(* 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: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 6:27 p.m.
Place: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Question concerning the issue of the name “Sea of Japan”
- Question concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
- Question concerning the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election
- Question concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
- Question concerning Japan-China Strategic Dialogue
- Questions concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
1. Question concerning the issue of the name “Sea of Japan”
Azumi, Freelance: It is reported that on June 6, in the hearing on U.S.-Korea alliance at the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Chair, Representative Manzullo from Illinois, stated that the names “Sea of Japan” and “East Sea” should be used together. This is not being reported in Japan, but it has been reported in the Korean media. In the IHO Assembly, it was confirmed that the IHO will continue to use solely the name Sea of Japan, and the U.S. official position is the same as that of the IHO. What is your view on the representative’s remarks?
Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba: Ms. Azumi, as you know, Japan’s position is that the name Sea of Japan is the only internationally established name for the sea area concerned. I did hear about the case that you have referred to. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, we made some approaches.
2. Question concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
Li, Hong Kong Pheonix TV: According to today’s report, China has exported missile-related vehicles to North Korea. Related to this report, I have questions. Has the Government of Japan confirmed the fact regarding this issue? Will there be specific actions to take?
Minister Gemba: As I remarked at a Diet session today, I am aware of the press report, I am paying a lot of attention, and I am highly interested in this matter. However, this is pertaining to intelligence and therefore, I think it will not appropriate for me to make comments with regard to the substance of this issue.
But in general terms, as I have been saying from the past, concerning sanctions on North Korea, it is highly important that we implement such sanctions effectively. I have repeatedly stated that it is important to improve the effectiveness of sanction measures. Particularly in the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718, Japan would like to make contributions to ensure the effectiveness of sanctions.
3. Question concerning the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election
Kamide, Freelance: Regarding Okinawa Prefectural Assembly election, this is not mentioned in yesterday’s press conference. Unfortunately, the DPJ lost many seats. I think that is partly because of the base issue and related to the response of the DPJ at the central government. Minister, what do you think about this observation? And regarding this prefectural election, what might be the lessons for the Government of Japan?
Minister Gemba: Compared to the situation which existed four years ago, the environment surrounding the DPJ today has changed, according to my assessment. Particularly at the timing around the change of government, there emerged various issues, and therefore, I would be lying if I say there was absolutely no effect from such incidents. Anyway, I would like to sincerely face all the results of elections.
4. Question concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
Saito, Kyodo News: Regarding the export of military vehicles from China to North Korea, I have an additional question. I will not name a particular country, but in general terms, if a certain country violates the UN Security Council resolution, is there any possibility that, because of diplomatic reasons, Japan would acquiesce to such action? Then, if you take up this as an issue, what might be the possible method that could be taken?
Minister Gemba: I would like to respond to Mr. Saito’s question in general terms. With regard to UN Security Council resolution, there is no possibility that we will give some consideration to a specific country, in order to increase the effectiveness of sanctions on North Korea. However, in general terms, it might be effective in some cases, when we consider how to utilize the information which we have obtained as a result of intelligence activities.
5. Question concerning Japan-China Strategic Dialogue
Kaku, Xinhua News Agency: Yesterday, there was a Japan-China Strategic Dialogue at vice-ministerial level. In the situation that various issues have been raised in Japan-China relations, what is the significance of this strategic dialogue? Were there any specific progress or agreement?
Minister Gemba: As far as I know, in the dialogue, there was substantial and candid exchange of views. Compared to when everything is going smoothly, when we confront with certain problems, it is more important to have candid discussions and communicate in this strategic dialogue. In terms of diplomacy, one of the most important roles is to overcome mutual distrust and break a cycle of misunderstandings.
6. Questions concerning North Korea’s ballistic missile launch vehicles
Yoshioka, NHK: In relation to the previous questions regarding North Korea, do you think that China is steadily implementing related UN Security Council resolutions?
Minister Gemba: I am aware that the government of China has been stating that it is duly observing the UN Security Council resolution. But looking at the overall situation, not limiting just to China, I have been thinking that to what extent efforts are made to fully implement sanctions on North Korea? Japan is making 100% effort for implementation. What about the countries other than Japan? Sometimes I have some degree of doubts. Japan is implementing this resolution in good faith as shown in the fact that the amount of trade is zero between Japan and North Korea. But, in terms of the overall situation, what is the exact degree of implementation of this resolution should be evaluated and the effectiveness must be guaranteed in the sanction committee. Japan is a member of the expert panel, which consists of P5 and the Republic of Korea other than Japan. I think that it is necessary to make further contributions in that context. As you may remember, in relation to the presidential statement, I was asked to make comment on the fact that only three organizations were newly designated as the subject of the sanctions. I answered that the number of organizations is not as important as whether the sanctions are truly effective or not, whether what have been decided are implemented. I remember responding to the question as such. So, I believe that it is important to assure the effectiveness of the sanctions.
Imai, Yomiuri Shimbun: To ensure the effectiveness of the sanction, do you have any particular ideas?
Minister Gemba: It is basically the tasks of the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718. Therefore, the Committee should fully discuss how to increase the effectiveness of the sanctions on North Korea, and not only have energetic discussions, but draw a conclusion from this discussion and to implement that conclusion. That will be crucial.
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