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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 10, 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: I have a question concerning the United States' policy towards North Korea. A carrier strike group headed by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has reportedly changed its planned course and is heading northward for the Western Pacific towards seas near the Korean Peninsula. The view is that the United States aims to put pressure on North Korea. Can I ask if the Government of Japan is aware of the facts behind these reports, as well as if any kind of explanation, via telephone talks or other means, has been provided by the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting about specific interactions at the leader level. In any event, against a backdrop where the regional security environment is increasing in severity, it is important to ensure the deterrent of the United States. The Government seeks to further enhance the deterrent and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.


REPORTER: I have a related question. With regard to the United States' policy towards North Korea, Secretary of State Tillerson has taken a posture of strongly curbing North Korea, referring to the recent strike on Syria and stating that if a country violates international norms and agreements and becomes a threat to others, at some point a response is likely to be taken. Including the reported deployment of the carrier strike group, the Trump administration is clearly stepping up pressure on North Korea in comparison to the previous Obama administration. Can I ask for the view of the Government of Japan on the series of moves by the United States to increase pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is a matter that concerns considerations within the U.S. administration the Government would like to refrain from responding. The United States has indicated that all options are on the table, and I believe that is what it comes down to. The Government of Japan values such a stance.

REPORTER: A related question. With the United States clearly stepping up pressure, what is the Government's analysis of the possibility that North Korea will recognize a heightened level of threat and further accelerate its nuclear and missile development programs?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government's stated position is that North Korea's nuclear and missile development has entered a new stage of threat. Therefore the Government is constantly striving to gather and analyze information about developments in North Korea with serious concern. I would like to refrain from making any comment about specific details and analysis due to the nature of the matter.

REPORTER: A follow-up question. We have received an explanation that the issue of North Korea was discussed in the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk yesterday. Is it your impression that the United States' sense of urgency and tension surrounding North Korea is now far higher than was the case previously?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting about the details of the summit-level telephone talk.

REPORTER: A related question. I understand that in the summit telephone talk the leaders also exchanged views regarding China. Based on the recent U.S.-China summit meeting, what is the view of the Government of Japan about the kind of role the United States is requesting China should play?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, at the recent U.S.-China summit meeting the United States made its position clear that it will call on China to play a greater role in efforts towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Japan has stated publicly that it supports this stance. In any event, in order to resolve the various outstanding issues of concern with regard to North Korea, the Government will address the issues in close cooperation with countries concerned, including the United States, China and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

REPORTER: My question is in connection with the recent Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk. President Trump sought understanding once again for the recent strike by the United States on Syria. However, I understand that there was no discussion of the basis in international law for the strike. Are the relevant authorities in Japan and the United States engaged in proper discussions concerning the basis in international law for the strike?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the basis in international law, as Japan is not involved in military operations we are listening to the views of the United States. I am aware that in yesterday's telephone talk with President Trump there was no explanation about such matters.

REPORTER: Although Japan is not involved in military operations, the recent strike on Syria has attracted criticism from some countries, including Russia, which claim that the strike is in violation of international law. What is the Government's view on the necessity for the United States to explain the basis in international law for the strike in order to gain greater international understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that both Western countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia, and also Middle East countries, including Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, have voiced support for the response taken by the United States. This matter is also scheduled to be discussed by the G7 members and also in the forum of the United Nations Security Council and Japan therefore seeks to address this issue in cooperation with the international community in this context.

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