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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 26, 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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

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

H.E. Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, and his spouse, Ms. Elke Büdenbender, will pay a visit to Japan from February 6 to 7. During their stay in Japan, Prime Minister Abe will hold a meeting with President Steinmeier and host a dinner. The Government hopes that the visit of President Steinmeier will further strengthen the friendly and cooperative relations between Japan and Germany.


REPORTER: In an interview with U.S. media, President Trump indicated that he would consider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement that the United States withdrew from last year, if substantially better terms could be secured. Can I ask for the view of the Government on these comments?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: Firstly, it is necessary to ascertain the real intentions of President Trump’s comments. On various occasions to date the Government has explained to the United States our efforts related to the TPP and has also emphasized the significance of the agreement. The Government would be pleased if President Trump has deepened his understanding on the significance of the TPP. In any event, the Government will continue to make every effort to realize the early signing and entry into force of the Trans Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11). We will also continue to emphasize the importance of the TPP to the United States and encourage its return to the agreement, explaining that, since the United States is especially the most advanced nation in terms of globalization and technological innovation, the TPP would be beneficial for both the economy and employment of the United States. It could be the case that the agreement on the TPP11 and the conclusion of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) have inspired the President. Japan will continue to work towards the early entry into force of the TPP11 and the Japan-EU EPA. As a nation that is at the center of global free trade, we will continue to make every effort to build this kind of environment for free and fair trade and investment in a multifaceted manner.

REPORTER: From what President Trump has stated, it is expected that the United States would request renegotiation of the TPP to secure more favorable terms for the United States as a condition of joining the agreement. Could you tell us whether the Government of Japan could be open to changing the contents of the TPP through renegotiation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: As explained, the TPP was agreed on by 12 countries, including the United States, and was built and formulated like building blocks. Therefore, in principle the TPP does not expect any renegotiation. As you will understand from the current negotiations on the TPP11, any minor change can have a major impact on the agreement as a whole. Therefore, in principle, we do not envisage any renegotiations. In any event, if the United States actually requests renegotiation, this would be something to be discussed and considered by eleven countries.

REPORTER: The eleven countries have already agreed to hold a signing ceremony on March 8. Will President Trump’s comments have an impact on the schedule for the signing ceremony?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: In principle, I do not think there would be any impact on the schedule. It is important to ascertain the true intentions of President Trump’s comments. Through various working-level meetings, including the Japan-U.S. economic dialogue, we will continue to engage in exchanges of views with the United States.

REPORTER: According to some press reports North Korea shipped coal to Russia last year, some of which was then sent to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan. What is the Government’s understanding of the facts?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: I am aware of these reports although I have not read them in detail. I would like to refrain from commenting on individual press reports. The Government will continue to work closely with countries concerned, including the United States and the ROK, to ensure the effectiveness of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that severely restrict the flow of people, goods and money to North Korea. Measures have been thoroughly implemented, including Japan’s own measures. With regard to restrictions on the flow of goods, strict measures are in place that not only prohibit exports and imports of all items to and from North Korea, but also prohibit the entry into Japanese ports of all vessels that have called in North Korea. We will continue to implement such measures rigorously.


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