Press Conference, 18 July 2006
- Announcements and documents available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
- Visit to Japan by Mr. Ian McCartney, Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK)
- Questions concerning possible additional sanctions by Japan against North Korea
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Good afternoon, let me begin. I will not say much. Already uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are such items as the Group of Eight (G8) Saint Petersburg 2006 Chair's Summary, the Report of the India-Japan Joint Study Group, and G8 Saint Petersburg Summit 2006: Official Documents. Also, the statement by Mr. Taro Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1695 on the Launch of Missiles by North Korea as well as the statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, which basically welcomes the announcement of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.
II. Visit to Japan by Mr. Ian McCartney, Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK)
Mr. Taniguchi: Other than that, today Mr. Ian McCartney, Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK), is now visiting Japan. In the morning today he met with Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. Also this morning at 10:30 here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. McCartney met representatives from the families whose members were abducted by North Korea.
There are a couple of others, but since they are all minor items I will stop here. Do you have any questions please?
Q: A question about North Korea. After the resolution was passed there have been a lot of media reports that Japan is considering additional sanctions against North Korea. I just wanted to confirm if Japan or anyone else has started considering additional sanctions and what type of sanctions will be used?
Mr. Taniguchi: One of the possible sanctions would be to use the revised Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law (Foreign Exchange Law). The Foreign Exchange Law was revised in 2004 and made capable to launch a sanction against a foreign country on the ground that there would be a Cabinet decision which is later to be endorsed by the Diet (Parliament). Under this framework the Ministry of Finance is going to make approval for transactions of funds between Japan and the nation that Japan wants to impose sanctions against. As you know, the Foreign Exchange Law stipulates that all transactions should be free, with the exception of such cases as involved in terrorist activities and actions named specifically by the Cabinet decision. In such cases the Ministry of Finance is going to be made able to put restrictions on transactions and flows of funds. More specifically, you will need to get approval for each and every case of transactions of money and funds with the country singled out, in this case North Korea.
But first and foremost you will need to get the Cabinet decision, and I am not sure at this point whether the Cabinet is really considering this. But, given the strong wording from the United Nations (UN) Security Council you should not be surprised if the Cabinet is actually considering this. In addition to that there are a number of legislators that are considering having another legislation that would further enhance the power of the Japanese financial authority to restrict the flow of funds between Japan and North Korea. But it is a matter still being discussed by the members of the Diet and there is no such law yet enacted by the Diet which is more powerful than the one that is already available, which is the Foreign Exchange Law.
Q: For these two considerations-using the revised Foreign Exchange Law and probably making a new law-is the position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs one of support for both of these actions?
Mr. Taniguchi: Given the UN Security Council and given the fact that North Korea has rejected its acceptance, in my view it is going to be almost inevitable for the Government of Japan to think hard about imposing further sanctions if they are approved.
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