(* 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 31, 2006, 9:58a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Material aid cooperation for Sri Lankan victims based on the International Peace Cooperation Law
  2. Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting
  3. United Nations Security Council Resolution on Sanctions against North Korea
  4. Six-Party Talks
  5. United Nations Security Council reform

1. Material aid cooperation for Sri Lankan victims based on the International Peace Cooperation Law

Minister:
The Cabinet decided, based on the International Peace Cooperation Law, to cooperate with the humanitarian relief efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in providing material relief in the form of sleeping bags and plastic sheeting for 10,000 victims in Sri Lanka, whose plight I am sure you are all aware of.

Related Information (Press Release)

2. Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting

(See Japanese Version)

3. United Nations Security Council Resolution on Sanctions against North Korea

Question:
It has been just over two weeks since the U.N. Security Council Resolution on Sanctions against North Korea. How do you see each country's handling of this?

Minister:
Regarding this, a sanctions committee has now been set up within the United Nations, and lists are being prepared of candidate items for the rules concerning supply, sale and transfer - that is, of materials related to weapons of mass destruction and the like. In any event, based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718, each country is required to submit a report within thirty days of the adoption of this resolution, by November 14, stating what it has done, and all countries are then to act in concert accordingly. We are presently involved, along with the United States, in discussing the content of this. Inspection of cargo is a part of it.

Question:
Is it necessary that the international community acts on this in unison?

Minister:
Yes, it is. And, of course, things are underway already. In particular, China is moving forward in the same direction.

Question:
Are there signs that Japan and the United States may be working together on inspection of cargo within the 30 day report deadline?

Minister:
The United States Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Robert Joseph, recently visited Japan. He is working together with the Republic of Korea, and at present is also engaged in discussion of the details of the issue along with personnel from the Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Question:
What do you say on the 30 day deadline?

Minister:
We are not really that concerned about it. I believe that of the 30 day deadline is for reporting what is being done.

Question:
There were reports in September that China had halted its supply of oil to North Korea. What is your assessment of China in this present situation, what is its influence, and what stance is it taking?

Minister:
I don't really know. Nothing of this has been confirmed yet, least of all the truth of it.

Related Information (North Korean Nuclear Issue)

4. Six-Party Talks

Question:
In regard to the Six-Party Talks, you said that in order to return to them, North Korea must do so unconditionally and immediately. Can you confirm that North Korea would be accepted back unconditionally by the other five nations if it were to come back?

Minister:
Basically, none of the five countries, including Russia and China, can accept North Korea as a nuclear state. Within that unconditionality is a further discourse according to which North Korea cannot attend as a nuclear state. That is a major premise, and all five countries are in accord on that.

Related Information (Six Party Talks on North Korean Issues)

5. United Nations Security Council reform

Question:
Regarding reform of the United Nations Security Council, I believe Japan will be resuming its efforts to gain a permanent seat on the Security Council with next year's General Assembly in mind, and this year its status as a non-permanent member will come to an end. How will Japan's response to the North Korean issues change once it loses that status?

Minister:
Once Japan vacates its non-permanent seat among the 15 nations on the Security Council, its response will change dramatically. This time we chaired the Security Council. We were a member of the Security Council at the time of the sanctions resolution on the North Korean missiles, but getting sanctions within 6 days at the time of the nuclear test was, I believe, largely due to our influence as chair nation. In that sense, losing our seat on the Security Council will mean considerable frustration, or at least a slowing down of the pace as we assume a more indirect role. In that sense, from next year it will be difficult to respond as we have this time.

Question:
In the light of what has happened since the year before last with the pursuit of the G4 proposal, what kind of proposal are you considering in the move towards a permanent seat on the Security Council?

Minister:
We are presently working on a completely different proposal. I think we would have difficulties with the same proposal as we made last time. When considering what kind of proposal to make, we should try and achieve the consent of a number of parties, including the United States, and must consider a number of ways of going about it. We will think of a new proposal. Although it is about Japan, it is not the kind of proposal that Japan can make alone; so, recognizing that, we must confer with each country about it. We are engaged in a variety of approaches.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)


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