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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 9, 2017 (AM)

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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 a question related to the Osprey accident in Australia. In yesterday's press conference, you stated the Government has requested that the U.S. Forces refrain from Osprey flights except as operationally necessary, but on the same day Defense Minister Onodera stated to the media corps that a request was made to refrain from making any flights without any such conditions as you have mentioned. Could you please confirm the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have reconfirmed the matters relating to the point you have mentioned. The statement I made yesterday was made based on a report I received from the Ministry of Defense via the private secretary of the Minister of Defense. In this report, the private secretary confused the request made by the Minister of Defense to the U.S. side to refrain from Osprey flights, and the separate explanation made by the U.S. side to the Minister of Defense following the flight of an Osprey on August 7 that this was Osprey flight operationally necessary. The Minister of Defense made a request to the U.S. that it refrain from all flights within Japan, without the condition of excluding operationally necessary flights.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Is it decided whether Osprey flights will take place in the joint exercises to be held in Hokkaido from August 10?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Ministry of Defense has reported to me that it has requested the U.S. side to refrain from Osprey flights and that, based on this, it is coordinating with the U.S. side regarding whether or not Osprey will participate in the exercises.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Even after the request for refraining from flights was made, Ospreys continue to fly in Okinawa. Has the Government made any renewed efforts with the U.S. side regarding this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Out of consideration for our U.S. counterparts, I would like to refrain from commenting. However, I would say that the Government continues to strongly request the U.S. side to give maximum consideration to safety.


REPORTER: I have a question about developments in the United States. Yesterday, U.S. time, President Trump warned North Korea that if it continues to threaten the United States, it “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Furthermore, the Washington Post reported on July 28 that according to the information of intelligence officials, North Korea has succeeded in developing a miniaturized a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. I would like to ask if the Government of Japan is aware of any drastic changes in various aspects related to North Korea.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am aware that President Trump made such a statement. As the regional security environment continues to grow increasingly severe, I believe that ensuring the deterrence of the United States is of the utmost importance to Japan. From that viewpoint, the United States has stated that all options are on the table. The Government of Japan has stated that it values this stance. It is extremely important that we further enhance the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and that we continue to promote Japan-U.S. cooperation, including in relation to security. Furthermore, regarding the issue of North Korea's miniaturization of nuclear warheads, Japan is continuously gathering information and carrying out analysis on developments related to North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles with the gravest concern. Given the nature of the issue, I have refrained from making comments on individual details and analysis. We will continue to cooperate closely with other countries, including the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative acts and comply with the U.N. Security Council resolutions. The greatest duty of the Government is to protect the lives and peaceful daily lives of the people. With this as our duty, we have been gathering information and carrying out surveillance with a sense of urgency in order to respond to any circumstances, and are fully prepared to ensure the peace and safety of Japan.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I understand that you cannot comment on concrete matters, but as reported by the Washington Post, according to a report dated July 28, North Korea has recently made some major advances related to its nuclear weapons. Do you believe this view is valid?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan, as I have just stated, is continuously gathering information and conducting analysis with the gravest sense of concern. I would like to refrain from statements on practical matters.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Minister Ezaki. In a press conference yesterday, Minister Ezaki stated that the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement must be revised slightly further. Afterwards, Minister Ezaki explained that his statement was in line with the policy of the Government. How do you view the fact that a cabinet minister has made a statement regarding a revision of the agreement when the Government has not expressed any such policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding this point, Minister Ezaki made an explanation in Okinawa after making his statement. It is as Minister Ezaki has explained. His views do not differ from that of the Government.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Regarding the major earthquake in Sichuan Province last night, is any information available on whether any Japanese nationals are among the victims?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this moment, we have not received any information that Japanese nationals are among the victims. We are currently continuing to gather information through the Embassy of Japan in China and the Consulate-General of Japan in Chongqing. I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathies to the victims, and my prayers that as many people as possible are rescued as soon as possible.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about the decision by a regional court in the ROK to issue a compensation order against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Former volunteer corps members filed a claim for compensation that they were mobilized to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries towards the end of World War II, and yesterday a regional court in the ROK issued a decision ordering the company to pay approximately 12 million yen in compensation. How does the Government view this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is a case under trial involving a private Japanese company, the Government would like to refrain from commenting. However, what I would say is that issues of property and claim rights between Japan and the ROK have been settled completely and finally by the Claims Settlement and Economic Co-operation Agreement between Japan and the ROK. The Government will continue to maintain contact with Japanese corporations and respond appropriately based on the aforementioned position.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There have recently been several cases of compensation orders being made against Japanese corporations in the ROK. Does the Government have any concrete measures have addressing this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Issues of property and claim rights between Japan and the ROK, as I have just stated, have been completely settled. We have therefore been protesting to the Government of the ROK at various levels through diplomatic channels and will continue to respond firmly going forward.


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