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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 11, 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 would like to ask about developments in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The United States seeks to adopt a new resolution on sanctions against North Korea on September 11. What is the Government’s outlook regarding the adoption of the resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware that the United States has expressed its intention to call a vote on the draft resolution on September 11, New York time. Currently, a wide range of deliberations are taking place among the member states of the UNSC. I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of the draft resolution or the way forward as doing so could compromise the discussions. In any case, the Government considers it essential to swiftly hold a vote on a new UNSC resolution containing strict measures. We will continue to work closely with UNSC member states, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the Republic of Korea (ROK), while also maintaining close communication with China and Russia.

REPORTER: Regarding the current state of negotiations, are closed-door negotiations taking place between the United States and China and Russia, which are wary about additional sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on the current status. That said, as the United States has expressed its intention to call for a vote on the draft resolution on September 11, I would surmise that such activities are taking place.

REPORTER: At dawn today, North Korea strongly warned the United States once again in a statement. How do you view the possibility of North Korea conducting a new military provocation if a new sanctions resolution is adopted?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from responding about North Korea’s intentions based on speculation. On that note, I would like to add that the Government is making continuous efforts to collect and analyze information on the developments related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles with serious concern. Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on the concrete details.

REPORTER: Regarding North Korea’s preparedness to conduct military provocations, it is expected that tensions over the situation in the Korean Peninsula will heighten further depending on the next act by North Korea. What is the Government’s response looking ahead to such acts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from answering hypothetical questions. In any case, the Government will always work closely with countries such as the United States and the ROK, and strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative acts and comply with the relevant UNSC resolutions. Additionally, it is the most important responsibility of the Government to protect and secure the lives, properties, and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. Based on this view, we are continuing to maintain our advanced monitoring and surveillance structure and are taking all possible measures to be able to respond to any circumstances.

REPORTER: On September 10, Defense Minister Onodera stated that the sixth nuclear test carried out by North Korea was 10 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and that it must be considered that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons. It is unprecedented for the Defense Minister to make a statement that affirms North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons. Can you please share the Government’s comment to this statement and its understanding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I believe there was nothing strange about Defense Minister Onodera’s statement based on what he explained before and after the statement. Allow me to explain. Taking into consideration that North Korea has carried out six nuclear tests until now, it is realistic to consider that North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program has made great strides, and that the country has a certain level of nuclear capability. Furthermore, based on that assumption, it is necessary for us to be even more prepared to protect the lives, properties, and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. The Minister made the statement to mean that the Ministry of Defense and Self-Defense Forces will secure Japan’s territorial land, waters, and airspace. Moreover, it goes without saying that the Government cannot accept North Korea being a nuclear-weapon state, and I believe the Defense Minister was giving a clear explanation of this in the television program. The Government will continue to cooperate with the international community to draw out concrete actions from North Korea towards its denuclearization.

REPORTER: Along with his statement on nuclear weapons, Minister Onodera expressed the viewpoint that North Korea will next conduct an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch. Does the Government share this view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the Defense Minister made clear that an advanced monitoring and surveillance structure is in place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to any situation. In that context, North Korea has consistently demonstrated an intent to continue rather than cease activities for the development of missiles. I believe it was under such circumstances that the Minister stated that all possible measures will be taken in response to a wide range of provocative acts, including the launch of a ballistic missile with ICBM-class range.

REPORTER: On the same topic of Defense Minister Onodera, the Defense Minister commented that he was doubtful about North Korea’s actual operationalization of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, the development of which the country mentioned on September 9 and 10. Prior to this, in a press conference you announced that the Government would begin full-scale considerations of countermeasures to protect Japan’s domestic information and communications systems from an EMP attack. Does this policy that you stated remain unchanged?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: To state the conclusion first, there is absolutely no change to the policy. I believe the Minister was expressing his impression that North Korea’s mention of an EMP attack came very suddenly. In any case, in preparation for the unlikely event that an EMP attack does occur, it goes without saying that the Government will make efforts to ensure minimal impact to the daily lives of the Japanese people. I stated that the whole Government will consider the necessary countermeasures. Against this backdrop, led by the Cabinet Secretariat, ministries and agencies with jurisdiction over critical infrastructure, including the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, are carrying out the necessary countermeasures, and a meeting was held among the ministries and agencies concerned on September 8.


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