Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, September 9, 2016, 4:36 p.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: In response to the nuclear test conducted by North Korea, a meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ emergency response headquarters was held today just before noon, and I issued instructions to collaborate closely with countries such as the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and make a prompt response at the United Nations Security Council.
Based on the instructions, Japan had already requested to hold an emergency meeting of the Security Council. Then, at 1:15 p.m., I received a courtesy call from Ms. Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, at 2:00 p.m., I held a telephone talk with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se of the ROK, and at 3:05 p.m., I held a telephone talk with Secretary John F. Kerry of the United States.
I conveyed the stance of Japan that I stated at the beginning of this press conference, and affirmed that there will be further collaboration going forward. The United States side stated that the repeated provocative actions by North Korea are clear violations of international law and are a threat to the stability of the region, that the defense commitment to the US allies is unshakable as President Barack Obama expressed in Laos, that the United States will collaborate closely with Japan and other relevant countries at the Security Council, that the United States will put strong pressure on North Korea, and that North Korea must face the consequences of its own actions. Furthermore, we reaffirmed to collaborate and cooperate closely on a Japan-US and Japan-US-ROK basis going forward. Also, Minister Yun of the ROK and I agreed that pressure on North Korea must be strengthened, and cooperation between Japan, the United States, and the ROK will be strengthened in the international community, including at the Security Council.
I intend to hold telephone talks with other relevant countries and affirm collaboration as necessary. It has been agreed to hold a telephone talk with Secretary Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom today, although coordination is still taking place. Other telephone talks are still being arranged. This concludes my opening remarks.
Reporter: Since the previous nuclear test, provocative actions have been escalating in spite of the imposition of independent sanctions and additional sanctions. Was the effectiveness of these sanctions mentioned in any of the talks?
Minister Kishida: First of all, it was affirmed that there should be collaboration regarding the recent nuclear test, and it will be important to respond in a prompt manner. In any case, I believe that we must continue to work hard to ensure the effectiveness of the individual sanctions by various countries that have already been open to public and the measures based on Security Council Resolutions. I also think that going forward we must look closely at North Korea’s response, the status of initiatives by various countries, and so on, and at the same time, we must continue to thoroughly consider effective ways to elicit constructive actions and positive actions from North Korea.
Reporter: You mentioned that telephone talks with other relevant countries are currently being arranged. The Prime Minister has given instructions for the strengthening of relations with China and Russian. What is the status of arrangements in this regard?
Minister Kishida: Arrangements are of course being made related to China and Russia.
Reporter: I believe that China’s commitment will be especially important.
Minister Kishida: Do you mean in terms of the Security Council?
Minister Kishida: Yes, I believe that at the Security Council, collaboration with relevant countries such as China will be important.
Reporter: What do you think is needed in order to strengthen this commitment?
Minister Kishida: First of all, Japan requested the convening of an emergency meeting. Such collaboration must be carried out in a concrete manner at the fora of the United Nations Security Council meetings. I believe that China has a significant presence because it has deep ties with North Korea historically and economically. In any case, Japan intends to work hard for the implementation of thorough collaboration and dialogues. Dialogues will be held going forward, and we intend to carry these out in a thorough manner.
Reporter: This question is concerning Japan’s independent sanctions. Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, has stated at a press conference that Japan intends to consider further independent sanctions going forward. Specifically, what is the content of the additional sanctions being considered in terms of people, goods, and capital?
Minister Kishida: As I mentioned earlier, currently Japan is currently imposing severe independent sanctions. Based on this, Japan intends to consider effective ways to urge North Korea to take positive actions in the future, while observing the response of North Korea and the activities of various countries. Further independent sanctions are currently being considered. As for the specific content, as I just mentioned, we intend to make decisions regarding independent responses by Japan after carefully watching the response of North Korea and the initiatives of various countries.
Reporter: How do you analyze North Korea’s aim in carrying out the test at this timing?
Minister Kishida: I believe that under the current circumstances, from my standpoint it is difficult to say for certain what North Korea’s intention was. Nevertheless, Japan intends to thoroughly continue information sharing and information analysis with relevant countries. Japan intends to pay close attention to the words and actions of North Korea going forward.