(* 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 MACHIMURA Nobutaka

Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 10:40 a.m.
Place: Ministerial Reception Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Cabinet Meeting
  2. North Korean Issues

1. Cabinet Meeting

Minister:
An extraordinary Cabinet meeting took place today. I first of all approved the appointment of the Senior Vice-Ministers. This has probably already been announced, but the Senior Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs will be Mr. Onodera and Mr. Kimura, who are from the House of Councillors and House of Representatives. Taro Nakayama, Member of the House of Representatives, has been appointed Ambassador on Special Mission for the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the independence of Malaysia. The ambassadors to the Netherlands and other countries have been decided. I have mentioned this, but there has been a decision to provide emergency grant aid to Peru, which was struck by an earthquake on August 15, and this grant aid will total 1.3 million dollars. Already 16 million yen of emergency relief supplies such as tents and so forth have been provided, and at the Cabinet meeting it was decided that altogether 167 million yen in assistance will be provided.

Related Information (MOFA Info)
Related Information (Press Release: Dispatch of Ambassador on Special Mission to Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Independence of Malaysia)
Related Information (Press Release: Emergency Assistance for Earthquake Disaster in Peru)

2. North Korean Issues

Question:
This question is in regard to the Japan-North Korea Working Group. It seems that today following the Cabinet meeting you spoke with the Prime Minister. Specifically what type of instructions did you receive from him?

Minister:
I did not speak with the Prime Minister in detail about the Japan-North Korea Working Group today. I mainly spoke with him about the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Foreign Ministers' Meeting coming up next week, and our discussion focused on what should be done there. There are also various diplomatic matters, and we talked about several of them.

Question:
So you have not yet received any specific instructions regarding the Working Group?

Minister:
There have been no instructions.

Question:
Yesterday the Prime Minister at a press conference talked about a sincere response and a sincere attitude from North Korea. Specifically what would you consider to be a sincere response on the North Korean side?

Minister:
The talks cannot move forward with North Korea continuing to insist that the abduction issue has been resolved, so that point is probably the greatest concern. I therefore believe that we of course need them to engage in a proper discussion about the matter.

Question:
It seems that in general the World Food Program (WFP) is talking about assistance to North Korea in response to flood damage. What are your thoughts on the assistance for flood damage together with the abduction issue?

Minister:
Various organizations of the United Nations come with requests for countries in response to various disasters. A number of organizations issued a consolidated appeal on Monday local time, so yesterday on Tuesday Japan time. We are first of all thinking about how we will respond to this, so our talks are still not specific.

Question:
Yesterday evening you had a telephone conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of the United States. During the conference, what was said about North Korean issues, particularly the United States-North Korea Working Group and Japan-North Korea Working Group?

Minister:
It was a telephone conference, so it was a call to congratulate me on my appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Secretary Rice is an old acquaintance, so we said, "It has been a while"-I think that might not quite be the appropriate expression-but we said, "Let us continue to make efforts together." It was therefore not the case that any specific matters were brought up. I said that since Secretary Rice would probably be attending the APEC Foreign Ministers' Meeting next week I would like to have a separate meeting with her if the schedule allows for it. Our conversation was along these lines.

Question:
About the assistance for flood damage, you said that you are still not at a stage to talk about the specifics, but are you considering providing some kind of assistance?

Minister:
We are currently thinking about this matter, including whether or not to provide assistance.

Question:
The assistance to North Korea for flood damage being as it may, do you think that it would be possible to gain the understanding of the people of Japan about venturing to provide assistance to North Korea with the abduction issue unresolved?

Minister:
As I just said, we are currently considering whether or not to provide assistance.

Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)


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