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

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso

Date: Friday, April 27, 2007, 8:51 a.m.
Place: In front of the Cabinet Meeting Room in the House

Main topics:

  1. Japan-Kazakhstan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
  2. North Korean issues
  3. Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (the "2+2" Meeting)
  4. Japan-Russia relations

1. Japan-Kazakhstan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Minister:
We will commence negotiations on concluding an Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy with Kazakhstan. We have agreed to begin negotiations, and under the Japan-Kazakhstan Denuclearization Agreement, have decided to extend 500 million yen in support to ensure the security of nuclear related facilities in Kazakhstan.

Related Information (Press Release)

2. North Korean issues

Question:
There is a high likelihood no developments will have been made on issues with North Korea by the time the Prime Minister meets with President Bush this evening for summit talks. What sort of message do you think they should form on the issue during this visit?

Minister:
Considering that North Korea is using the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) issue to draw things out, if nothing more, I believe Prime Minister Abe and President Bush will conclude that this is either a plain prolonging of things, or that there is more to it. There is a high probability that they will prefer more stick to carrot.

Related Information (Japan-North Korean Relations)

3. Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (the "2+2" Meeting)

Question:
You are scheduled to set off overseas tomorrow, and it has been some time since the last Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (the "2+2" Meeting) meeting. What points will be emphasized on this visit?

Minister:
At the "2+2" Meeting, I feel various discussions including issues of Okinawa, U.S. military realignment, missile defenses are currently well underway, so I think those matters are going well. However, although an actual agreement is established, continual reviews must be conducted to ensure appropriate effectiveness. I frequently have the opportunity to meet with Secretary of State Rice regarding these issues, and we are to meet in Egypt following our visit the United States. This will be the first time for Minister of Defense Kyuma to meet his counterpart in person, so I have a feeling that his matters will weigh more.

Related Information (Foreign Minister's Visit to USA)

4. Japan-Russia relations

Question:
What kind of approach do you intend to start out with regarding Japan-Russia relations?

Minister:
On the Russian side, there had never been a case of a statement at the press secretary level on expectations regarding the visit of a Japanese foreign minister to Russia being released to the outside twice. There are many speculations about this. You know how Russia's relations with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are, and things are not going all that great with the United States, of course, and relations with China are somewhat complicated. So the officials at the press secretary level on the Russian side seem to think that if relations with Japan become strained, Russia is going to be in pretty bad shape.

Mr. Mikhail Efimovich Fradkov, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation recently visited Japan, and various discussions got underway between Japan and Russia in one way or another and are moving forward in a variety of areas.

Nevertheless, there is one important area that is stuck. In order to resolve that particular issue, the countries have to think of a plan that both sides can more or less be satisfied with. Until now Russia thought of Japan as a persistent country in the Far East, but the Russian side is somewhat aware that the situation has started to change significantly. I think this will be a clue for Japan-Russia relations.

Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)


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