Internet Press Chat Conference, 13 July 2006

  1. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's congratulatory message to Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste on his appointment
  2. Statement by Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the bomb blasts in the Republic of India
  3. Visit to Japan by Mr. Gunter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission (in charge of enterprise and industry)
  4. Telephone conversations related to North Korea's missile launches
  5. Japanese official development assistance (ODA)
  6. 2nd Japan-Mexico Cultural Summit
  7. 3rd Public Forum for the UN Reform
  8. Questions concerning Japan's reactions and responses to diplomatic talks involving North Korea
  9. Question concerning possible buildup in Japan's defense capability

I. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's congratulatory message to Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste on his appointment

Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Let me start today's Regular Internet Chat Press Conference. It has been an eventful week but as usual let me make several announcements before taking questions.

On 10 July Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sent a congratulatory message to Dr. Jos Ramos-Horta, the new Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, on his appointment.

Prime Minister Koizumi said in his message that Japan hoped Dr. Ramos-Horta would take able leadership for the restoration of laws and order of Timor-Leste from turmoil and that Japan intended to offer its utmost cooperation for Timor-Leste to overcome the crisis.

Related Information (Press Release)

II. Statement by Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the bomb blasts in the Republic of India

Mr. Taniguchi: Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivered a statement on the Bomb Blasts in the Republic of India. In his statement Mr. Aso said, "The statement is as follows: We are deeply shocked by the bombings in Mumbai and Srinagar, India, on 11 July (Tue) which have resulted in many deaths and casualties. The Government of Japan expresses sympathy for those killed by the bombs and sends condolences to the bereaved families. We also express sympathy for those injured and pray for their early recovery. We strongly condemn these bombings which constitute inexcusable terrorist acts targeted at innocent people. Such terrorist acts cannot be justified by any reason, and the perpetrators of the attacks should be brought to justice. The Government of Japan will continue to strengthen our cooperation with the Government of India to tackle international terrorism.

Related Information (Press Release)

III. Visit to Japan by Mr. Gunter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission (in charge of enterprise and industry)

Mr. Taniguchi: Mr. Verheugen is currently visiting Japan and scheduled to leave on Saturday, 15 July. One of the purposes of his visit is to attend the 8th EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table held in Tokyo from 13 to 14 July.

Related Information (Japan-EU Relations)

IV. Telephone conversations related to North Korea's missile launches

Mr. Taniguchi: Regarding North Korea's missile launches, telephone conversations took place between the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs and the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom (UK), the Kingdom of Denmark, the Hellenic Republic, the Slovak Republic, the Republic of Congo, the French Republic, the United States of America (US), and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Also, Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the luncheon hosted by Ambassadors of the Latin America and Caribbean Countries on 12 July and stressed that the early adoption of a UN resolution would be of the utmost importance.

Related Information (North Korea's Missile Launch)

V. Japanese official development assistance (ODA)

Mr. Taniguchi: On 13 July the Government of Japan decided to extend the Assistance for Joint Program for the Support of Human Security in Honduras Project totaling US$1.28 million (equivalent to approximately 142.85 million yen).

Related Information (Press Release)

VI. 2nd Japan-Mexico Cultural Summit

Mr. Taniguchi: From 20 to 21 July the 2nd Japan-Mexico Cultural Summit will be held in Kanazawa City. On 21 July a public symposium for citizens will be held at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa.

Related Information (Press Release)

VII. 3rd Public Forum for the UN Reform

The 3rd Public Forum for the UN Reform co-hosted by the Japan NGO Network on UN Reform and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be held on 25 July. Mr. Shintaro Ito, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, will deliver the opening remarks. There will be press availability for this event. Should you want to attend, please give us a call.

Related Information (United Nations Reform)

VIII. Questions concerning Japan's reactions and responses to diplomatic talks involving North Korea

Q: Hello Mr. Taniguchi. I've seen reports stating that talks between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea did not see any breakthroughs. Neither have talks between People's Republic of China and North Korean government officials. What is Japan's reaction to both talks? Have you been informed through official channels about the outcome of the talks?

Mr. Taniguchi: Hello Ishida-san. Thank you for your question. It is very much unfortunate that all the well-intentioned diplomatic efforts seem to have fallen onto deaf ears on the North Korean side. It is my understanding that given this situation it has made it all the more important for the international community to speak clearly with one voice and to pass the strongest worded resolution at the United Nations Security Council as soon as possible.

Q: So does that mean Japan will not try to find common ground with China and Russia in the United Nations (UN) Security Council? That is, it will not change the draft it has prepared?

Mr. Taniguchi: Frankly, as it is an ongoing process I cannot tell you anything for certain. But I must repeat the most important principle about this matter which is that North Korea's brinkmanship diplomacy involving dangerous materials should not go unscathed yet again.

Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)

IX. Question concerning possible buildup in Japan's defense capability

Q: There have been comments made by Mr. Fukushiro Nukaga, Minister of State for Defense, and Foreign Minister Aso suggesting the necessity of building Japan's defense capability for a preemptive strike against threats. Will there be a committee or some kind of a discussion group set up soon to talk about the possibility?

Mr. Taniguchi: The answer is NO. Furthermore, no one has actually talked about a "preemptive" attack. I do not think I need to tell you the ABCs of the Japanese constitution. What they talked about is a possible case in which Japan is already being attacked or about to be attacked by an enemy force clearly intent on attacking Japan. Under such circumstances every nation as part of its natural right is entitled to get rid of the danger. In the case of Japan it has sought and is seeking and will seek not to have any such circumstances using diplomatic means and diplomatic means only. As far as Japan's weapon system is concerned, I should tell you that Japan rid itself of any attack capabilities such as cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and long-range canons. The fact that some of the remarks made by Japanese leaders have been dubbed as making a drastic step forward in order for Japan to have a "preemptive" attack capacity has been most unfortunate.


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