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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 13, 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 about comments made by President Trump of the United States relating to North Korea. In the press conference following the Japan-U.S. summit meeting on November 6 the President stated that the era of strategic patience is over  and indicated his agreement with Japan’s  position of placing maximum pressure on North Korea. However, yesterday the President tweeted that he could become friends with Kim Jong-un, and appears to have softened his stance following summit meetings with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China. What is your view of this  change in the  President’s statements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on the occasion of President Trump’s visit to Japan the Prime Minister had lengthy, in-depth discussions with the President about the issue of North Korea and the two leaders confirmed that Japan and the United States will work with the international community, using all means to intensify pressure on North Korea to the maximum extent so that it changes its policies. The Government considers that the discussions in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting have also been reflected in the outcomes of the U.S.-ROK and U.S.-China summit meetings. President Trump’s visit to Japan and to Asia has been of the greatest significance in that sense. The Government will continue to advance Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, while also working together with China, Russia and other countries concerned to intensify pressure on North Korea.

REPORTER: Is it the Government’s recognition that there has not been any change in the U.S.’s basic position, which was confirmed with the Government of Japan, of continuing to advance close Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation to maximize pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is our understanding. It is also important to advance close cooperation with other countries concerned, including China and Russia.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister held a summit meeting with President Xi of China and is also expected to hold another summit meeting with Premier Li Keqiang. You noted in this morning’s press conference that it is unprecedented for a Japanese Prime Minister to hold meetings with both the President and Premier of the State Council of China in succession. What is your view on the factors that have led to these moves to improve Japan-China relations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I noted this morning, the summit meeting took place immediately after the National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the general election for the House of Representatives in Japan, at a time when both Japan and China have strengthened their leadership further. Both leaders confirmed that the summit meeting marked a new start and that they would continue to communicate going forward. The Government would like to refrain from making any comment about the background to these developments. In any event, based on the outcomes of the summit meeting and in view of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China next year, we would like to press forward with efforts to improve our relations. From 5:00 p.m., Japan time, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with Premier Li Keqiang in Manila. The Government expects that this meeting will be a fruitful one like  the summit meeting with President Xi.

REPORTER: What is the outlook for a Japan-China-ROK trilateral summit meeting that the Government has been seeking to hold?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any specific comments prior to the summit meeting with Premier Li, but suffice it to say that in the summit meeting with President Xi it was confirmed that the meeting marked a new start and that the leaders would engage in communications to advance Japan-China relations. I expect that the summit meeting with Premier Li will be in a similar vein.


REPORTER: I understand that after the Cabinet meeting on Friday last week, you called together Defense Minister Onodera, Foreign Minister Kono and Director-General Okamoto of the Budget Bureau  of the Ministry of Finance and gave instructions to work on a framework similar to official development assistance (ODA) relating to arms exports and defense equipment transfer. Apparently the reason for creating this financial assistance framework is because the Government is eager to provide secondhand defense equipment and arms to Malaysia and other emerging economies. As you know, under the existing system, ODA can only be used for the purpose of assisting economic development and not for arms exports. It is believed that creating such a framework would make it possible to promote arms and defense equipment exports. Some people have pointed out that there is no public consensus for the export of nuclear energy technologies, let alone for the export of arms and defense equipment transfer, which would involve the injection of taxpayers’ money. Could you tell us for what purpose you gave these instructions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth to the reports and the matter you raised in your question. I have not given any instructions.

REPORTER: With regard to defense equipment transfer, since the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology  were adopted in April 2014, the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA)  has been considering various assistance programs relating to defense equipment transfer and arms exports. In these discussions it has been proposed that such an ODA-type financial development assistance should be extended to developing countries too, as a form of assistance. Does the Government believe it is necessary to provide financial assistance to developing countries so that they can purchase arms and defense equipment, which has previously not been permitted under ODA policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have never issued instructions. That is all there is to say on the matter.


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