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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 7, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talks that took place this morning between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump. Could you tell us the reason for these talks at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, from 8:05 a.m. for approximately 25 minutes, Prime Minister Abe held telephone talks with President Trump. Japan and the United States affirmed that the recent missile launches by North Korea were clear violations of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, were clear challenges to the region and the international community, and furthermore constituted a new level of threat. President Trump stated that the United States is with Japan 100% and that Japan can have complete confidence in him and the United States. The President asked for these comments to be conveyed to the people of Japan.  I believe that it was highly significant that the leaders of Japan and the United States held summit telephone talks so soon after the launch of missiles by North Korea, in that it demonstrates the strength of Japan-U.S. ties to the people of our countries and the wider world. It was also highly significant in the sense that Japan and the United States, as well as Japan, the United States, and the ROK, will continue to closely cooperate and respond to the situation.

REPORTER: Apparently the two leaders agreed to hold a “2+2” meeting  (Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee meeting) as soon as possible, so when is it anticipated that such a meeting will be held?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Arrangements are being made to hold the “2+2” meeting as soon as possible.

REPORTER: In the telephone talks it was also confirmed that China will be requested to cooperate in this matter, so in what specific ways will the Government be seeking to call on China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China is the country with the greatest influence on North Korea and as it recently announced that it would stop imports of coal from North Korea, the Government hopes that China will cooperate by moving to implement such economic measures. In any event, we seek to create international mechanisms that are capable of responding to the situation, including cooperation among Japan, the United States and the ROK, as well as China, Russia, and other countries.

REPORTER: I believe that in the telephone talks, the Prime Minister referred to reports by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that ballistic missile training has been implemented by the artillery units  that would be tasked with striking U.S. bases in Japan in a “contingency. ” What was discussed in the telephone talks about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The United States is naturally aware of this matter, as it was actually broadcast by North Korean media that Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army , which are tasked with striking U.S. bases in Japan in what North Korea would consider to be a contingency, participated in the launch exercise. In any event, Japan will continue to respond to North Korea while maintaining Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation. Due to their nature, I would like to refrain from discussing the details of the summit telephone talks.

REPORTER: I believe that this is the first time for North Korea to express an intention to attack U.S. bases in Japan. Does the Government consider that this expression of intent indicates not only that their missile technology development has advanced, but also the level of threat to Japan has increased?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, in light of various developments, including the fact that North Korea launched four missiles almost simultaneously on this occasion, it is only natural that we must respond thoroughly to ensure that Japan’s missile defense systems continue to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people .

REPORTER: The Trump administration has previously indicated its position that with regard to North Korea, “all options are on the table,”  and the Prime Minister himself has also noted that the Trump administration will take a harder stance against North Korea. In the summit telephone talks, did President Trump refer to any specific options, including the use of force?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, President Trump stated that the United States is with Japan 100% and that Japan can have complete confidence in him and the United States, requesting that these comments be conveyed to the people of Japan. This demonstrates just how closely Japan and the United States are cooperating in response to such provocations by North Korea.

REPORTER: I believe that the UNSC is discussing the response to the latest missile launch, so what kind of response does the Government consider to be necessary, and will it include measures such as new UNSC sanctions against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, following the launch, Japan, the United States, and the ROK issued a request to the United Kingdom, which currently holds the presidency of the UNSC, to convene an emergency meeting. The United Kingdom is currently in the process of arranging this meeting.

REPORTER: Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis  has stated that four missiles had landed, but more may have been launched and that the Pentagon would not comment on those. It is being reported in the U.S. press that five missiles were launched, so does the Government have any information about the facts behind these stories?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is the Government’s understanding that four missiles were launched. I am also aware of the press reports that you mentioned.


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