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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 28, 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 relating to the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. Chairman Kim Jong-un of North Korea and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) held an inter-Korean summit on May 26. It has been also reported that Chairman Kim expressed his strong will to materialize the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. Regarding this U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, which at one time, President Trump had announced that he was calling off, how does the Government of Japan assess and analyze this series of events related to that?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from making any comments based on conjecture at this stage about the prospect whether the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting will be held. Meanwhile, President Trump himself has indicated that he is working towards the meeting on June 12; it is, therefore, expected that consultations between the United States and North Korea are also being held. In any event, Japan considers that a United States-North Korea summit meeting must serve as an opportunity to make substantial progress on the nuclear and missile issues, as well as the abduction issue, which is the most important issue of all. We strongly hope that the summit meeting will be held and will contribute to the resolution of these various issues.
REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe stated that he wanted to hold a summit telephone talk with President Trump as early as possible. Could you tell us whether the schedule for such talks has been decided?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has been decided at the current point.
REPORTER: There are reports that Prime Minister Abe will visit the United States prior to the G7 Summit to be held in Canada and hold a summit meeting with President Trump. Could you tell us the current status of arrangements and what is the aim of having a summit meeting with President Trump not in Canada, but in the United States?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is of the utmost importance for Japan and the United States to work closely together on the North Korean issues and others at various levels, including the leader level. We are currently considering various options, including the opportunity afforded by the G7 Summit in early June and would like to refrain from making comments on each of them.
REPORTER: Is there any possibility of a summit telephone talk between Prime Minister Abe and President Moon of the ROK, following the latest inter-Korean summit?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this stage, the Government is not considering such options. We are closely coordinating with each other at various levels in various manners, when necessary.
REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. The Japan-Russia summit was held the other day in Moscow. What is the Government’s view on the outcome of the latest summit meeting?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was the 21st summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin and the very first one since President Putin’s re-election. The two leaders spent a good deal of time together engaging in frank discussions about bilateral issues and common  international issues, which was of tremendous significance. In particular, with regard to the issue of concluding a peace treaty, the meeting delivered concrete results in works on realizing joint economic activities on the four islands and humanitarian measures for former island residents. Based on our basic policy of resolving the issue of the attribution of the Four Northern Islands and concluding a peace treaty, the Government will continue to negotiate persistently with Russia to that end. The two leaders also had a candid and in-depth discussion on the situation in North Korea, including developments related to the U.S.-North Korea summit meeting. The meeting was significant in that we gained President Putin’s understanding for Japan’s consistent position in trying to normalize relations with North Korea through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern such as the abduction, nuclear and missile issues, and for the importance of promptly resolving the abduction issue.
REPORTER: The Prime Minister has previously indicated that he aims to conclude a peace treaty and resolve the issue of the Northern Territories during his term of office. Do you think that this latest summit meeting made progress towards this goal?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With each summit meeting, we consistently make a request based on that direction; we work together at various levels, including at the leaders level, of course, and make steady progress step by step with respect to our relations with them.
REPORTER: Could you tell us what discussions took place at this summit meeting on a special arrangement for undertaking joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands and what outcomes were achieved?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While I would like to refrain from going into detail, the two leaders confirmed that works on realizing joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands have now entered a new stage. They reached a shared view that in July or August this year, a business mission comprised mainly of enterprises will be dispatched to the islands and that earnest efforts will be made to advance measures in a manner that does not harm the legal position of either country.

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