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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 22, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(There were statements on the overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting and others.)


REPORTER: Some media reports say the Government has begun making arrangements for President Macron of France to visit Japan this spring. What is the current status of the Government’s arrangements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Ever since Mr. Macron was inaugurated as President, the Government has requested that the President visit Japan as early as possible. However, nothing has been decided at this time with regard to the exact timing of the visit.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding North Korea. It has come to light that on the morning of two days ago, a patrol aircraft of the Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted a North Korean-flagged tanker, designated under the United Nations (UN) sanctions, and a Dominican-flagged tanker making contact off the coast of Shanghai in China. The vessels could have been transferring cargo containing oil products and other items subject to UN sanctions. What is the Government’s understanding of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from responding as this matter concerns the details of the monitoring and surveillance activities of the Self-Defense Forces.

REPORTER: The North Korean-flagged tanker that could have been loading cargo is suspected to have disguised its name. What is your view regarding the need for further measures to prevent such sanctions violations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, generally speaking, such acts by the North Korean vessel constitute violations of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. To ensure the effectiveness of the UNSC resolutions, the Government will work closely with the international community, including the United States, and continue to steadily collect information.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the abduction issue with North Korea. In the action policy compiled yesterday, January 21, by the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN) and the National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea (NARKN), the associations once again requested the Government to rescue all Japanese abductees by the end of this year. May I ask for your comments on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is most regrettable that even now, when many years have passed since North Korea’s abductions have occurred, the abductees have still not returned to Japan, except for the five who returned in 2002. The Government views that there should be no more delays. This issue is a top priority of the Abe administration. Taking the new action policy recently released by AFVKN and NARKN seriously, the Government will utilize a variety of channels and means based on the principles of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action” in continuing to exert every effort to realize the return of the abductees to Japan as early as possible, while urging North Korea to implement the Stockholm Agreement.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a follow-up question. The action policy states that if North Korea agrees to return all abductees to Japan, then the Government should enter into substantive consultations with North Korea with the condition that it would provide something in return, such as the lifting of sanctions. How does the Government intend to bring North Korea to the dialogue table on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government will take their action policy seriously. The Abe administration has treated this issue as a top priority to date, and we will continue to make utmost efforts to resolve the abduction issue through all possible means.


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