Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on North Korea's Removal of the Protective Seals of the Graphite-Moderated Experimental Reactor

December 22, 2002

  1. The Government of Japan is concerned about North Korea's unilateral removal of the seals and the impediment of functioning of surveillance equipment installed at the 5MWe graphite-moderated experimental reactor in Yongbyon on December 21, which are regrettable in the light of North Korea's obligations under international agreements.

  2. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) has been urging North Korea to hold consultations between experts on both sides, not to take unilateral measures, and to maintain the safeguards measures for the nuclear facilities in North Korea, which are provided for in the Safeguards Agreement between IAEA and North Korea. Japan also considers that North Korea should respond to this request and hold a dialogue with the IAEA to solve the issue.

  3. Japan, closely consulting with the countries concerned, including the United States and the Republic of Korea, and the IAEA, intends to continue urging North Korea to maintain the freeze on all of its nuclear facilities and respond proactively toward the peaceful solution of the issue.

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