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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 13, 2017 (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: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , arrived in Japan yesterday and is scheduled to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Abe today. It is expected that Japan will propose cooperation with Saudi Arabia in a variety of fields, including infrastructure and energy, so could you tell us the Government's expectations for the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, this visit by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud marks the first visit to Japan by the King of Saudi Arabia in 46 years, since the visit by King Faisal in 1971 . Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of oil to Japan, and since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955 Japan and Saudi Arabia have built a friendly mutual relationship. There is also a long history of exchange between the Imperial Family and the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. On this occasion of His Majesty King Salman's visit, the Government will be announcing specific cooperation towards the realization of Saudi Vision 2030, which is Saudi Arabia's national growth strategy, and will also seek to engage in an exchange of opinions on the situations in the Middle East and East Asia with Saudi Arabia, a country which is the cornerstone for stability in the Middle East . During his stay in Japan, on March 14 His Majesty the Emperor will invite His Majesty King Salman to the Imperial Residence for a luncheon. Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with His Majesty the King today and host a dinner in his honor this evening.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The tremendous number of people in the King's entourage for this visit has gained attention, including Royal Princes, cabinet members and company representatives. What is the Government's view on the economic impact that will result from the visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly this is an historic visit, marking the first time in 46 years for the King of Saudi Arabia to visit Japan. As has been noted in the press, His Majesty's entourage comprises approximately 1,000 people, and this therefore gives weight to expectations that the economic relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia will be further strengthened.

REPORTER: I have a question about the launch of missiles by North Korea. With regard to the information that was issued at the time of North Korea's missile launches last week, there have been some press reports that a Government inquiry has found that information was conveyed to vessels and aircraft in the vicinity of Japan around 20 minutes after the missiles had fallen. Could you confirm the facts behind these press reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to information about North Korea's ballistic missile launches, I would like to state that the Government is constantly engaged in efforts that will enable us to provide information quickly and accurately, including to vessels and aircraft in the vicinity of Japan. With regard to the latest incident, following the launch of the missiles at around 7:34 a.m., at around 7:47 a.m. the ministries and agencies concerned issued a warning to vessels in the area. I am aware that the fisheries safety bulletin issued by the Fisheries Agency was sent out approximately 20 minutes after the missiles had fallen into the sea. In the first place, the missile launches by North Korea are being implemented in contravention of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and without prior warning, making it extremely difficult to know in advance where they will fly and in what direction. It is for this reason that the Government considers it to be of the utmost importance to convey relevant information to the greatest extent possible, from the perspective of protecting the lives and properties of the people of Japan. We will examine the background to the latest launch and our response and continue to make every effort to provide information even more quickly. As these missiles fall close to Japan within ten minutes of being launched and are launched without any kind of prior notice it is vitally important to do all that is possible to prevent such launches.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of Japan-Saudi Arabia relations. There are reports that suggest the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030 will include the establishment of new special economic zones in Saudi Arabia. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports and the current status of considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the reports, at the current point nothing has been decided. Whatever the case, Japan seeks to offer support in the economic and social reforms that Saudi Arabia is advancing. This is extremely important. Since the first Japan-Saudi Joint Group for Vision 2030 meeting  in October last year, which was held in Saudi Arabia and attended by Minister Seko, the Government has engaged in discussions with the Saudi side that are aimed at concrete cooperation in the future. On the occasion of His Majesty the King's visit to Japan we are aiming to conclude the Japan-Saudi Vision 2030, which will set the compass for new Japan-Saudi cooperation. Once this vision is concluded the Government expects that further concrete initiatives in various areas will be realized.


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