(* 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: Friday, June 19, 2009, 9:22 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House

Main topic:

  1. Tracking of a North Korean vessel by the US Military

1. Tracking of a North Korean vessel by the US Military

Question:
There have been reports in the media, on CNN TV in the US and from other sources, that the US navy is tracking a vessel flying the North Korean flag which is believed to be carrying nuclear material and missile parts. Please tell us what information the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has on this matter as well as what communication there has been from the US Government in regard to this.

Minister:
I am aware of the media reports. We are in close communication with the US military on a regular basis. However, I would like to refrain from answering as this concerns information gathering.

Question:
Does this mean that you cannot say anything concerning information gathering, even whether such an incident is currently taking place or not off the coast of China, in waters close to Japan?

Minister:
This concerns another country as well as our information gathering capability. I will decline from commenting in consideration of these factors.

Question:
If such an incident is taking place, is Japan prepared to be able to cooperate proactively in terms of information gathering and in other aspects?

Minister:
It is the duty of every UN Member State to implement the UN Security Council Resolution. Japan also, must thoroughly act when necessary.

Question:
If the US navy is tracking a North Korean cargo vessel at this time, is it correct to assume that Japan is of course cooperating with the US?

Minister:
I will refrain from answering that.

Question:
Does this mean that, in the event that the North Korean vessel is forced by the US military to enter a Japanese port, preparations for a legal framework allowing Japanese customs officers to inspect the vessel's cargo are not yet ready?

Minister:
That is a hypothetical question. I cannot answer it at this point.

Question:
UN Security Council Resolution 1874 states that the flag State shall direct the vessel to proceed to an appropriate port. What would you do if North Korea instructed the vessel to enter a Japanese port?

Minister:
That is a hypothetical question. Were such an event to take place, we would make a decision at that time.

Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)
Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)


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