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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 27, 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 would like to ask about the safeguard (emergency import restriction) on U.S. beef. Because imports of frozen beef from the United States and other countries have exceeded the specified level, it’s been reported that the Government is expected to introduce the safeguard from August 1. Is my understanding correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Under the emergency tariff measure for beef, if beef imports exceed the standard volume that is set each quarter, then a 50% tariff instead of the current 38.5% tariff is applied automatically pursuant to the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in accordance with the provisions of the Act on Temporary Measures concerning Customs. However, we will not know whether the volume of frozen beef imports exceeds the standard volume for the first quarter until the Ministry of Finance announces the trade statistics on July 28. Therefore, I should refrain from making a comment based on speculation at this moment in time.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Japanese nationals being detained in China. The Chinese newspaper the Global Times has reported that two Japanese nationals are suspected of violating the Counterespionage Law. Can you please tell us the facts that the Government is aware of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated this morning, we are in contact as necessary with the Chinese authorities. There are Japanese nationals who are still being detained. When considering that fact, I should refrain from commenting on the details of the matter. In any case, we view that protecting Japanese nationals is a top priority and responsibility of the Government, and we will thus continue to make our utmost efforts to secure the release of the Japanese nationals who are still detained as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: I have a related question. If the Chinese reports are true, do you expect a prolonged detainment of the remaining Japanese nationals?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the present time four of the six Japanese nationals have already returned to Japan.

REPORTER: There are concerns that North Korea will undertake new provocative acts. Both Prime Minister Abe and you state constantly, on a day to day basis, that the abduction issue is a top priority of the Abe administration. The approval rating is falling, and a cabinet reshuffle is scheduled to take place. Under these circumstances, so long as the resolution of the abduction issue is positioned as a top priority of the administration, I believe the affected families as well as the Japanese people supporting the Abe administration will not be convinced unless the administration produces visible results. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the abduction issue is a top priority of the Abe administration. It is deeply painful that many abductees have still not returned to Japan. With many years having passed since the abductions were carried out by North Korea, we have no more time to lose. Based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action,” Japan will continue to demand the fulfillment of the Stockholm Agreement to North Korea, and devote every effort to realizing the return of all the abductees as quickly as possible.

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