Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 9:28 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Explosion at a Concert Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom
Reporter: There was a major explosion incident in Manchester in the United Kingdom. Media sources report many casualties and injured, and it is suggested there that it might have been an act of terrorism. Please explain what you know about the situation and whether any Japanese nationals were affected.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: My understanding is that an explosion occurred at a concert arena in Manchester in the United Kingdom on May 22, local time, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries, and local authorities are currently investigating the situation, including the possibility of terrorism. I would like to express my condolences for the people who lost their lives and sympathies for those who were injured.
Regarding your question on whether Japanese nationals were affected, the Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom is currently checking whether any Japanese nationals were affected.
Reporter: Are you saying that you are not aware of any such information at this point?
Minister Kishida: There is no information about Japanese victims at this point. It has not been confirmed.
Ballistic Missile Launches by North Korea
Reporter: I have a question about North Korea. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) issued an emergency press statement in response to North Korea’s repeated missile launches. Can you please share your comments? Secondly, North Korea has called for volume production of missiles. In this context, what are your thoughts about the need for further UNSC sanctions, including suspension of oil supply, and what do you envision as possible sanctions by Japan?
Minister Kishida: Japan welcomes the UNSC press statement issued on the morning of May 23, which was the afternoon of May 22 in New York, that strongly condemns the ballistic missile launch on May 21 and demands that North Korea not conduct further nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches.
This press statement demonstrates the unified stance of the international community that it does not accept North Korea’s nuclear and missile development activities. Japan intends to continue to work closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to strongly urge North Korea to refrain from provocative actions and strictly and fully comply with UNSC Resolution 2321 and other obligations.
Additionally, the UNSC plans to hold an emergency meeting on the morning of May 23, local time, at the request of Japan, the United States, and the ROK.
As to further sanctions and Japan’s own measures, our current intentions are to steadily ensure the effectiveness of the UNSC resolutions and rigorously implement our own measures. From this perspective, we are considering the possibility of introducing so-called “catch-all control” in the Act on Special Measures Concerning Cargo Inspections, etc. We believe the review should take into account what is necessary and what would be effective.
Reporter: What is your view of the necessity of the international community adding new sanctions, such as halting oil supply to North Korea?
Minister Kishida: The latest ballistic missile launch has reinforced for me once again that pressure is necessary. As I just stated, we need to now ensure that there is rigorous implementation of UNSC resolutions and the independent measures of various countries. Regulating oil exports and other actions would be a further step after these actions. With regard to further steps, as I just stated, we view that the necessary measures must be considered after rigorous implementation of resolutions and other measures.
Detention of Japanese Nationals in China
Reporter: Six Japanese nationals remain under detention in China since March 2. Please explain what the Japanese Government knows about the actions claimed to be illegal and the Government’s response going forward.
Minister Kishida: The Chinese side provided notification of detentions of six Japanese male nationals with three each in Shandong and Hainan Provinces in March 2017. The Japanese Government is providing appropriate support from the standpoint of protecting its nationals. I would like to refrain from commenting on the details. In cases of detentions of Japanese nationals by Chinese authorities for harming China’s national security, Japan is firmly communicating its concerns over the fact that it is not necessarily clear what behavior is regulated, calling for suitable protection of the rights of the detained Japanese nationals and fair treatment in the judicial process, and requesting treatment in accordance with the Agreement on Consular Relations Between Japan and the People’s Republic of China, such as allowing consular contact. The Japanese Government intends to continue to provide appropriate support from the standpoint of protecting its nationals.
Tero-to-Junbi-Zai (the Offence to Criminalize an Act in Furtherance of Planning to Commit Terrorism and Other Serious Crimes)
Reporter: Today is a key juncture for whether the bill establishing Tero-to-Junbi-Zai will pass the House of Representatives. Please explain once again the need for early passage of this bill as Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs managing affairs related with treaties.
Minister Kishida: I as Minister would like to refrain from commenting on the Diet’s deliberations and the handling of the bill because these are decisions of the Diet. However, I view that the bill now being debated is a necessary domestic law for the conclusion of the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime that has already been concluded by 187 countries worldwide, and whose prompt conclusion is sought by the UNSC and United Nations General Assembly. I will be closely monitoring the handling of this bill based on this view.