(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Aso

Date: Friday, April 10, 2007, 9:13 a.m.
Place: In front of the Cabinet Meeting Room in the House

Main topics:

  1. Earthquake and tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands
  2. North Korean issues
  3. Visit to Japan by Premier Wen Jiabao of the People's Republic of China

1. Earthquake and tsunami disaster in the Solomon Islands

Minister:
In light of the situation of the Solomon Islands following the earthquake and tsunami that occurred on 2 April, an emergency grant aid totaling 500,000 dollars is to be extended through the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Additionally, as for reconstruction and development support, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) plans the dispatch of an investigating team to survey the need for aid. These were the only comments that I made at the Cabinet Meeting.

Related Information (Press Release)

2. North Korean issues

Question:
There has been a half-year extension on sanctions against North Korea. What is the intended message of the Japanese Government?

Minister:
The sanctions will be extended by one half a year. We have yet to see any sincere response from North Korea whatsoever in regards to the abduction issue, and also, playing on the BDA (Banco Delta Asia) matter and others, they have shown no proper response in regards to the nuclear issue. The fact that the sanctions will continue as long as North Korea shows no new response should be understood to mean that we are calling for a proper response to be taken on these issues.

Question:
We have heard scattered reports that Mr. Christopher Hill will be visiting North Korea. What did Director-General Kenichiro Sasae of the Asia and Oceania Bureau report to you regarding this yesterday?

Minister:
I received a very detailed report on the matter, but as you can imagine, right now I cannot really comment on it.

Related Information (Japan-North Korean Relations)

3. Visit to Japan by Premier Wen Jiabao of the People's Republic of China

Question:
Concerning the visit to Japan by Premier Wen Jiabao of China, what developments do you anticipate, and in what specific areas do you anticipate them to be made?

Minister:
I am well aware that currently various information is circulating, including speculative articles appearing in various media sources. We intend to spend the whole day today working out the details. How to formulate the specific language is a difficult point, therefore I am not sure how much we will be able to finalize. Either way, it has been seven years since the visit of Premier Zhu Rongji, and I notice recent television programming and other media are displaying less anti-Japanese sentiment. However, until the specific content is finalized we really will not know for sure.

Question:
Do you mean you are currently working out the details of the joint statement?

Minister:
Yes. I am not yet sure whether it will make it to be a joint statement. It may end up as a joint press statement or even a joint declaration. There are various ideas.

Related Information (Press Release)


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