(* 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, July 3, 2009, 9:06 a.m.
Place: Entrance hall, Third Floor of the Prime Minister's Office
- Opening Statement
- Change in the Implementation Plan of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law (Extension of Dispatch Period) and Results of the Measures taken under the Special Measures Law for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq
- Launch of Short-range Missiles by North Korea
- Election of the next IAEA Director General
- Issue of the Northern Territories
Change in the Implementation Plan of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law (Extension of Dispatch Period) and Results of the Measures taken under the Special Measures Law for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq
A decision was made at the Cabinet Meeting to extend six months the implementation of the Replenishment Support Special Measures Law concerning replenishment activities being conducted in the Indian Ocean. Additionally, the highly praised activities undertaken by the Self-Defense Forces under the Special Measures Law for Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq have been safely concluded and Cabinet approval has been given to report on this at the Diet. The replenishment activities are taking place in the Indian Ocean in very hot weather by the Self-Defense Force and every time I have a Foreign Ministers' Meeting I hear high praise for the activities from foreign ministers of various countries including Afghanistan. Now this has been extended for six months and I hope that the activities will be conducted steadily. As for Iraq, the assistance activities have been concluded and the Self-Defense Forces have withdrawn. From now on, I hope to build a good and close relationship by contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq through assistance such as ODA and economic and business activities.
North Korea launched short-range missiles yesterday. Apart from that, there is speculation that North Korea may launch a mid-range missile. What is the government's response to this matter?
I am certainly aware of yesterday's launch by North Korea. Although this is my personal view, the launch may be related to the ballistic missile technology or other related activities, and in that sense it is a matter of concern. I would refrain from making comments on other developments, including the one you have just mentioned at this point in time, as we are currently collecting information. In any event, Japan urges North Korea to take United Nations Security Council resolutions seriously and comply with them unfailingly.
Ambassador Amano was elected the next Director General of the IAEA. Please share with us your comment as the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet, including myself, had been approaching countries to convince them that Ambassador Amano is the most suitable person for the position. It is very gratifying to know that Ambassador Amano gained more than a two-thirds vote of support last night. Ambassador Amano is to be formally appointed at the meeting of the Board of Governors at 10 p.m. tonight, Japan time, which is 3 p.m. in local time, and the appointment is to be formally approved at the General Conference of the IAEA in September. As such it is not yet an official decision. However, I still believe that Ambassador Amano has gained support from a broad range of nations, including developing countries. Once Ambassador Amano assumes office, I expect that he will work hard for the resolution of issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Taking the winning of the election at the IAEA as an opportunity, is Japan considering specific measures to support the IAEA, including financial assistance?
Japan, as the only country to have ever suffered the devastation of atomic bombings, is leading the efforts of the organization. I think it is natural that Japan strongly supports the IAEA in various aspects, all the more so when Ambassador Amano, a Japanese official, assumes the office of Director General.
Do you mean financial assistance as well?
We shall see how the situation will develop. The decision has not been officially made yet. As far as nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy are concerned, we have President Obama's speech, and I also announced 11 benchmarks (for global nuclear disarmament) in April. In that sense, we must further advance this major global move. Japan must continue to actively play a leading role.
The amendment to the special measures law concerning the issue of the Northern Territories is expected to be enacted during the plenary session of the House of Councillors, which would presumably set off various responses again from Russia. What is your view on the effect that this might give on the upcoming Japan-Russia summit meeting?
The government's position on the issue of the Northern Territories remains unchanged. I think Prime Minister Aso and President Medvedev will hold talks during the G8 Summit and discuss the issue of the Northern Territories, as agreed upon when Prime Minister Putin visited Japan last time. We hope that as a result of the summit meeting we can make a step forward (toward the resolution of the issue of the Northern Territories).
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