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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 25, 2017 (AM)

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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 a new sanctions resolution against North Korea that was adopted unanimously by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in the early hours of December 23. Could you tell us how the Government evaluates the adoption of this latest resolution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the early hours of December 23, Japan time, the UNSC unanimously adopted a new resolution. The unanimous adoption of this resolution, which imposes extremely severe sanctions on North Korea, shows that the international community is demonstrating  its strong will through  action to increase pressure on North Korea to the maximum degree in order to make it change its policies. Japan highly appreciates the adoption of this resolution. According to estimates by the United States, if this latest resolution, together with previously adopted resolutions, were to be fully implemented, it is anticipated that it would result in the almost total eradication of foreign currency revenues acquired through exports by North Korea. This latest resolution will also result in the eradication of foreign currency revenues acquired through North Korean overseas workers. The Government recognizes the extreme significance of this resolution, given that its implementation will greatly reduce North Korea’s foreign currency revenues. In addition, in this resolution, the UNSC is sending  a strong warning to North Korea to make no attempt to conduct any further provocations  , by including the provision to impose further restrictions on oil exports to North Korea in the event that North Korea implements another ICBM-class missile launch or nuclear test. The Government will continue to take the lead together with the United States, also cooperating with China and Russia and utilizing the forum of the UNSC Sanctions Committee, as we make every effort to ensure the full implementation of the relevant UNSC resolution by all UN Member States.

REPORTER: Various resolutions on sanctions have been implemented to date. Could you tell us the Government’s view on the effectiveness of these previous resolutions or whether you have any information about such matters?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The resolutions that were adopted in August and September were seriously severe from the perspective of North Korea. In addition, this latest resolution will now eradicate 100 percent of all foreign currency revenues North Korea acquires from exports. China and Russia had previously been reluctant to adopt stricter measures, which prevented stronger sanctions being imposed, but in August and September this became possible. The latest resolution is even stricter in its provisions. In that sense the Government highly appreciates its adoption.

REPORTER: North Korea has strongly opposed the adoption of the latest resolution, so what is the Government’s view about the possibility that it will engage in further provocations, such as a ballistic missile launch or nuclear test?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any comments based on conjecture.

REPORTER: With regard to the G20 summit that is scheduled to be held in Japan in 2019, some press reports are suggesting that Osaka is likely to be the host city. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the host city for the G20 summit, considerations are being made on the basis of on-site surveys of the cities where local governments have expressed an interest in hosting the summit. Therefore, as yet no decision has been made.

REPORTER: The G20 summit is attended by tens of thousands of representatives of more than 30 nations and international organizations, so what aspects is the Government focusing on in the selection process for the host city?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would imagine that major aspects for consideration will be the amenity  to have a conference and also security-related matters.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. The Government of Peru has announced its decision to pardon former President Fujimori. Can I ask for a comment from the Government of Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course, I am aware of this announcement.  Meanwhile, the decision to pardon someone is a domestic matter for Peru. I would therefore like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government about another country’s domestic procedures.

REPORTER: According to some press reports Prime Minister Turnbull of Australia is expected to visit Japan in January next year and it is anticipated that the two leaders will come to a broad agreement on a status of forces agreement. Could you tell us the facts behind these press reports and the current status of such negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The visit to Japan is currently being coordinated and at the current point nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: In relation to the previous question, when considering the North Korean situation and also the situations in the East China Sea and South China Sea, security cooperation with Australia could be viewed to be of increasing necessity. What are your views on cooperation, including a status of forces agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, negotiations are underway on an agreement to facilitate joint operations and exercises, but it is still too early to be able to make any statement on these negotiations. Such an agreement would stipulate the necessary measures to reciprocally  improve administrative and legal procedures to facilitate joint operations and exercises between the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and the Australian Defence Force. As I have just noted, negotiations on this agreement are ongoing and I would like to refrain from making any further comment.

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