(* 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: Friday, April 14, 2006, 9:19 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting
- Internal affairs
- The Iranian Nuclear Development Issue
- Realignment of U.S. Forces
1. Cabinet Meeting/Informal Cabinet Meeting
2. Internal Affairs
3. The Iranian Nuclear Development Issue
Regarding the Iranian nuclear development issue, it has been announced that Iran has succeeded in producing enriched uranium. There is growing opinion, starting with the United States that enforced sanctions should be considered. As each country continues its own form of diplomatic effort, what are your feelings about Iran's announcement?
From what I saw on the BBC or CNN last night, it seems that Secretary Larijani of the Supreme National Security Council said that demands for the halting of enrichment activities were unacceptable. Used for peaceful purposes, such assertions of legitimacy could be quite right. But the research they said they had stopped has in fact been going on for the past 18 years and they have thereby lowered and lost their international credibility. Therefore, I think unless they start trying to rebuild that credibility, it will be difficult to maintain this kind of research activity. Japan is completely open to scrutiny and everything that happens here is plain to see. So while breakdowns might be taken to be accidents, and reports might fail to distinguish between a breakdown and an accident this openness to scrutiny gives Japan its high level of credibility.
In Iran's case, they protest that what they're doing is for peaceful purposes, but they do not talk to the IAEA, which is firmly in place as a watchdog for this kind of nuclear-related activity. The biggest problem is that past events have destroyed their credibility. This is the message from the international community, and it's a message that I have delivered to the Foreign Minister of Iran several times - two or three of those times by phone. Perhaps I've been detecting a slight softening in tone since the time of initial contact regarding this matter, but such things as tone can well depend on the mood of the day; so that can't really be called a calm analysis. They on their side will have to exert themselves in the search for a solution to this matter. Simply sticking to their opinions is rather unlikely to lead to a resolution. That is, of course, if I'm allowed a word on the matter, my impression of the situation.
4. Realignment of U.S. Forces
Senior-level talks regarding the realignment of Japan-based United States troops are continuing. What is the situation at present and the future outlook?
I will refrain from commenting on that. The matter is still under consideration.
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