Internet Press Chat Conference 13 April 2006

  1. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on a bomb attack in Karachi, Pakistan
  2. Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 4) between Japan and the members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)
  3. Japan-US working level meeting on security issues
  4. The First Japan-Russia Mixed Cultural Commission
  5. Food aid to the Republic of Haiti
  6. Questions concerning Six-Party Talks
  7. Question concerning announcement of results of Korean abductees' DNA examinations
  8. Question concerning China's tariffs on auto parts
  9. Question concerning realignment of US forces

  1. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on a bomb attack in Karachi, Pakistan

    Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Let me start today's Regular Internet Press Chat Conference. Today, I would like to make several announcements before I take questions.

    The first is about the bomb incident in Karachi, Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Government of Japan strongly condemns the bomb attack that occurred at the celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 April. The Government of Japan also expresses its deepest condolences to the victims of the attacks and their bereaved families and heartfelt sympathy for those injured.

    The Government of Japan reaffirms its position that terrorism cannot be justified by any reason whatsoever and reiterates its firm condemnation of any type of terrorism.

    The Government of Japan will continue to strengthen its cooperation with the Government of Pakistan in the international efforts for tackling terrorism.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  2. Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 4) between Japan and the members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF)

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next item is that the Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 4) between Japan and the members of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) will be held on 17 and 18 April 2006 in Tokyo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Deputy Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Toshihisa Takata of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will chair the meeting and senior government officials from 16 member countries and regions of the PIF including a minister will be attending.

    In preparation for the PALM 4 to be held in May, a new framework for cooperation between Japan and the PIF member countries and regions will be discussed in the Preparatory Meeting, based on the evaluation of the Okinawa Initiative, which was adopted in PALM 3 (May 2003).

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. Japan-US working level meeting on security issues

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next is about the holding of the Japan-United States (US) deputy director-general level meeting on security issues today, 13 April, and tomorrow, 14 April, in Tokyo. The Japanese side is led by Deputy Director-General of the North America Bureau Kazuyoshi Umemoto of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Director-General of the Defense Policy Bureau Hironori Kanazawa of the Japan Defense Agency, and the US delegation is led by Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense Richard Lawless.

    In the meeting, there will be exchange of views concerning recommendations on realignment set out at the Japan-US Security Consultative Committee (2+2 Meeting) on 29 October 2005.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

  4. The First Japan-Russia Mixed Cultural Commission

    Mr. Taniguchi: The next is about the First Japan-Russia Mixed Cultural Commission which was held yesterday, 12 April, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The Commission was held based on a cultural agreement between the Governments of Japan and the Russian Federation that came into effect in 2002.

    The Commission was attended by Director-General of Public and Cultural Affairs Masaki Okada of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; the Agency for Cultural Affairs; and the Japan Foundation; and on the Russian side by Director of the First Asian Department Konstantin Vnukov and officials from the Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication; the Ministry of Education and Science; the Russia-Japan Society; and the Embassy of Russia in Japan.

    They discussed their respective policies on cultural exchange, evaluation of bilateral cultural exchange, and strategy for further promotion and cooperation of cultural exchange between the two countries. They also agreed that the schedule of the next meeting would be adjusted through diplomatic channels.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Food aid to the Republic of Haiti

    Mr. Taniguchi: The last item is about Japan's decision to extend food aid to the Republic of Haiti, amounting approximately US$3 million (360 million yen). The exchange of notes was done yesterday, on 12 April, in Part-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, between Charge d'Affaires a.i. of Japan to Haiti Sachiko Nakagawa and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Religion Herard Abraham of Haiti.

    It is expected that the program will help relieve the food shortage and thereby stabilize the country.

    Related Information (Japan-Haiti Relations)

  6. Questions concerning Six-Party Talks

    Q: Just today, North Korea's top negotiator to the Six-Party Talks Mr. Kim Gye Gwan held a press conference. Mr. Kim said that if the US does not lift its financial sanctions on a Macao bank, North Korea will build up its deterrence, implying North Korea will create more nuclear weapons. How does the Japanese Foreign Ministry see the latest remark against the US amid a deadlock of the Six-Party Talks?

