(* This is a provisional translation by "WIP ジャパン" for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)
Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Aso
Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2006, 6:50 p.m.
Place: Central Entrance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- The North Korean Nuclear Issue
The North Korean Nuclear Issue
Today a spokesperson for North Korea declared that it would test a nuclear weapon. Upon reviewing the content of the declaration, it is filled with extreme language, as may be considered usual with North Korea. At the same time, however, North Korea has issued similar statements several times in the past and followed through with action quite shortly thereafter. At the least, I believe we cannot afford to deny the real possibility that they will take this course of action. Such an action would clearly have an enormous impact not only on Japan, but on the whole Northeast Asian region. Such a step would be a threat to peace, and therefore cannot be allowed. We must respond, after gathering somewhat more detailed information.
In your analysis, how imminent is the present circumstances?
There are examples in the past of such statements having been made and then carried out. In this case, unlike with the earlier missile launch, the event will not be visible from the outside. It will be difficult to know what is happening because it will be an underground nuclear test. If they do carry out this test, however, we will know, as it will produce a definite reaction; but until it happens, unlike the case of the missile launch, we cannot do much analysis regarding the timing.
Other than the statement of the North Koreans, do you have any further information?
No, we do not.
Are you coordinating with the United States and other countries over this matter?
Of course. And with the United Nations too, of course.
What measures are you considering in the event that North Korea does conduct this test?
Naturally our response will be rigorous. This is an even more serious matter than the missile launch.
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