Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Wednesday, January 6, 2016, 12:48 p.m. Minister’s Audience Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening remarks

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, North Korea announced that it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test. This provocative action by North Korea is a clear violation of successive United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks, and a grave challenge to the peace and safety of this region and the international community, and the Government of Japan strongly condemns it.

Earlier I convened the first meeting of an emergency response headquarters, chaired by myself as Minister. At that meeting I issued the following instructions. First, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put all its efforts into gathering information and coordinating with the relevant countries, such as the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Second, to immediately lodge a protest with North Korea through the Beijing route. Third, to ask the UNSC to convene an emergency meeting. The Government of Japan believes a new resolution should be sought. And fourth, to coordinate telephone talks with the foreign ministers of the relevant countries, such as the United States and the ROK. These are the instructions I issued. In light of that, I have invited Ms. Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, to MOFA at 2:30 p.m. today, and intend to confirm close cooperation between Japan and the United States.

Japan is the G7 Presidency holder this year. Additionally, it has also assumed a seat on the UNSC from this month. As the G7 Presidency holder and a member of the UNSC, Japan intends to firmly fulfil its responsibilities concerning the peace and stability of the international community.

Questions and answers

Reporter: North Korea announced it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, but how does the Government of Japan view the facts of that announcement?

Minister Kishida: North Korea announced it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, and the situation is that we are continuing to confirm the facts of that announcement.

Reporter: Issues of concern remain between Japan and North Korea, such as the investigation into the victims of abduction. What impact do you think this announcement will have on those issues?

Minister Kishida: Given that the nuclear test was carried out, the Government of Japan will also make efforts in the UNSC, but alongside that I think we must also consider Japan’s independent responses. In the course of doing that we also intend to consider the point you just raised.

Reporter: Will there be a further strengthening of sanctions?

Minister Kishida: The Government as a whole intends to consider specific responses, I believe.

Reporter: This announcement concerned a hydrogen bomb, not an atomic bomb. Wishfully or subjectively, is the possibility of a hydrogen bomb conceivable?

Minister Kishida: In any event, this announcement took place, however, I believe we must continue to rigorously confirm the facts of that announcement while coordinating with the relevant countries. We will continue to rigorously confirm the specific facts.

Reporter: Was it a powerful blast in terms of size?

Minister Kishida: We are currently confirming matters such as that.

Reporter: Did Japan receive advance notification this time?

Minister Kishida: I have no knowledge of any such advance notification, etc.

Reporter: Were you aware of this situation beforehand?

Minister Kishida: The Government of Japan has engaged in gathering information in a fully committed way, but I am not aware there was any information about this nuclear test beforehand.

Reporter: In regard to the consultations between Japan and North Korea, if Japan proposes resuming or strengthening sanctions to the UNSC, then naturally the consultations between Japan and North Korea are highly likely to shut down for a certain period or the conceivable future. Does the Government view this as inevitable?

Minister Kishida: As I mentioned earlier, in light of this nuclear test I believe we will also consider Japan’s independent responses. Where specific responses are concerned, the Government as a whole must carefully sort through, confirm and consider its responses, I believe.

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