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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 29, 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 regarding the missile launched by North Korea this morning. It is presumed that the missile was the Hwasong-15, a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that puts the entire U.S. mainland within range. What is the view of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are certainly aware that North Korea made that announcement. With regard to the details of today’s ballistic missile launch, we are continuing to carry out comprehensive and expert analysis based on the necessary information, and at this point in time I would like to refrain from making definitive comments.

REPORTER: Some in the United States are stating that North Korea’s announcement is true and are advocating for preemptive attack. What role do you think Japan should play to avoid a military confrontation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the telephone talks between the leaders, it was affirmed that the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions will be fully implemented, and that China and Russia, as well as Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will play a central role in putting pressure on North Korea.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the missile launch. I believe the Prime Minister arrived at the Prime Minister’s Office this morning at around 6 am, about three hours after the missile was launched. Why did it take such a long time? Why was the Prime Minister not at the Official Residence sooner?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister was at the Official Residence. I got to the Prime Minister’s Office at about 3:40 am. The Prime Minister had issued instructions, and they are being carried out in coordination with the Prime Minister.

REPORTER: While today’s launch took place early in the morning at 3 am, there have been often cases where the Prime Minister arrives at the Prime Minister’s Office immediately after a launch. Can you tell us what the guidelines are regarding when the Prime Minister should arrive at the Prime Minister’s Office if a missile is launched before daybreak?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in principle the crisis management team is called. In addition to that, relevant ministers gather together and take responses. Through that process, we have the Prime Minister’s instructions, and they are implemented while communicating with and reporting to the Prime Minister. Today, the missile made a splashdown at around 4:11 am. We informed the Prime Minister that it would take time. Upon notifying the Prime Minister of the situation, it was already decided shortly after 4 am that a National Security Council meeting will be held with the Prime Minister from 6 am. Therefore, we had the Prime Minister come to the Prime Minister’s Office in time for the meeting.

REPORTER: I understand that Japan will hold the presidency of the UNSC next month in December. Are there advantages to being President or not? Furthermore, can you tell us how Japan would like to lead the discussions as President?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just stated, Japan will hold the presidency in December. I believe, since this is the presidency, there would be great advantages. In this capacity we hope to lead the international community’s efforts related to the issues of North Korea. Additionally, we will steadily proceed with  consultations with relevant countries regarding measures for enhancing pressure on North Korea, including implementation of relevant UNSC resolutions. As the President, we will also take the lead on human rights issues for the swift resolution of the abduction issue.


REPORTER: The partial relocation of U.S. carrier-based aircraft from Atsugi to Iwakuni was conducted on the 28th. What is your outlook for their complete relocation? Also, what are your thoughts regarding the impact that the complete relocation would have on noise reduction around Naval Air Facility Atsugi (NAFA)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as for future relocation plans, we are currently making arrangements with the United States for the relocation of the C2 units that was originally scheduled for around January 2018. In addition, two FA-18 units are scheduled to be relocated to Iwakuni in around May 2018. This relocation will significantly reduce the operation of jet fighters and other aircraft at NAFA. We expect that noise around the air facility will decrease considerably.

REPORTER: It seems that a wooden boat was discovered off the coast of Matsumae Town in Hokkaido this morning. What information does the Government have about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that the Japan Coast Guard is checking the site with the Hokkaido Prefectural Police , based on the notice issued by the Hokkaido Prefectural Police. I have been briefed that a detailed investigation cannot be performed at this time due to stormy weather around the site, but that it would be conducted as soon as the weather recovers.

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