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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 11, 2017 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on the Nobel Peace Prize. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which has engaged in actions to achieve the adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony held in Norway. Can I ask for a comment from the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although the activities of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization are different from the Government of Japan’s approach, we share the common goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. We welcome a growing public awareness and momentum in the international community towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation through this award. Over many years, the Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) have conveyed to the world the reality of the atomic bombings that they experienced in order to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. The Government would like to express once again its respect for their efforts. It is of great significance that representatives of the Hibakusha participated in the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony. Japan will persist in rebuilding trust between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, who face different security environments. We will continue advancing realistic and practical efforts also with the engagement of nuclear-weapons states. 

REPORTER: You have noted that representatives of Hibakusha participated in the ceremony and Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, herself a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, became the first Hibakusha to give a speech at a Nobel Prize ceremony, calling for nuclear weapons to be eliminated against the backdrop of rising nuclear tensions. What is your view of the content of Ms. Thurlow’s speech?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, although our approaches are different, we share the common goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. We, therefore, welcome an increase in awareness and momentum in the international community towards nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation through this award.

REPORTER: I have a question about the visit to North Korea by UN Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman. He has apparently agreed with North Korea to maintain regular communication on various levels. What is the Government’s assessment of this visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting as this matter concerns third-party interactions including those between the UN and North Korea. In any event, the Government is engaging in close communication with the UN Secretariat concerning developments in North Korea and we will continue to maintain close communication going forward. 

REPORTER: Mr. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, is visiting Japan and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Abe. What common recognition and understanding on the North Korean issue is the Government aiming to develop in that meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from predicting what will be discussed in the meeting, but engaging in dialogue with North Korea simply for the sake of dialogue is meaningless. We will continue to use all means to place maximum pressure on North Korea, in order to make it change its policies and create a situation in which it seeks dialogue. That is of the utmost importance and I think that the meeting will of course be based on such a principle.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the subject of the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to ICAN. In her speech at the award ceremony, atomic bomb survivor Ms. Setsuko Thurlow called for all countries to participate in the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. You have already noted that the Government’s approach is different, but is there a possibility in the future that Japan will join the treaty as part of efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have already stated that although our approaches are different, we share the common goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. In addition, as has been noted in various fora to date, including in the Diet, Japan believes that we must take a realistic approach and take steady steps towards achieving the ideal of a world free of nuclear weapons, by encouraging cooperation among both non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon states, and based on calm recognition of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and the severity of the security environment. As this approach differs from that of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, Japan does not intend to sign or ratify the treaty.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe has stated that Japan will continue to work towards realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. Is the Government considering cooperative activities with Nobel Peace Prize-winning ICAN or atomic bomb survivor groups in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, although our approaches are different, we share the same common goal. The Government’s position is to take steady steps towards achieving the ideal of a world free of nuclear weapons, by encouraging cooperation among both non-nuclear-weapon and nuclear-weapon states, based on calm recognition of the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and the severity of the security environment.
 

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