense of urgency to be able to respond to any situation, and thereby, ensure the safety and security of the lives of the people of Japan. We always stand ready to do this.

REPORTER: What aspects of your collaboration with countries such as the United States and the ROK do you foresee will become important for putting an end to North Korea's provocations, including its nuclear program as well as missile launches?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, in parallel with the collaboration among Japan, the United States, and the ROK, Japan will steadily take actions, including urging North Korea to comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and refrain from provocations, primarily under the framework of the Security Council.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I understand that Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat will be visiting the United States and that arrangements are being made to hold a meeting with Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs McMaster. What outcomes are you expecting from the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Secretary General Yachi of the National Security Secretariat will visit the United States from today, February 27, to March 1, and arrangements are currently being made to hold an exchange of views between Secretary General Yachi and his counterpart, the President's National Security Advisor McMaster. During the exchange of views, the two are expected to discuss the regional situation as well as follow-up on the outcomes of the recent meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You mentioned that they will discuss the regional situation. Does that mean the themes of the discussion will include North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and China's advancement into the South China Sea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We expect that the regional situation will be discussed.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. Yesterday, Secretary-General Noda of the Democratic Party expressed the view that the decreasing number of Imperial Family members needed to be addressed quickly, in one to two years, taking into consideration the idea of allowing female members of the Imperial Family to keep their Imperial status after marriage. The Advisory Council is presently discussing the issue of easing the burden of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty the Emperor. Once the current round of discussions ends, does the Government intend to consider addressing the issue of the decreasing number of Imperial Family members, together with the ruling and opposition parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I would like to refrain from making comments as I do not know what Secretary-General Noda stated. Having said that, the Government is aware that there are various debates over the issue of allowing female members of the Imperial Family to keep their Imperial status after marriage, and over the Imperial system. The Government, the Imperial House Law Revision Office of the Cabinet Secretariat, is internally reviewing how to address the decreasing number of Imperial Family members, which includes studying the discussions that have taken place to date. In any case, we believe that the consideration of this matter should not be postponed. At this point in time I would like to refrain from making further comments.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: My question is in regard to the draft budget for the next fiscal year. Today, the draft budget was passed by the Budget Committee, and is expected to be passed at the Plenary Session and be sent to the House of Councillors. This will ensure that the budget is established by the end of this fiscal year. What do you consider as the factors contributing to the steady progress of the deliberations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The next fiscal year's budget very much concerns the lives of the people, including the realization of a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. The Government has therefore been working to pass the budget as quickly as possible, and has been providing careful explanations at the meetings of the Committee. It is not certain yet what will happen to the budget. We will just need to proceed with the process very, very carefully.


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