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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 20, 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 the United Nations General Assembly. In his address, President Trump strongly condemned North Korea, while mentioning the issue of the abductions of Japanese citizens. How does the Government of Japan evaluate his statements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On the 19th, President Trump made an address that covered a wide range of international issues, including North Korea and Iran. Regarding North Korea, while reconfirming the basic policy of making North Korea change its policies and seeking the denuclearization of North Korea, he strongly called upon the international community, including China and Russia, to cooperate in increasing pressure on North Korea. The Government of Japan highly values these points. President Trump also referred to the abductions issue, and once again demonstrated his stance towards resolving the outstanding issues of concern relating to North Korea, which we consider extremely important. Japan will continue coordinating closely with related countries, including the United States, strengthen pressure against North Korea, and strongly demand concrete actions towards the resolution of the outstanding issues of concern relating to North Korea, such as abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.

REPORTER: I have a related question. An address by the Prime Minister is also planned. Will the Prime Minister also seek the cooperation of each country in strengthening pressure against North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, although the Prime Minister’s address has not yet occurred, in principle, Japan believes that we must increase pressure on North Korea and make it change its policies through the strength of the international community is fundamental. This has been our stance to date.

REPORTER: During President Trump’s address, regarding the affairs of the Korean Peninsula, the President warned that if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, it would have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea, and appealed for the united pressure of the international community. Until now, the Government has supported the United States’ stance of keeping all options on the table, but do you also support this option of destroying North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comments based on conjecture about the actions of the United States. That said, it goes without saying that the robust deterrence of the U.S.-Japan Alliance is necessary to defend our country and ensure the peace and safety of the region. From that perspective, we highly value President Trump’s announcement of the United States’ position to keep all options on the table, and in the field of national security, we will continue to advance Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation. In any case, Japan and the United States are closely communicating and cooperating at a wide range of levels, including between our leaders, and thoroughly aligning our policies in response to North Korea.


REPORTER: It was also mentioned in the opening question, but in President Trump’s address, he stated, “We know [North Korea] kidnapped a sweet 13-year-old Japanese girl from a beach in her own country, to enslave her as a language tutor for North Korea's spies. ” The Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN) is welcoming the statement as highly significant, and I apologize for the repeated question, but could you please share your opinion regarding the significance of President Trump’s statement on the issue of the abductions of Japanese citizens?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We highly value the fact that President Trump has stated once again the United States’ position of addressing the outstanding issues of concern relating to North Korea, including the abductions issue, while referring to a Japanese girl believed to be Ms. Megumi Yokota. The abductions issue is one of the most important issues of the Abe administration. Based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action,” the Government will continue to demand that North Korea fulfill the Stockholm Agreement, and make every effort to realize the return of all the abductees as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. A preemptive strike on North Korea has been considered difficult due to the concern of a strike on Seoul by North Korea using weapons such as long-range artillery. On the 18th, however, Defense Secretary Mattis revealed to a press conference that military options existed which would not result in a grave crisis from a retaliation by North Korea. While Secretary Mattis refrained from discussing strategic details, has the United States shared the details of the military option with the Government of Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the statement made by Secretary of Defense Mattis. I would like to refrain, however, from commenting on individual policies under consideration by the U.S. administration. In any case, in light of North Korea’s recent sixth nuclear test and repeated ballistic missile launches, Japan will continue to closely monitor the state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula, including North Korea’s military movements, with grave concern, and make all necessary preparations.


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