Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Removal of Seals and other Interference by North Korea in the Used Nuclear Fuel Storage and other Facilities

December 25, 2002

  1. The Government of Japan is gravely concerned about the fact that on December 23 and 24, North Korea removed the seals and impeded functioning of surveillance equipment installed at both the fuel rod fabrication plant and the reprocessing facility in Yongbyon. As a result, North Korea removed seals and impeded functioning of surveillance cameras at three facilities since December 21. These acts are extremely regrettable in light of North Korea´s obligations under international agreements.

  2. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that unless the safeguard measures are reinstated, the Agency cannot provide assurances that nuclear material in these facilities is not diverted to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Japan, closely consulting with the countries concerned, including the United States and the Republic of Korea, and the IAEA, intends, therefore, 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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