Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 11:45 a.m. Central Entrance Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: This missile launch by North Korea is a violation of successive United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, and the Joint Statement of the Six Party Talks of 2005. It is another provocative action following the nuclear test on January 6, and is totally unacceptable.
First, we lodged a serious protest to North Korea through the embassy route in Beijing at 10:03 a.m. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting of the Emergency Response Headquarters. At the meeting, I i instructed the Ministry to conduct information gathering and analysis in close cooperation with the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and other related countries, and to call for an emergency meeting of the UNSC and take a leading role in discussions for adopting a strong resolution by the UNSC. We made our request for an emergency meeting at 9:54 a.m. Japan time. I also gave instructions to arrange telephone talks and other contact with counterparts in the United States, the ROK, and other related countries and confirm that we will coordinate closely. Furthermore, I instructed the Ministry to swiftly prepare for a decision on Japan’s independent sanctions, as Prime Minister Abe had instructed and Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga had announced. Japan intends to fully carry out its responsibilities as the country holding the G7 Presidency and as a non-permanent member of the UNSC.
Reporter: Regarding Japan’s independent sanctions that you just mentioned, will they be prepared alongside the UNSC response or come ahead of the UNSC’s actions?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Japan must continue to actively lead discussions within the UNSC toward adoption of a resolution. Prime Minister instructed to consider Japan’s independent response alongside such efforts. We must conduct these discussions too and make firm conclusions. There is no specific decision about whether which should come first.
Reporter: Views appear to split on the launch, with some saying that it was successful while others claim that it failed. What is your analysis?
Foreign Minister Kishida: The Government is doing its utmost to gather various types of information and intends to conduct further analysis. I would like to refrain from commenting on the details or an assessment at this point. I think there might be a time to make the content public in an appropriate manner if necessary, but I am not commenting on such information at least at this point.
Reporter: Do you expect the repeated provocations to bring an end to the Japan-North Korea talks?
Foreign Minister Kishida: When you mention Japan-North Korea talks, are you referring to the abduction issue? (Reporter: Yes.) Nothing has changed regarding the abduction issue being a top-priority issue for the Abe Cabinet. The Government must continue to put its utmost efforts with the aim of having all abduction victims returned to Japan. At the very least, we do not plan to shut down talks and dialogue related to the abduction issue from our side. We intend to make firm efforts from the standpoint of trying to find the most effective way to achieve a comprehensive solution to the abductions, nuclear, missile, and other issues.
Reporter: The missile launch occurred at a point when the UNSC still has not adopted a resolution on the recent nuclear test. What type of relationship do you think the resolution on the nuclear test and the resolution on this missile might have?
Foreign Minister Kishida: The UNSC has been working toward the adoption of a strong resolution since North Korea proceeded with the recent nuclear test. Now the missile launch has occurred. I think the UNSC will continue its discussions toward adoption of a strong resolution while also taking into account the missile launch.
Reporter: Japan and others have repeatedly called on North Korea not to launch a missile. Yet North Korea still went ahead with this action. It appears that no country is capable of reigning in North Korea’s behavior. How do you evaluate this point?
Foreign Minister Kishida: My view is that it is more important for countries to make firm efforts to respond to the situation with the fullest efforts rather than making evaluation.