(* 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 Masahiko Koumura
Date: Friday, March 14, 2008, 8:45 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House
- Second Seminar on National Reconciliation in Iraq
- US-North Korea Consultations
- Currency Exchange, Nomination of Bank of Japan Governor
From March 20, the Second Seminar on National Reconciliation in Iraq will be held in Japan. This is the second time that such a seminar is being held, following the first seminar last year. There will be representatives of parties, influential members, members of parliament and others coming to Japan from Iraq from the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. The seminar will provide a venue for dialogue on topics timely to Iraq now including the proposed Petroleum Gas Law, the revision of the Constitution, and the concept of federalism. They will also travel around Japan including Hiroshima so that they will be able to see for themselves the processes that Japan experienced in its reconstruction as well as the process of democratization.
Negotiations are underway in Geneva between US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and the North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan. Please tell us what is being talked about, what your views on the talks are and what you expect to emerge.
I have not yet received any detailed reports. But I understand that this morning US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill contacted the Director-General of our Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and I have heard that the discussions are going fairly well.
Can we assume that what you said is based on a certain degree of information that you have received?
It appears that nothing has yet been decided, including whether or not the discussions will continue today.
Do you have anything concrete that you can add regarding the content of those discussions?
At the very least, I myself have not received any further reports.
Please describe what you intend to call on North Korea to do.
We would like them to provide a complete declaration. Unless they provide a complete declaration, it will be vague as to what they will abandon next and what is to be abandoned. Some say that it is important to advance the dialogue to the next phase even if some things remain somewhat vague. However, our view is that it would certainly not be a good idea to move to the next phase if the specific items to be abandoned in the next phase are still left vague.
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