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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 18, 2017 (PM)

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 about the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence. I believe that views were exchanged about the North Korean situation. Can you tell us the Government's evaluation of the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today from 1:35 p.m. for approximately 95 minutes, Prime Minister Abe received a courtesy call from Vice President Pence of the United States. Firstly, Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence shared the recognition that North Korea's nuclear and missile development has reached a new threat level, and that close cooperation between Japan and the United States is essential for dealing with North Korea. Secondly, it was confirmed that the role of China is important and that it is necessary to call on China to play an even greater role. Prime Minister Abe also reiterated Japan's support for the firm stance of the United States of keeping all options on the table and noted that the abductions issue is a top priority for the Abe administration. The Prime Minister and the Vice President confirmed that Japan and the United States will continue to cooperate towards an early solution of this issue. This meeting provided an opportunity for Japan and the United States to coordinate policy on North Korea at a very high level and it also sent out a clear message to the world that the robust bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance is unwavering.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The main purpose of the Vice President's visit to Japan is to engage in economic dialogue. Could you tell us about the significance of consultations between the Prime Minister and the Vice President about the increasingly tense North Korean situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just noted the two Governments were able to coordinate policy on North Korea at an extremely high level and in that sense, therefore, the meeting was extremely significant.


REPORTER: You have just mentioned expectations for China to play a larger role. Given that China has already prohibited imports of coal from North Korea, is it the Government's expectation that China will move to exert further economic pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly I have previously stated that China has an extremely significant role to play, given that China accounts for 90 percent of North Korea's trade and also has various other relations with the country. Given this situation, in today's meeting it was confirmed that Japan and the United States will call on China to take a larger role towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Japan will continue to work with the United States and other countries concerned in responding to issues relating to North Korea.

REPORTER: It appears that the United States' missile strike on Syria came up in the meeting. Does the Government of Japan consider that the missile strike on Syria will provide a certain degree of deterrence to actions by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from making any speculative comment about the impact the response to Syria may have on the situation in North Korea. I would add that the threat posed by the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical weapons, is not limited to Syria, but also extends to North Korea and East Asia.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue. In comparison to security policy, Japan-U.S. cooperation on economic policy faces challenges, including the stated aim of the Trump administration to reduce the United States' trade deficit with Japan. Could you tell us what kind of economic relationship Japan is seeking to build with the United States through this economic dialogue with Vice President Pence and also about the significance of the dialogue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is my understanding that Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence will be discussing various matters, including trade and investment rules. In any event, a press conference will be held after the conclusion of the dialogue, and I suggest you ask your question there.

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