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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 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 have a question about the fatal vehicle accident caused by a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Yesterday, shortly after 5:00 a.m., one person was killed in a collision with a truck driven by a first-class private of the U.S. Marine Corps. Could you tell us about the Government’s response to this accident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on behalf of the Government, I would like to express my condolences for the person who died in this incident and extend sympathies to bereaved family members. It is extremely regrettable that this incident occurred, despite the Government’s repeated requests for measures to be implemented to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and for discipline to be thoroughly enforced. The Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have expressed their deepest regret to U.S. Forces Japan and the Embassy of the United States of America and have strongly requested that discipline be thoroughly enforced, that efforts be made to prevent recurrence of such incidents, and also that a sincere response be made to the deceased’s family members. H.E. Mr. William Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, has expressed his condolences, apologized and announced that the U.S. side will cooperate with the investigation and make utmost efforts to prevent a recurrence. In addition, a report has been received that the guidelines on conduct outside working hours, which U.S. Forces Japan has previously formulated as part of its efforts to enforce discipline, have been further strengthened as of yesterday. Until further notice, all U.S. service members in Okinawa are restricted to base and all U.S. service members are prohibited from consuming alcohol. Okinawa police have arrested the suspect and are conducting a full and stringent investigation. The Government will respond appropriately when the circumstances relating to the incident have been ascertained.

REPORTER: You have noted the guidelines on conduct outside working hours and the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol, but there is a possibility that in this accident the suspect was also violating regulations on the mandatory wearing of his uniform when driving an official vehicle. Will the Government also be making a protest or demanding an investigation about this aspect of the incident?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course, we will do so.

REPORTER: I have a question about developments in North Korea. President Xi Jinping of China has dispatched a special envoy to North Korea. Although it is not clear whether the envoy has met with Chairman Kim Jong-un, could you tell us the Government’s outlook for the envoy’s visit and whether you consider that it will help to relieve tensions relating to North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I do not think I should comment on behalf of the Government about interactions between other countries and regions, including those between China and North Korea. Suffice it to say that the Government considers that China has an extremely important role to play in dealing with North Korea, given that China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the chair of the Six-Party Talks process, and also North Korea’s largest trading partner, accounting for approximately 90 percent of all North Korean trade. Japan expects China to play a responsible and constructive role in efforts to make North Korea change its policies, and as was confirmed at the recent Japan-China summit meeting, we will continue to cooperate on issues relating to North Korea. In any event, it is the Government’s hope that China will play a responsible and constructive role.

REPORTER: Is information about the dispatch of the envoy being shared by China with other countries, such as the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting on diplomatic matters. I would add that at the recent Japan-China summit meeting the two leaders confirmed that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a shared goal of both Japan and China, and that efforts will be made to further deepen cooperation among Japan, China and the Republic of Korea on issues relating to North Korea.

REPORTER: According to some press reports the Government has started making arrangements for Foreign Minister Kono, not Prime Minister Abe, to attend the climate change summit that is scheduled to be held in Paris in December. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports and the current status of considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has been decided on the attendee to the summit from Japan. The Government recognizes that action on climate change is an important issue for the entire international community and we also place importance on the climate summit that is scheduled for December 12. The matter of who will attend the summit is currently being considered.

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