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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 10, 2018 (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]


REPORTER: I have a question about the meeting that took place between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea yesterday in Panmunjom. In the meeting it was agreed that the military authorities of both countries will hold a meeting with a view to reducing military tensions between the two countries. What is the Government’s evaluation of the outcomes of the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Olympic and Paralympic Games are festivals of peace, and the Government views positively that in the recent ROK-North Korea consultations, North Korea expressed intent to participate in the Pyeongchang Games. Meanwhile, there is absolutely no change to our position of consulting with the United States, and trilaterally with the ROK and the United States, working closely with China, Russia and other countries concerned, in using all means to place maximum pressure on North Korea until it is compelled to change its policies. In any event, Japan, the United States and the ROK intend to work together closely, and based on the information shared by the ROK about the details of the outcomes of the recent consultations, we will coordinate our response going forward.

REPORTER: You have just referred to trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and the ROK. Yet in the recent meeting North Korea’s wish to eliminate interference by the United States was apparent, with an agreement being reached to resolve North-South issues by the two Koreas that share the same ethnic identity. What is the analysis of the Government on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, there is absolutely no change to our policy to engage in close cooperation with the United States, and in trilateral cooperation with the United States and the ROK.

REPORTER: Based on yesterday’s agreement, what is the Government’s view on the direction North Korea’s nuclear and missile development will take?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, the Government will continue to engage in Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation and make every effort to ensure the full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, while constantly conducting maximum monitoring and surveillance of North Korea.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic to the comfort women issue. Yesterday the ROK announced its new policy on the Japan-ROK agreement regarding the comfort women issue. The Government of the ROK announced that it will consult with Japan about the handling of the 1 billion yen that the Government of Japan contributed. The Government has already issued a protest through diplomatic channels, but could you once again share with us the view of the Government on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as I have frequently stated to date, the Japan-ROK agreement has a considerable international standing since it was concluded by the foreign ministers of the two countries and the details were subsequently confirmed at the leader level. It was highly appreciated by the international community, with the United States Secretary of State and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs welcoming and supporting the agreement. It therefore goes without saying that an obvious and natural principle for such an international agreement is for it to be implemented responsibly, even if there has been a change in administration.

REPORTER: President Moon Jae-in of the ROK referred to the Japan-ROK agreement in his New Year press conference today, stating that “A wrong knot has to be untied.” What is the Government’s reaction to this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japan-ROK agreement confirmed that the comfort women issue is finally and irreversibly resolved. The Government absolutely cannot accept that the ROK is seeking further measures despite this agreement. We consider that both countries are required to steadily implement what is a final and irreversible agreement. For our part, we will move to steadily implement the agreement.

REPORTER: In his New Year press conference a short while ago President Moon indicated that he is seeking to further accelerate inter-Korean dialogue, including the prospect of a summit meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea. What is the Government’s evaluation of this approach?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government would like to refrain from commenting on each of the individual comments made in a press conference by the President of the ROK. I would only reiterate what I have previously stated, namely that Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK have been cooperating and coordinating closely, including at the leader level, and there is absolutely no change to our position of increasing pressure on North Korea to the maximum to compel it to change its policies.

REPORTER: If inter-Korean dialogue is accelerated, is the Government not concerned that this might lead to a weakening of the international community’s encirclement of North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given that the resolution has been adopted unanimously at the United Nations, it is only natural that responses will be taken in accordance with such resolutions.


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