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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 7, 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 have a question concerning measures to counter electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. In this morning’s press conference you stated that the Government intends to consider measures to counter EMP attacks. Given the nature of this issue I would imagine that considerations will involve a number of ministries and agencies, so could you tell us specifically which organizations will be involved and what considerations will be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government seeks to consider Government-wide measures that would be necessary to minimize the impact on the public, in preparation for an EMP attack should one actually occur. In specific terms, the Office of Situations Response and Crisis Management in the Cabinet Secretariat, will take the lead in considering countermeasures, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense and other ministries and agencies that are responsible for critical infrastructure, including the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

REPORTER: The Ministry of Defense has appropriated 1.4 billion yen in next fiscal year’s budget requests for EMP research expenses. Will other ministries and agencies also be appropriating any EMP-related budgets?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the specific details. In any event, the Government will engage in thorough considerations with a view to minimizing the impact on the lives of the people.

REPORTER: When do you hope to reach a conclusion to the considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are seeking to reach a swift conclusion to such considerations. I would like to avoid disclosing any specific timeframe.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution relating to North Korea. The United States has submitted a new draft resolution to the UNSC members, which includes strict sanctions such as a total ban on the supply of oil to North Korea and the freezing of assets of Kim Jong-un. What is the Government’s evaluation of this draft resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Discussions on this matter have already begun in the UNSC and therefore the Government would like to refrain from commenting on the specific contents of the draft resolution, as doing so could compromise the discussions. I would add, however, that the Government considers it to be of the utmost importance for the UNSC to adopt a resolution that includes strict measures. We will continue to make every effort, working closely with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other UNSC members, as well as the Republic of Korea (ROK), and also maintaining communication with China and Russia.

REPORTER: In today’s Japan-ROK summit meeting Prime Minister Abe stated that pressure of a different dimension from the past would be placed on North Korea. With China and Russia seemingly reluctant to further strengthen pressure, will the Government seek to achieve the adoption of a resolution on sanctions that are stricter than ever before, or seek to achieve a resolution that is agreeable to China and Russia and could represent a message from the international community as a whole?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In today’s Japan-ROK summit meeting Prime Minister Abe stated that the international community as a whole has moved more quickly to strengthen pressure on North Korea since North Korea’s nuclear test on September 3. He also noted that it is necessary for Japan and the ROK, and Japan, the United States and the ROK to work together to make maximum use of the momentum that has gathered to place pressure on North Korea of a different dimension from the past. In any event, Japan, the United States and the ROK have already agreed that it is essential that the international community as a whole places maximum pressure on North Korea. Therefore, while continuing to work closely together, and also calling on China and Russia to play a further role, we will endeavor to achieve the early adoption of a new resolution that includes strict measures.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japan-Russia summit meeting. What is the Government’s outlook on whether President Putin can be prevailed upon to make a concrete response to strengthening pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the recent Japan-Russia summit telephone talk President Putin also expressed extremely severe opinions concerning the recent nuclear test. It is on that basis that I believe the Prime Minister will engage with President Putin, calling for the entire international community to apply strong pressure on North Korea to urge the country to change its policies and actions.

REPORTER: Special Advisor to the President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Mr. Katsuyuki Kawai, during his visit to New Delhi in India, recently stated that the time has come to give serious consideration to the possibility of the Self-Defense Forces possessing medium-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. What is the Government’s view of this comment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the details of the statement. As the person in question is not an official I would like to refrain from making any comment.

REPORTER: Just yesterday Diet member Mr. Shigeru Ishiba made a comment about the revision of the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, and there is this comment from Mr. Kawai. Such comments about strengthening Japan’s defense capabilities are being voiced quite a bit by LDP members. Does the Government welcome internal party discussions on this matter? What is your stance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given the reality in which North Korea is continuing to step up its provocations I think that it is only natural for various discussions to be taking place within the party.

REPORTER: If it is the case that the Government welcomes internal party discussions on this matter, is the Government at the stage of giving consideration to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, that is not the case.

REPORTER: Nagasaki Prefecture has announced that it will conduct public protection training exercises on November 22, based on a scenario in which a ballistic missile has been launched and has fallen in the prefecture. Could you comment on the significance of such training exercises against the backdrop of heightening tensions over North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Many ballistic missiles have continued to be launched this year without warning. It is important, therefore, for various training exercises to be implemented to ensure the safety and security of the public from such missile launches.


REPORTER: I have a question about the emergency landing of an Osprey aircraft of the U.S. Forces at Oita Airport. According to some media reports a U.S. Marines personnel has stated that they wish to have the aircraft in question take off at around 3:00 p.m. today for Iwakuni base to conduct a test flight. Can you share what the Government knows if anything?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not aware of these reports.

REPORTER: Does the Government intend to request the U.S. Forces to provide advance explanations in cases when Osprey aircraft are scheduled for takeoff?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, it is the case that the U.S. side engages in thorough equipment and safety checks prior to takeoff. The Government will continue to request the U.S. side to conduct full equipment and safety checks of its aircraft. To date the Government has supplied information to local governments concerned once such information has been received from the U.S. side and we will continue to respond appropriately with regard to this case too.

REPORTER: I have a question relating to a question that came up in this morning’s press conference. Although interest seems to be currently focused on North Korea’s weapons development and offensive capabilities, very little has been said about the current state of its defensive capabilities. With regard to the EMP attack that North Korea has spoken of, I have a simple question. If the reverse were to occur and North Korea was on the receiving end of an EMP attack, would this knock out North Korea’s capability to launch a missile counterattack? Could you tell us once again whether Japan, the United States and the ROK are fully aware of the latest state of North Korea’s defensive capabilities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is constantly making efforts to collect and analyze the necessary information concerning North Korea’s military developments. Due to the nature of the matter I would like to refrain from discussing specific items of information. We are thoroughly engaged in the collection and analysis of information.

REPORTER: With regard to North Korea, in budget requests for fiscal 2018 the Ministry of Defense has submitted its largest-ever budget request, exceeding 5.25 trillion yen. This request includes research and development expenses for two types of defensive missiles. The first is a high-velocity glide missile for remote islands defense, a land-based offensive-type missile that separates from its delivery rocket in the atmosphere and changes its trajectory, with a target range of several hundred kilometers. Research and development expenses of 7.7 billion yen have also been requested for improving the range of anti-ship missiles. I asked the same question yesterday, but I hear that in addition to consultations within the Ministry of Defense on such budget requests, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Prime Minister’s Office were also involved in consultations on this matter. A question has already been asked about offensive capacity missiles, so can I ask if, by including these research and development expenses in the budget request, the Government recognizes the necessity to actively advance the development of more offensive equipment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from responding to speculative and subjective questions. What I would say is that I would presume that the expenses you have mentioned have been included in the budget request because the Ministry of Defense considered them to be necessary. I suggest that you direct your question to the Ministry of Defense.

REPORTER: The subject of my question is whether or not the request was decided in consultation with the NSC and the Prime Minister’s Office. Are we to understand that the request was decided based on internal discussions within the Ministry of Defense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Your question appears to be based on your own subjective views. I would suggest that rather than being subjective you ask the Ministry of Defense about the facts. If considered necessary then it is only natural for a budget request to be submitted?

REPORTER: If it is the Ministry of Defense that has made this request, could you respond to the point on whether the Government also recognizes that missiles with offensive capability will be necessary in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I suggest that you direct your question to the Ministry of Defense as it was the ministry that submitted the request. The Government is making every effort to take responsibility for protecting the safety, security and peaceful daily lives of the people of Japan.


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