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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 6, 2017 (PM)

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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

It appears that at about 7:34 a.m. this morning, North Korea launched four ballistic missiles in an easterly direction from the proximity of Tongch’ang-ri  on the west coast of North Korea. All of these missiles are believed to have flown for approximately 1,000 km, of which three are believed to have fallen in the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The details of the launch are currently being analyzed. As of now there have been no confirmed reports of damages to nearby aircraft or vessels. Immediately following the launch a report was made to the Prime Minister, who issued instructions on three points. The Response Office within the Prime Minister’s Office for the Situation in North Korea engaged in consolidation of information, and from 8:25 a.m. a meeting among director-general level officials of the relevant ministries and agencies was held, in addition to which, from about 10:40 a.m. a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) was convened. As no prior warning was given before the missiles fell into Japan’s EEZ, their launch is an extremely problematic and dangerous act that Japan strongly protests. As this launch violates relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and other agreements, the Government immediately issued a serious protest against North Korea, condemning the launch in the strongest possible terms. These repeated actions by North Korea are entirely unacceptable. The Government will coordinate closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and other relevant countries, including at the UN Security Council, to strongly urge North Korea to exercise self-restraint, and, with a sense of urgency, take all necessary responses to be able to respond to any situation. The Government will communicate information as appropriate, including, when necessary, through the J-ALERT system. The people are asked to stay tuned to information from the Government and act calmly.

Q&As

REPORTER: Could you tell us what was confirmed in the recent meeting of the NSC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although due to the nature of discussions in the four ministers’ meeting of the NSC I would like to refrain from discussing the details, the following points were confirmed. Firstly, the facts surrounding this latest ballistic missile launch by North Korea were confirmed and analyzed. Discussions also took place on Japan’s response policy to the latest developments in North Korea. Finally, it was confirmed that in preparation for further provocative actions by North Korea, the Government will continue to collect information, and engage in monitoring and surveillance, as well as making every effort to ensure the safety and security of the public.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Prime Minister had already issued instructions on three points, but did he issue any new instructions to the NSC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There were no new instructions from the Prime Minister. All ministries and agencies concerned are working to thoroughly implement the instructions issued by the Prime Minister immediately after the launch.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have referred to a response by the UNSC, but it is the case that the UNSC has only recently issued a press statement condemning  the actions of North Korea. Does the Government intend to request a further emergency meeting of the UNSC?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is naturally the direction in which we are working and Japan has already initiated discussions with countries concerned, including the United States and the ROK. The Government is seeking to further enhance cooperation with the international community on a response to this situation, including countries concerned such as the United States and the ROK, which I just mentioned.

REPORTER: It is the case that the United States and the ROK are currently implementing joint military exercises, so does the Government consider that the latest launch was in response to these exercises? Could you tell us the Government’s views on the timing of the latest launch, which comes in the midst of these joint U.S.-ROK exercises?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from speculating about the intentions of North Korea, but it is also a fact that a similar situation has occurred previously.

(Abridged)
 
REPORTER: President Trump of the United States has also indicated a hardline stance against North Korea. What is the Government’s view on the possibility of the United States taking a stronger line against North Korea in the future, including military action?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event the latest launch has only very recently occurred. Japan, the United States and the ROK are currently working closely together to assess the situation and analyze information available, and I would therefore like to refrain from commenting on such matters while analysis is still being implemented.

REPORTER: I have a further question. China is considered to have a strong influence on North Korea and following the most recent UNSC resolution China implemented a temporary cessation of coal imports from North Korea, which is still in force. What expectations does the Government of Japan have of China using its influence with North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you have just noted, it is clear that China has the largest influence on North Korea and it was against such a backdrop that the Government of China recently announced the stoppage of coal imports from North Korea. As measures against North Korea are already determined under the terms of the UNSC resolutions, the Government of Japan hopes that China will comply with the resolutions and move to implement the announced stoppage of coal imports.

REPORTER: Of the four missiles launched today three fell in Japan’s EEZ and the other one also fell in the vicinity, so is it the Government’s view that North Korea was aiming for all four missiles to land in the EEZ?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are currently collecting and analyzing information on this and other points.

REPORTER: Given that there are already strong sanctions in place against North Korea, do you consider that there is any room left to further strengthen such measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although measures are being imposed based on the multiple UNSC resolutions adopted to date, North Korea is continuing its provocative actions with complete disregard for such measures. I think it is only natural that the United Nations will move to consider an even sterner response to North Korea and that is why Japan has already initiated discussions with the United States and the ROK. We are also advancing discussions with other UNSC members.

(Abridged)

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