(* 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 Koichiro Gemba
Date: Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:05 a.m.
Place: In the Diet
- Opening Remarks
- (1) Release of a Presidential Statement by the United Nations Security Council in relation to the Launch of a Missile by North Korea
- (2) Concerning the Experts’ Meeting on the Functions of Diplomacy and Security Think Tanks
- Questions concerning the Issuance of a Presidential Statement by the United Nations Security Council in relation to the Launch of a Missile by North Korea
- Questions concerning the Statements of Tokyo Governor Ishihara on the Senkaku Islands
1. Opening Remarks
(1) Release of a Presidential Statement by the United Nations Security Council in relation to the Launch of a Missile by North Korea
Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba: I welcome the issuance of a strongly worded Presidential Statement by the United Nations (UN) Security Council late last night.
Japan is of the opinion that, from the perspective of “deterrence”, the strongest possible message should be sent in terms of form, contents and timing. At the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Ningbo, and at the G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Washington DC, I exerted every possible effort toward this end. On this point, I think that it was very meaningful to cooperate with the U.S. Secretary of State Clinton. I also think that good coordination was achieved in New York. Furthermore, I held talks in Ningbo with Foreign Minister Yang of China, and after returning from the G8, I had telephone talks with him. I think that I was able to make approaches by good discussions in an effective timing.
It is my recognition that most of Japan’s views are reflected in the message of the UN Security Council.
(2) Concerning the Experts’ Meeting on the Functions of Diplomacy and Security Think Tanks
Minister Gemba: We have decided to establish an experts’ meeting on the functions of Diplomacy and Security Think Tanks, chaired by President of Center for International Public Policy Studies Naoki Tanaka.
I have proposed Network Diplomacy and Full-cast Diplomacy. Diplomacy and Security Think Tanks are important to conduct diplomacy with the entire resources of Japan. I hope that in this opportunity Chairman Tanaka and other experts will deepen discussion on the role that think tanks ought to play and will give us valuable proposals.
2. Questions concerning the Issuance of a Presidential Statement by the United Nations Security Council in relation to the Launch of a Missile by North Korea
Noguchi, Nippon Television: I would like to ask you about the Presidential Statement by the United Nations Security Council. You previously said that it was important not only to condemn North Korea’s action but also to deter further provocative actions. In that respect, how do you evaluate the Presidential Statement?
Minister Gemba: I think it markedly reflects the position of Japan. It includes a stronger message than the statement issued in 2009. For example, specifically in the last part, it shows the determination of the Security Council to take action accordingly in the event of a further provocative action or nuclear test. I am not saying that the statement could deter such actions completely, but it certainly is a strong and clear message.
Noguchi, Nippon Television: Does the action of the Security Council include additional sanctions?
Minister Gemba: I would say it includes the addition of items subject to sanctions rather than another sanction. This statement includes additional sanction items by the international community, which I think were not included in the 2009 statement.
Noguchi, Nippon Television: What kinds of items are examined? Could you give me some examples?
Minister Gemba: I cannot provide any information at this point, as each country is expected to submit its own items to the Sanction Committee. This will not work without consensus, and I think that each country is currently in a process of selecting and preparing such items.
Noguchi, Nippon Television: I suppose you have started considering Japan's own sanctions following the launch. Could you explain to us about the current situation?
Minister Gemba: The same question was asked a few times in the Diet’s Committee yesterday. There are two types of sanctions. One type is the sanctions that will be imposed with the consensus of the international community. The other type is sanctions imposed by individual country. Your question is regarding the latter, and as for the individual sanction, I think that while taking into account the movement of the international community, we should consider the best approach to solve various concerns about North Korea, examining the matter comprehensively. I don’t think we should have predetermined assumptions.
Yoshioka, NHK: Regarding North Korea, in terms of the format, only a Presidential Statement was issued but not a resolution. How do you evaluate this point?
Minister Gemba: As I said earlier, and as I have been saying this all along, we need to send a strong and clear message in terms of its form, content and timing. We also need to take appropriate actions. If we had insisted to the end on adopting a resolution, there would have been the strong possibility of dilution of and even delayed issuance of the message. Therefore, I am convinced that the Presidential Statement should be appreciated in terms of its form, content and timing, judging from a comprehensive perspective.
3. Questions concerning the Statements of Tokyo Governor Ishihara on the Senkaku Islands
Tosa, Asahi Shimbun: Governor Shintaro Ishihara of Tokyo Metropolitan Government stated in a speech that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government would like to purchase the Senkaku Islands. How do you take this? Also, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and China, and I think the Governor’s statement will undoubtedly have an effect on this, but how do you take this issue?
Minister Gemba: I am aware of the news report to a certain extent, but at this time I do not know the details or facts of what the Governor talked about or how he said it. Therefore, I would like to refrain from answering your question at this point. At any rate, the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan. This is an undeniable fact both historically and in terms of international law. And Japan maintains effective control of the islands. I think it is as simple as that.
Ishida, Yomiuri Shimbun: In relation to that, did the Tokyo Metropolitan Government inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or government officials in advance that it was proceeding with such a matter?
Minister Gemba: I, at least, have not been informed about anything in particular.
Hanamura, TV Asahi: The Governor of Tokyo stated in his speech something like “the government is not doing anything. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reliable. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will do this to protect the national territory of Japan.” What do you think about this as the person in charge of foreign affairs?
Minister Gemba: I really have not heard the Governor’s statement directly from him at all, so I wonder if it is appropriate to argue against it. I think that it is not the case at all that we are doing nothing.
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