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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 5, 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 believe Mr. Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia , is visiting the office of the Prime Minister and is holding talks with the Prime Minister. Could you tell us what matters are being discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the Prime Minister is to receive a courtesy call today, but I have not yet heard about the details.

REPORTER: So are we to understand that a meeting is being held with the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat, is also scheduled to attend the meeting.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-Russia summit meeting that is scheduled to take place in Vladivostok. Prime Minister Abe held a telephone talk with President Putin on the evening of September 3, the day on which North Korea conducted its nuclear test, noting that a new United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution is essential, and calling on Russia for its cooperation. At the summit meeting to be held in two days’ time, what sort of cooperation will the Prime Minister be seeking from the Russian side exactly?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on the evening of September 3, Prime Minister Abe held a telephone talk with President Putin, in which the two leaders shared recognition of the severe current situation, namely, reckless actions by North Korea pose a serious threat . In the telephone talk the leaders also agreed to continue discussions on North Korea-related issues at the upcoming Japan-Russia summit meeting in Vladivostok. Although I would like to refrain from making any speculative comment about what will be discussed at the summit meeting, I would imagine that the leaders will engage in an extremely frank exchange of views based on the recent situation in North Korea, about what Japan and Russia and the international community should do to urge North Korea to change its policies.

REPORTER: With regard to North Korea, in last night’s U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit telephone talk it was agreed to lift restrictions on the ROK’s missile payload capabilities  on ballistic missiles possessed by the ROK military. What is the view of the Government on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As Japan is not directly involved in military activities and measures between the United States and the ROK I would like to refrain from making any comment on behalf of the Government. I would add that it goes without saying that a strong deterrence capability under the Japan-U.S. Alliance and the U.S-ROK Alliance is essential in order to ensure the defense of Japan and the peace and security of the region. We will continue to respond by steadily advancing Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, including in the area of security, so that we are able to respond to any situation.

REPORTER: Two full days have now passed since the nuclear test by North Korea. During that time has the Government received any reports about the detection of abnormal radiation readings in Japan and if so could you please elaborate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is monitoring radiation levels in coordination with the agencies concerned in order to assess if there has been any impact from radiation on Japan. I have received a report that as of now, no abnormal changes have been recorded at any monitoring stations in Japan. Neither has radiation of man-made origin been detected in any of the samples of atmospheric floating dust or rainwater collected on land or in the skies above Japan’s territorial waters. In any event, the Government will continue to engage in monitoring for some time.


REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Yesterday and today cultural experience tours for the general public have been carried out on a trial basis at the Kyoto State Guest House, with visitors being able to experience the same hospitality afforded to state guests, including demonstrations of “Noh” play and the tea ceremony. As part of the Government’s tourism promotion initiatives the Kyoto State Guest House is already open all year to visitors, so can you tell us once again the aim of making the Kyoto State Guest House open to the public?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Kyoto State Guest House and also the Akasaka State Guest House are very important buildings in Japan. We believe that opening these tremendously symbolic facilities to the general public and to overseas visitors coming to Japan as tourists, where they can experience and appreciate Japan’s history and culture, will be one means  of realizing the creation of a tourism-oriented nation. We have also engaged in various considerations about how to make public viewing of these facilities more appealing, and the cultural experience tours that were implemented on a trial basis at the Kyoto State Guest House yesterday and today are a part of these considerations. By implementing guided tours where visitors can experience “Noh” and the tea ceremony we hope to ensure that these facilities become well established as tourist attractions. We will continue to consider various methods for enhancing the appeal of these facilities.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Government is also apparently considering using the Kyoto State Guest House as a venue for international conferences and other MICE (Meeting, Incentive travel, Convention, Event/Exhibition). You have already mentioned the increase in inbound visitors to Japan and I believe that the Government is keen to promote MICE, so what efforts will be made in this area in the future, including the utilization of Government facilities such as the Kyoto State Guest House?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the holding of MICE-related events, not only will such events provide a major opportunity for people to travel to Japan, they are also expected to have a significant positive impact on local economies. They are therefore an extremely important part of Japan’s tourism strategy. Given the extremely fierce competition in the MICE field in Asia, it is the Government’s hope that we can work together with industries and academia to bring events to Japan and that utilizing Government facilities such as the Akasaka and Kyoto State Guest Houses will further increase the appeal of holding international events in Japan and provide a major boost to promotion efforts.

REPORTER: Yesterday, September 4, a senior official of the Ministry of National Defense of the ROK reported at its parliament that there are signs North Korea is preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile towards the northern Pacific Ocean. In this report it is suggested that this launch will not be a lofted trajectory, as has been the case to date, but will be a nominal trajectory launch into the Pacific Ocean. What information does the Government have about this report and what is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are not aware of this matter.

REPORTER: So the Government does not know about this information? It has been in the news since yesterday.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Various matters are being reported, but there is nothing that the Government is aware of concerning this matter.

REPORTER: You were interviewed by Shinsou News, a program on a channel affiliated with the Nippon Television Network. With regard to a comment made by Minister of Defense Onodera that if North Korea were to attack Guam there is a possibility that this could be classified as “an armed attack against a foreign country resulting in threatening Japan’s survival,” you responded that currently the Government has not yet determined whether this would be the case or not. Given that U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis has stated that the United States is not looking to the total annihilation  of North Korea but has many options, if an attack on Guam were to take place, what is the Government’s current view on whether the Self-Defense Forces would join the United States in responding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have frequently stated, that all depends on whether the three new conditions on the use of force  are met.

REPORTER: It is being reported in the ROK that the Minister of National Defense has stated that the ROK should redeploy tactical nuclear weapons. Given the current situation in which North Korea is arming itself with nuclear weapons and conducting nuclear tests, can we assume based on your statements that the Government of Japan has absolutely no plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I suggest that you direct questions regarding the ROK to the ROK. Our stance is already clear on this matter.

REPORTER: Press reports suggest that China and Russia are very reluctant to impose new sanctions on North Korea, and given that there are plans for a Japan-Russia summit meeting and that Prime Minister Abe has engaged frequently in summit-level talks with the leaders of the United States and the ROK, could you tell us if there are any plans for meetings with China, either at the summit level or the senior official level?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are engaged in meetings through various channels.

REPORTER: It is said that the leadership of China has the strongest channels of communication with North Korea. Are we to understand that the Government is envisioning a meeting with the Chinese leadership on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are already engaging in minister-level meetings.

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