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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 5, 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 regarding the Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Games. A Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korean joint team played warm-up matches at a venue in the suburbs of Seoul yesterday. The unification flag that was raised at the venue depicting the Korean Peninsula also included a depiction of Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture, which the Government of the ROK claims as its territory. Can I ask for a comment from the Government about this matter?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government is aware of the matter. In light of the Government of Japan’s position concerning its territorial rights over Takeshima, the use of such a flag is unacceptable and highly regrettable. We have lodged a strong protest to the ROK through diplomatic channels, strongly stating Japan’s position on this issue. We will continue to call strongly on the ROK to respond appropriately.
REPORTER: I also have a question related to the Pyeongchang Olympic and Paralympic Games. According to some press reports, the Government has visited shelters in the vicinity of Olympic venues, with a view to making preparations in the case that North Korea launches a missile attack targeting the Pyeongchang Games. Could you confirm the facts?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals overseas is an important responsibility of the Government. For the duration of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will be taking all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals, including the establishment of liaison offices of the Embassy of Japan in Pyeongchang and Gangneung. I have received a report that on February 2, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sato visited Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where he checked the measures in place to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals during the Games, including the setup at the Japanese embassy liaison offices, responses by major travel companies to assist Japanese customers, and the security measures being implemented by the ROK. I would like to refrain from responding to your question about a visit to shelters, as this is a matter that concerns the safety of Japanese nationals.
REPORTER: With regard to the Pyeongchang Games, you just noted that the Government stated its position through diplomatic channels about the use of the unification flag that depicts Takeshima. Could you tell us at what level this was communicated and whether it was in the form of a protest?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has lodged a series of protests regarding this matter. Mr. Kanasugi, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has protested to the Deputy Ambassador of the ROK to Japan, and Minister Nishioka of the Embassy of Japan in the ROK has protested to the heads of the International Relations Bureau and the Communications Bureau of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
REPORTER: I have a question about the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence of the United States that is scheduled for February 7. Some press reports are suggesting that in this meeting a joint document would be issued that confirms the policy of the Governments of Japan and the United States to strengthen pressure on North Korea, and also confirms Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral cooperation. Could you tell us the facts behind these reports?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are no plans to release a joint document on the occasion of the upcoming visit to Japan by Vice President Pence.
REPORTER: Given how it has been revealed that North Korea is circumventing sanctions by transferring oil products from vessels of other countries in the high seas, is it anticipated that in the meeting Prime Minister Abe and Vice President Pence would discuss ways to further enhance information exchange structures and cooperation in response to these actions?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the North Korean issues, I would imagine that the meeting will once again confirm the necessity of Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation to use all means to place maximum pressure on North Korea to make it abandon its nuclear and missile development programs. Given the ever-increasing severity of the regional security environment, the Government hopes that the meeting would be the one in which the two sides will exchange views on regional and international issues, coordinate their policies, and send out a message both domestically and internationally on the strong ties of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

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