(* 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 Hirofumi Nakasone

Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 10:14 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. North Korean Issues
  2. The Development of Natural Resources in the East China Sea
  3. Presidential Election in Iran

1. North Korean Issues

Question:
Regarding Japan's independent sanctions against North Korea, I believe that sanctions to ban all exports and, in principle, foreigners who have violated money transfer regulations from reentering North Korea, will be decided upon this afternoon in a round robin Cabinet Decision. Do you believe that these two sanctions will exert enough pressure on North Korea to cause them to return to the negotiation table, or will you consider further sanctions to pressure North Korea in cooperation with the US and other countries? Please respond on these two points.

Minister:
Regarding additional measures for Japan's independent sanctions, we are proceeding with the final procedures for the two measures, the embargo of exports and the measures against certain persons who have violated trade and monetary measures against North Korea, taking into consideration the opinions of the ruling parties. I do not believe that it is appropriate to speculate on whether these measures are effective enough or if they provide enough pressure at this time. We must make the recently adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1874 effective. Along with the effective implementation of the Resolution, the Government must unite to take thorough action leading to concrete movement on the resolution of various issues by North Korea.

Question:
Are you considering any further additional measures?

Minister:
At the moment, Japan will take action through these two measures.

Question:
There have been reports that the third son of North Korea's Chairman Kim Jong-Il has visited China. Has there been any communication of information from the Chinese Government to the Japanese Government regarding this? Additionally, has there been any government level communication to the Japanese Government regarding the successor issue?

Minister:
I am aware of these reports. The Government gathers various types of information on North Korea's domestic situation on a daily basis. Commenting on the contents or the details of the information collected by the Government may expose our information gathering capacity or routes of information gathering. As this may hamper future information gathering activities, I would like to refrain from commenting. Additionally, as this issue concerns another country, and as it is important to maintain a relationship of trust, I fear that commenting on this may hamper future information sharing, and therefore I will refrain from speaking on the truth of this matter.

Question:
Regarding the issue of making UN Security Council Resolution 1874 effective, what are the prospects for the passage of legislation on cargo inspection?

Minister:
The most important thing is that the Government as a whole quickly takes the appropriate action in order to implement what was decided on in the Resolution. We must make swift consideration of the matter in close cooperation with the relevant ministries. We are currently undergoing concrete deliberation within the Government on this issue right now.

Question:
Is it desirable for the legislation to be approved during this Diet session?

Minister:
Since the Resolution has already been issued, I believe that it is necessary to swiftly develop the necessary framework for it. Currently, we are discussing within the government what needs to be done and how.

Related Information (North Korean Nuclear Issue)

2. The Development of Natural Resources in the East China Sea

Question:
It has been almost a year since Japan and China agreed on the joint development of the gas field in the East China Sea. What are your thoughts on the situation, given that no negotiations toward the conclusion of a treaty to make this tangible have been made within this time?

Minister:
It has been almost a year since the agreement last June. The agreement was made between the two governments based on the intentions of the leaders of both countries, and I believe it is one result of the Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests. The Chinese side holds the same view. It is important that we start, at an early time, negotiations for the conclusion of an international treaty. I think it is unfortunate that negotiations for the conclusion of a treaty have not yet begun, and I plan to continue to work steadily and strongly toward the beginning of negotiations with China. Recently, when Mr. Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of China, visited Japan, I approached him on this subject. This was at the Japan-China High Level Meeting. Additionally, swift negotiations for the conclusion of a treaty and the early start of negotiations were discussed during the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Prime Minister Aso also approached the Chinese side on this matter. Looking at the opinions of Chinese leaders on the issue, at the Japan-China Summit Meeting this April, Mr. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China stated that we must not retract our positions regarding the agreement and that he hopes to strengthen communication and cooperation on the working level. At the recent Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Mr. Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the agreement was an important development for the Japan-China Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests, and that it will have benefits for both countries. We will continue to work steadily and strongly on this issue.

Question:
What is your opinion regarding the negotiations for the treaty not starting despite common acknowledgements on the part of both Japan and China that this is an important agreement?

Minister:
I do not know the situation on the Chinese side, and I believe that it would be meaningless to speculate about it. On our side, we are making strong requests on this matter at the Summit level and I believe we must continue forward steadily and strongly.

Question:
Is there a timeline for this?

Minister:
We have recently held discussions at the Summit level and Foreign Ministers' level. Additionally we have been strongly requesting that negotiations begin. As it has been almost exactly a year, I would like to take this as an opportunity to strongly urge forward the Chinese side.

Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

3. Presidential Election in Iran

Question:
Please tell us your opinion on the Iranian presidential election as well as on the reports that there were shots fired during a rally of supporters of former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Moussavi?

Minister:
I myself have recently visited Iran and I am very concerned about the current confusion there. I am paying close attention to the way the situation is developing. Supreme leader Ayatolla Ali Khamenei has strongly urged the Guardian Council to carefully consider Mr. Mir Hossein Moussavi's complaint. I am paying close attention to whether this matter will be appropriately dealt with moving forward. There have been reports about shots being fired and I hope that this situation will be resolved as soon as possible.

Related Information (Press Release)


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