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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 12, 2017 (PM)

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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 kanji character that was selected as the character representative of this year. In the annual competition to select a character capturing the national mood of that year, the kanji “kita,” meaning north, was chosen as the character that best represents this year. Can you please share your comments? In addition, if there is a character that comes to your mind looking back on this past one year, could you please share that with us as well?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I believe the pick demonstrates the great concern felt by the people of Japan over North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches and nuclear test during this past year. If I had to choose a character, it would be “an” from anzen and anshin, meaning safety and security in kanji respectively.

REPORTER: The United Nations Security Council held a meeting to discuss the issue of human rights in North Korea. At the meeting, Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Bessho advocated for an early resolution to the abductions issue. I understand that in their speeches the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, as well as Sweden, Ukraine, and other countries touched on the issue of the abductions of Japanese nationals and condemned the human rights situation in North Korea. On the other hand, the North Korean Mission to the UN strongly condemns the meeting for “taking up and discussing a non-existent human rights issue.” What is your view regarding these two matters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, at the meeting, the member countries expressed strong concern over the violation of human rights in North Korea, including the abduction issue, and were able to send a clear message urging North Korea to improve the situation. In this regard, I believe it was a significant meaning. North Korea should take seriously this message of the international community as shown by these countries. The Government will continue to cooperate with the relevant countries in making every effort towards a comprehensive resolution of the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues.

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