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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 22, 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 Chief Representative Yamaguchi of Komeito was here a short while ago to discuss his visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK). What are your expectations for his visit to the ROK if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Chief Representative Yamaguchi will visit the ROK from November 22 to 25. I understand that the details of his itinerary are currently being arranged. The Government hopes that significant exchanges of views take place with a view to developing a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship.

REPORTER: Earlier this month a cargo ship suspected to have made a port call in North Korea entered the Port of Chiba. Under its own sanctions the Government of Japan bans ships that have visited North Korea from entering Japanese ports. Can you please share your comment on this matter? In addition, Chairperson Okonogi of the National Public Safety Commission has stated that measures would be implemented swiftly to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents. Can you please discuss the progress of these measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, let me provide the information regarding the situation. On October 27, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) confirmed the last 10 ports that this ship had visited, in accordance with the Law for the Security of Ships and of Port Facilities. At that time it was not confirmed that the ship had previously made a port call in North Korea. Then on the 3rd of this month, the ship entered the Port of Chiba. Later, on November 12, the Water Police Unit of Chiba Prefecture visited the anchored ship as part of its visitation activities. Based on the statements and actions of the crew members as well as the documents that were presented, it became known that the ship may have entered port in North Korea in January and February of this year. Because internal communications within the police were not conducted properly, the ship departed the Port of Chiba on the following day, the 13th, without necessary verification being conducted of the facts and without informing the agencies concerned such as the JCG. As part of its own measures, the Government of Japan bans the entry into Japanese ports of foreign vessels that are confirmed to have made port calls in North Korea on or after February 19, 2016, in accordance with the Act on Special Measures concerning Prohibition of Entry of Specified Ships into Ports. As the latest incident is in conflict with this law, it is absolutely intolerable that such an incident occurred while the Government is strengthening pressure on North Korea in collaboration with the international community. Given the need to conduct thorough studies and take measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents, I held a meeting of the directors-general of relevant ministries and agencies on the 17th, upon being briefed about this incident, in order to share information and to discuss measures to prevent recurrences. We have put in place mechanisms to take all possible measures to ensure that these incidents will never happen again.

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