Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Friday, June 2, 2023, 10:47 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

North Korea’s Launch of a “Satellite” Using Ballistic Missile Technology

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about North Korea’s launch of a military reconnaissance satellite. North Korea announced two days ago that it launched a rocket mounted with a military reconnaissance satellite. Could you tell us how the Government of Japan will respond to the matter, including whether it will request a public meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)?

In addition, North Korea has announced that it will conduct a second launch as soon as possible. When does the Government expect the next launch to take place?

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: North Korea’s series of actions, including the launch using ballistic missile technology on May 31, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community and are absolutely unacceptable.

Any such launch, even if referred to as a “satellite,” is a violation of relevant UNSC resolutions that ban any launch using North Korea’s ballistic missile technology.

While I would like to refrain from disclosing the details, we believe North Korea may engage in further provocations, including launching a “satellite.”

In addition, following the launch you just mentioned, Japan, the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and other countries requested a public meeting of the UNSC. The dates are now being arranged so that we can hold the meeting promptly.

Japan will continue to work closely with the United States, the ROK, and other countries in urging North Korea to comply with relevant UNSC resolutions and advocating this position to other countries at the UNSC.

Issue of Abductions by North Korea (Japan-North Korea High-level Consultations)

Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I would like to ask about the Japan-North Korea summit meeting. At the May 27 Citizens’ Rally to Demand the Immediate Return to Japan of All Abductees at the Same Time, the Prime Minister indicated that Japan is willing to hold high-level consultations that report directly to him in order to realize summit-level talks between Japan and North Korea. Who will be the Government’s negotiator for these high-level consultations? Additionally, North Korea once again expressed its view that the abductions issue is settled and stated that there is no reason for North Korea and Japan not to meet. What are your thoughts on North Korea’s intentions behind its comments?

Minister Hayashi:I will refrain from disclosing the details of what Japan is urging North Korea as it may have implications for our future negotiations.

We are aware of the reports regarding the statement by North Korea that you just mentioned. As I have stated before, I would like to refrain from answering about North Korea’s intentions and my reaction. In any case, Japan’s response to North Korea is as the Prime Minister stated at the Citizens’ Rally on May 27.

That is, the Government of Japan seeks to normalize its relations with North Korea through comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues, and settling the unfortunate past, in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration of 2002. In particular, the abduction of Japanese nationals, an issue whose resolution has time constraints, is a human rights issue about which we cannot let our mindfulness dwindle for even a moment, as the families of the victims continue to age. We will continue to do our utmost to boldly tackle the issue to realize the return of all the abductees to Japan at the earliest possible date.

Release of “A Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy” by the United States

Kyodo News, KatsuradaI have a question about the United States’ strategy for space diplomacy. On May 30, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) released its first-ever strategy for space diplomacy outlining the United States’ diplomatic strategy in the field of space. It emphasizes multilateral cooperation centered around the Artemis Accords, which Japan is a signatory of, and identifies China and Russia as competitors that threaten security in space. Please share with us your assessment of this strategy and tell us once again how Japan and the United States will be cooperating in the space field.

Minister Hayashi:We are aware that, on May 30, U.S. time, the U.S. DOS released a document entitled, “A Strategic Framework for Space Diplomacy,” which outlines the U.S. diplomatic policy in the space field.

The document sets forth that the United States, together with its allies and international partners, will maintain a rules-based international order and promote sustainable and commercial use of space, among other matters. The U.S. side has explained this to us repeatedly, including at the Japan-U.S. Comprehensive Dialogue on Space, a forum where the Governments of Japan and the United States carry out wide-ranging discussions on space policy. We highly value the release of the strategy.

Between Japan and the United States, Secretary of State Blinken and I signed the “Framework Agreement between Japan and the United States of America for Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space” this January. Through this agreement and other measures, we expect a further deepening of Japan-U.S. space cooperation. In addition, Japan will continue to work closely with the United States at the United Nations and other fora toward creating international space rules.

Arrangement of Candidates for Yamaguchi Prefecture’s Constituencies for the House of Representatives Election

Yomiuri Shimbun, Yoda:I have a question related to political affairs. The Convention of the Federation of Yamaguchi Prefecture Liberal Democratic Party Branches is scheduled to be held on June 4. It is expected that the party’s arrangement of candidates for the coming House of Representatives election will begin in earnest. You are one of the parties to this matter. Please share with us your reaction.

Minister Hayashi:I am aware that the Yamaguchi Federation and others are leading the discussions on the arrangement of candidates. I intend to closely watch over the developments and act accordingly.

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