(* 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: Tuesday, April 17, 2007, 9:50 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Commemorative coin to mark Japan-Brazil Exchange Year and 100 years of Japanese immigration to Brazil
- North Korean issues
1. Commemorative coin to mark Japan-Brazil Exchange Year and 100 years of Japanese immigration to Brazil
It was decided at the Cabinet Meeting that a new 500 yen coin will be released to commemorate 2008 as the Japan-Brazil Exchange Year, and to mark 100 years of Japanese immigration to Brazil. A 1,000 yen coin was also decided to be released on the occasion of the International Skills Festival for All, Japan 2007.
2. North Korean issues
Yonhap News of South Korea is reporting unusual movement around the Yongbyon nuclear facility, apparently connected with its shut down.. Is the Japanese Government aware of this information?
Movements of that nature have been apparent for quite some time, so I do not think this is especially noteworthy. The United States has already settled the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) issue separately. As you know, that issue is not related to the Six-Party Talks in the least. It is a matter between the US and North Korea, and the US has handled it appropriately. As you have seen, North Korea's response has been focused on technical issues, delaying the Talks addressing these as the core issues. This is gradually becoming more of a concern to the other four parties. In that sense, I believe some form of response is required from the North Korean side.
Has North Korea already shown efforts towards shutting down and sealing of the facilities?
You must keep in mind that they would like us to think just that. It is not that easy. This is an issue of specialists, I am not very technically savvy, and thus am unable to give a detailed answer regarding how long it would take to disable such facilities. One would have to be as knowledgeable as Mr.Yoshii Hidekatsu of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) to be able to be answer such a question. To speak honestly, I do not know how long it will take. However, I would not be surprised to hear that North Korea is at least ready for that.
What are the prospects for holding the next round of the Six-Party Talks by the end of April?
The only issues left to solve before the start of the next round are purely technical, related to the bank's financial technicality, so once these issues are dealt with, I would not be surprised to see the next round of talks start immediately. If the issue is cleared today, the sides may decide to start the next round tomorrow. At the same time, I cannot deny the possibility that the three countries of US, North Korea, and China, to which Macao belongs, will continue messy negotiations for a long time without reaching a conclusion. In that sense, I cannot say whether the next round of the Six-Party Talks can start by the end of April. However, I also cannot deny the possibility that the Talks will start immediately once so decided. I believe the thing has so far.
Is it correct to think that Japan is currently adopting the wait-and-see attitude like the US and China?
The US side most probably thinks that the issues pertaining to their country are solved, and what remains to be addressed are the issues between China and North Korea. The details of the negotiations are probably in the realm of the Department of the Treasury rather than the Department of the State. I do not know very well on it.
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