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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 21, 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: It has been reported that the foreign ministers of Japan and Russia agreed in line with Japan’s requests, on the schedule for non-visa visits to the Northern Territories from July onwards, which had been long to be confirmed. Could you tell us about the facts and details of this agreement?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the annual plan for the programs to accept visits to the Four Northern Islands in fiscal 2018, including exchange visits, special grave visits and free visits[U, an agreement has been reached in principle between the diplomatic authorities of Japan and Russia. The Government considers it to be significant that the steady implementation of these exchanges with the Four Northern Islands has been confirmed once again for this fiscal year, and we will work closely with relevant parties and implementing organizations to thoroughly prepare.
REPORTER: Last year, special grave visits using airplanes were held. Is it being planned to discuss such visits at the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting to be held for May 26?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While I would like to refrain from making comments based on conjecture regarding the specific outcomes of the summit meeting, the diplomatic authorities are engaged in discussions with a view to implementing special grave visits by airplane this year as well. In order to reduce  physical burden, particularly on the now elderly former island residents, we will be engaging in full consultations with Russia on this matter.
REPORTER: According to an opinion poll by Yomiuri Shimbun, 60 percent of respondents expressed the hope that the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting, which is being planned, will lead to a resolution of the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea. I would like to ask once again at what point the Government is currently considering holding a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting following the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. If the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting is successful, will the Government seek to hold a Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting soon after?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is absolutely essential for any Japan-North Korea Summit Meeting to lead definitely to resolution of the nuclear and missile issues, and above all, the abduction issue. The point, therefore, is not simply to meet and engage in one-off discussions, but to hold a summit meeting in a way that would lead to resolution of outstanding issues of concern. I would like to refrain from making comments on the timing to hold such a meeting at the current point. Japan hopes that the historic U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting will also provide an opportunity to make progress towards the resolution of the abduction issue, and we are working with the United States to prepare for the summit meeting, while also thoroughly conveying our position to the United States.

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