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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 7, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(There was a statement on the overview of the Cabinet meeting.)

Yesterday, following the Japan-U.S. summit meeting, Prime Minister Abe announced the Government’s intention to impose additional measures against North Korea, and in today’s Cabinet meeting we approved the designation of an  additional nine entities and 26 individuals as subject to measures such as asset freeze . The issue of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development poses an unprecedented, grave and imminent threat.  North Korea has ignored repeated warnings from the international community and its repeated and extreme provocative actions are completely unacceptable. Neither has North Korea demonstrated any specific moves toward resolving the abductions issue, which is a top priority for the Abe administration. Japan will continue to strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions toward the resolution of outstanding matters of concern, including the nuclear and missile program issues and the abduction issue, our top priority issue, based on the consistent policy of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.” 


REPORTER: Could you tell us of the significance of the new measures by Japan against North Korea that you have just announced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has engaged in serious considerations about our response, closely examining North Korea’s reaction to the measures decided by Japan on August 25 and also the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution adopted in September. On September 3 North Korea went ahead with its sixth nuclear test, and on September 15 it launched a ballistic missile that passed over Japan’s airspace, following on from a previous launch in August that also overflew Japan. In addition to these, North Korea has engaged repeatedly in other provocative actions. Furthermore, no concrete progress has been made with regard to the abduction issue. It is against this backdrop and in view of the sanction measures announced by the Government of the United States on September 26, that we have decided to newly designate nine entities and 26 individuals subject to such measures as asset freeze, from the perspective that the opportunity provided by the visit of President Trump to Japan and solidarity between Japan and the United States will help to further increase pressure on North Korea.

REPORTER: President Trump has indicated that he will come to a decision in the near future on whether to re-designate North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. The Republic of Korea (ROK) is also reported to have expanded the scope of its own sanction measures against North Korea. What is your view on the significance of concerted efforts by countries to increase pressure on North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For the past approximately 20 years we have engaged in dialogue with North Korea, which has resulted in announcements on two occasions that it would abandon nuclear weapons and missiles, and yet the situation is still as it is today. It is against this backdrop that it is important for not only Japan, the United States, and the ROK, but also the international community as a whole, including China and Russia, to strengthen pressure on North Korea to change its policies.

REPORTER: With regard to the details of the entities that are newly designated as subject to asset freezes, are all nine entities North Korean companies, or do they include Chinese companies?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The entities and individuals that have been designated on this occasion are North Korean entities or individuals with addresses in China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Libya. All of them are North Korean.

REPORTER: Is it the case, therefore, that the 26 individuals are not only North Korean, but also include nationals of the countries you have just mentioned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: They are North Korean entities or individuals with addresses in those countries. Therefore, all of them are North Korean.

REPORTER: I have a question about President Trump’s visit to Japan. The series of events and meetings related to his visit ended yesterday. I believe that the visit resulted in a number of outcomes, centered on the North Korean situation, so could you tell us about the Government’s analysis of any challenges for Japan and the United States that remain outstanding following the summit meeting and other events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although the visit was a short one with two nights and three days, Prime Minister Abe and President Trump nevertheless spent a great deal of time with each other, enjoying a game of golf on the first day, which was followed by a working lunch and dinner, summit meeting, and a meeting with the families of individuals  abducted by North Korea on the second day. These events provided an excellent opportunity to further strengthen the strong personal relations of trust between the two leaders. In the summit meeting and other meetings, the two leaders engaged in extremely candid and in-depth discussions about future responses to the North Korea issue and confirmed that they are in total agreement. In addition, the meeting with the families of the abductees was also extremely important from the perspective of realizing a solution to the abduction issue as soon as possible, and helped to gain the further understanding and cooperation of President Trump on this issue. In the midst of an increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, a strong and unwavering Japan-U.S. Alliance is essential to protect the peace and prosperity of Japan and the region. The Government highly evaluates the President’s visit to Japan as having demonstrated clearly to Japan and the world the strong bond of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. At the same time, there are some areas of concern between our countries, including economic issues, for example. However, Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso have already created a framework to discuss such issues and we will work diligently to resolve such challenges through meetings on various levels.

REPORTER: President Trump is scheduled to hold a U.S.-ROK summit meeting with President Moon of the ROK today. What does the Government hope will be the major outcomes of this summit meeting in order to further strengthen Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The U.S.-ROK summit meeting is scheduled to take place today, and the Government considers that it is important for Japan, the United States, and the ROK to take the lead in international efforts to respond to the issue of North Korea. It would be very important for further deepening Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, if in the U.S.-ROK summit meeting the leaders engage in a candid exchange of opinions and coordinate their responses on the issue of North Korea.

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-U.S. relations. Golf diplomacy was a feature of the President’s visit on this occasion. Could you tell us whether any diplomatic records were made of the interactions between the two leaders while they were playing golf?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would ask that you direct your question to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I believe that I should refrain from commenting on individual cases. Speaking in general terms, it would normally be the case that records are kept of diplomatic interactions if such recordkeeping were deemed to be necessary. In any case, I would ask that you ask this question to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister himself noted that after the game of golf, the two leaders engaged in an in-depth conversation. I understand that you would like to speak in general terms, but could you tell us your view of whether it is basically necessary to keep  records of such interactions, which should be released in 30 years’ time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In general terms, if it is considered necessary to keep a record then I think that such a record be created.

REPORTER: I have a question about defense equipment. In yesterday’s press conference following the Japan-U.S. summit meeting, President Trump requested that Japan purchase large quantities of defense equipment from the United States. In response, Prime Minister Abe stated that Japan seeks to expand its defense equipment both quantitively and qualitatively. The Ministry of Defense has already announced its budget requests for the next fiscal year, so could you tell us whether the quantitative and qualitative expansion the Prime Minister referred to is incorporated within the framework of these budget requests or whether the Government intends to consider new purchases separately from the budget requests?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given the increasing severity of the security environment surrounding Japan, it is essential that we ensure sufficient defensive capabilities in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Concerning the Self-Defense Forces’ equipment, we are systematically acquiring equipment, including U.S.-made equipment, as an essential element of ensuring Japan's defense based on the National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program, and we will continue to steadily develop our defense capability. 

REPORTER: Returning to the issue of the additional sanction measures, will the Government be releasing the specific names and locations of the newly designated nine entities and 26 individuals?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is expected naturally.

REPORTER: Also, could you confirm whether the new measures will go into effect from today?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, we will be issuing a notification about the new measures and are advancing procedures to announce the names of the entities and individuals that are subject to asset freezes. Once the notification is issued, the measures will enter into immediate effect.

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