    Mr. Taniguchi: To the first question, my answer is the following.

    Putting conditions of any sort before the resumption of the Six-Party Talks would not serve North Korea. Implying that North Korea would heighten its "deterrence" against the US is part of its age-old tradition to postpone difficult talks. The Japanese Government will continue to urge Pyongyang to come back to the negotiation table at once without any condition.

    Q: Most of the Six-Party Talks' negotiators were in Japan except for the Russian delegate. Did Japan or the Foreign Ministry make any moves to urge Russia to stay on for bilateral talks or possible Six-Party Talks? If Japan did not, does that mean that Japan from the very first did not really expect that the Six-Party Talks will take place in Tokyo? There were also reports that Japan wanted to mediate between North Korea and the US should there be such a bilateral meeting. Is this so?

    Mr. Taniguchi: It sounds as though you are saying that the Japanese Government was intent from the beginning on holding a "six-party talk" in Tokyo but I must remind you that the discussions were organized by private institutions and the Japanese Government only took advantage of the fact that many relevant officials gathered in Tokyo.

    Russia still is an important part of the framework, and I would suggest that you do not make much out of the lack of opportunity for Japan and Russia to meet bilaterally on this occasion to discuss the six-party framework.

    Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)

  7. Question concerning announcement of results of Korean abductees' DNA examinations

    Q: Another question with regard to the North Korean issue. Japan announced on Tuesday the results of the DNA analyses despite earlier reports that the Government was in the know about the results. The People's Republic of China has criticized the timing of the announcement, which was when the North Korean Six-Party Talks delegate was in Japan. How does the Foreign Ministry see the timing of this announcement? Does this reflect Japan's intent to build up pressure on North Korea?

    Mr. Taniguchi: The Japanese Government made the results known upon receiving them. The timing of the announcement coincided with the visit of the North Korean official.

    It is always the position of the Government that when dealing with North Korea, the Government has to stick to the principle of "dialogue and pressure."

    If indeed North Korea is feeling pressurized by the announcement, I would say that the time is more than ripe for Pyongyang to come clean about the abduction issue and to come back to the six-party framework.

    Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)

  8. Question concerning China's tariffs on auto parts

    Q: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) cited China's tariffs on auto parts in its 2006 Report on the World Trade Organization (WTO) Inconsistency of Trade Policies by Major Trading Partners. Yet when the US and the European Union (EU) decided to file a formal complaint to the WTO over that same issue recently, Japan did not join the complaint, thus passing on an opportunity to join in a united front on the issue. Why did Japan not join the US and EU complaint?

    Mr. Taniguchi: It is an issue of METI. Nevertheless, given that Honda, Toyota, and Nissan are all gearing up their production activities in the mainland, the tariff rate for auto parts without a doubt is among the most important concerns for Japanese auto producers.

    Why Japan has "missed" an opportunity to form a united front against China is something I must take a little bit more time to investigate as it is an issue I am not familiar with to be honest.

    I understand one of China's new policies for the automotive industry puts the same rate of tariff applied for cars to some of the auto parts as well.

    The Japanese Government is very much concerned about the above policy, and we have notified our request on 11 April to the WTO, the EC nations, as well as the US that they accept Japan as a third-party.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

  9. Question concerning realignment of US forces

    Q: Regarding Japan-US talks about realignment, there has been much discussion in the press about how much the Japanese are prepared to contribute towards the cost of moving the 7,000 marines to Guam. What is the latest Japanese negotiating position on this issue? And what chance do you think is there that the agreement will be concluded this week?

    Mr. Taniguchi: This poses a classic challenge for the Japanese Government to strike a good balance between varying interests.

    First, given the priority that we have to proceed as fast and as smoothly as possible with the relocation of US Marine Corps officials and service personnel, it is obvious that the Japanese Government is prepared to shoulder the financial burden.

    Second, at the same time, the smaller our expense will be, the better it is for Japanese taxpayers.

    I am saying nothing to answer your question but to explain the difficulty associated with the discussion. The short answer is that I cannot say much at this point.

    With respect to the second part of your question, I can also say the obvious that given that we have already taken more time than originally thought, we have to come to the conclusion very much soon.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)


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