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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 21, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
In his address at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Prime Minister Abe mentioned raising awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of the Government’s efforts relating to the SDGs, applications will be opened today for the “Japan SDGs Award” to recognize outstanding initiatives implemented by Japanese companies and organizations that contribute towards the realization of the SDGs. This award was established at the third meeting of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters in June this year with the aim of further encouraging SDG-related activities by companies and organizations, whose activities are already accelerating and expanding. We hope to receive many applications for this award from passionate people who seek to make Japan and the world a better place. For further details, please see the webpage of the SDGs Promotion Headquarters on the website of the Prime Minister’ s Office.


REPORTER: I have a question about the Prime Minister’s address at the UNGA. The Prime Minister devoted most of his speech to the response to North Korea. Could you tell us your evaluation of this speech and the purpose in focusing like that on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In his address at the UNGA, Prime Minister Abe stated that the issue of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development is a grave and urgent  threat and that what is needed to make North Korea change its policy is not dialogue, but pressure. He also stated that Japan will make all possible efforts to ensure the return of the abduction victims. He emphasized once again that what is needed now is action and the solidarity of the international community. I believe that the Prime Minister’s aim in making this speech was to reiterate his call to the international community for further unity and actions, and to underline that the Government will continue to take a leading role in diplomatic efforts on this issue to change North Korea’s policy.

REPORTER: Whether or not the effectiveness of sanctions against North Korea will increase is dependent on implementation by governments around the world, so do you think that international momentum to strengthen pressure on North Korea will rise following the UNGA meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution was adopted unanimously by all countries. It is of the utmost importance that all countries take responsibility in implementing the content of the resolution. The Government of Japan will continue to call for its implementation through such bodies as the North Korea Sanctions Committee of the UNSC.

REPORTER: The Japan-U.S. summit meeting and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting are scheduled to take place soon and it is anticipated that the issue of North Korea will be a major topic of both meetings. What will the Government be seeking to give the most priority to and confirm in these meetings?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the summit meetings have yet to take place I would like to refrain from speculating about the details of the meetings. I would add, however, that the Government expects that in both summit meetings the issue of North Korea will be discussed. It is expected that discussions will focus on three points. Firstly, confirmation of the understanding of the situation relating to North Korea. Secondly, based on the shared recognition that now is not the time for dialogue, but to strengthen pressure on North Korea, discussions will take place on strategy towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, discussions will take place on specific measures, including the full implementation of UNSC resolutions to increase pressure to a new and unprecedented level. In addition, I would imagine that consultations will also take place on Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK security and defense cooperation, from the perspective of protecting the safety and security of the people of the three countries.

REPORTER: What are your thoughts on how the Government will balance the abductions  issue, which the Abe administration has positioned as a top priority challenge, with current actions to focus on pressure rather than dialogue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has made every effort to respond to the abductions issue under a policy of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.” At the current point what is being contemplated is to make North Korea change its policies through the strengthening of pressure by the international community. While following that policy, given that the abductions issue is a top priority for Japan and the Abe administration, the Prime Minister is using the forum of summit meetings and other opportunities to explain the abductions issue to President Trump and request cooperation. In his address to the UNGA President Trump referred specifically to the abductions issue. The Government welcomes as highly significant the fact that the President of the United States made a statement to the world with Ms. Megumi Yokota in mind. It is through such forums and opportunities that we will continue to make efforts to resolve the abductions issue.

REPORTER: From what you have just said, it sounds as if the Government’s primary policy is to place pressure on North Korea, so does that imply that unless North Korea changes its policy no paths to dialogue will be opened?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I would like to refrain from responding to what is a hypothetical question, it is a fact that North Korea’s provocative actions have been escalating to date. Therefore, in terms of a response, I consider it to be of the utmost importance for the entire international community to place pressure on North Korea to compel it to change its policies.


REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe announced during his visit to the United States that Japan will host the World Assembly for Women (WAW!) in Tokyo in November. It is being reported that President Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka, Advisor to the President, will participate in the conference as a special guest, so has the Government extended an invitation to her? What is the likelihood that Ms. Trump will attend?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that nothing has been decided with regard to this matter at the current point.

REPORTER: The United States has indicated that military action against North Korea is one option. It has been noted that as North Korea persists in repeating provocative actions, so too does the possibility increase of the United States engaging in military action. In the event that the United States does implement a military strike, what are your thoughts on the cooperation and logistics support that Japan should provide and is discussion taking place on the specific actions that Japan should take in such a scenario?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government would like to refrain from making any comments based on conjecture about what the Government of the United States might be contemplating. We are constantly working closely with the United States and the ROK to call strongly on North Korea to refrain from provocative actions and comply fully with all relevant UNSC resolutions. The Government will continue to work with the United States and the ROK, maintaining an advanced surveillance and monitoring structure and taking all necessary responses with a sense of urgency so that we can respond to any situation.


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