Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 8:53 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Ballistic Missile Launches by North Korea
Reporter: I have a question about North Korea’s missile launches. The North Korean side announced that the missiles were launched by a North Korean military troop targeting US forces in Japan, and clearly indicated that they targeted Japan. Please explain the Japanese Government’s view of this and the actions it is taking at the United Nations Security Council.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Although I would like to refrain from commenting on individual media reports and comments, Japan must have thorough preparations, including surveillance and monitoring, to be able to respond to any situation. Regarding Security Council activity, Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have requested the United Kingdom, which assumes the presidency of the Security Council, to hold an emergency meeting. Coordination is taking place to hold a meeting soon.
Reporter: North Korea has repeatedly engaged in provocative behavior up to now and received criticism and pressure from the international community each time. It has engaged in yet another provocation this time. Please explain whether sanctions will be strengthened and how Japan will pursue this. Also, please address whether Japan will bolster its missile defense and national defense capabilities.
Minister Kishida: Sanctions against North Korea made some effect and continue to have an effect considering difficult economic conditions in North Korea. What is important now is strict implementation of sanctions and responses by related countries based on the adopted UN Security Council resolutions. We must continue to call on related countries to conduct strict implementation. The Security Council has the North Korea Sanctions Committee and experts panels regarding implementation. It is important to work through these mechanisms to encourage countries on implementation.
Regarding Japan’s own response, Japan must constantly be reviewing measures from the standpoint of what is most effective while monitoring North Korea’s reaction and other aspects.
As to Japan’s national security response, Japan obviously must be ready to respond to any situation. It must collect and analyze information and be prepared with sufficient alertness.
Reporter: You explained the need to be ready for all situations in the national security response. Some LDP politicians suggest that Japan needs to be more active, such as having an ability to attack the source, which it currently lacks, and THAAD for missile defense. What are your thoughts?
Minister Kishida: While there might be various discussions within the LDP about the issues you just mentioned, the Government’s position is what has been explained.
Japan has not changed its position, though within this context it must always be reviewing what can be done and what needs to be reinforced.
Japan-US Summit Telephone Talk
Reporter: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump of the United States had a telephone talk this morning. While I think there were remarks on cooperation to deal with the North Korea issue, please summarize the significance of what was confirmed at the country leader level and your thoughts.
Minister Kishida: I have not received a detailed report of the content yet. However, it is very important for the leaders of Japan and the US to stay closely in touch regarding this situation. I think this demonstrates the US commitment to security in East Asia. I will confirm the details later.
Reporter: I think emphasis is being given to strengthening collaboration between Japan and the ROK, in addition to Japan and the US. While it is not directly related to this issue, doesn’t the continuation of Ambassador Nagamine’s temporary return to Japan present a hurdle to efforts to strengthen security cooperation and collaboration between Japan and the ROK?
Minister Kishida: We made sure that we are responding in a way that does not disrupt Japan-ROK security cooperation. Nothing has been decided yet regarding a return by Ambassador Nagamine. We will make a comprehensive assessment.