Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 9:13 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
North Korea Issue
Reporter: The Sanctions Committee for North Korea under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) announced that coal exports, an important source of North Korea’s foreign-currency income, have been at zero since April. I suppose this trend suggests that China is steadily implementing sanctions. Please share your views.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: My understanding is that the UNSC’s Sanctions Committee for North Korea reported that North Korea’s coal exports were at zero in April, as you mentioned.
I have also been told that North Korea’s foreign-currency income from coal exports would drop by 60% from the 2015 level if restrictions on North Korean coal exports were applied in accordance with the UNSC resolution. I think reduction of foreign-currency income is very important in curtailing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development. Japan intends to continue its efforts to apply pressure on North Korea along with the international community and will be monitoring moves by various countries.
Reporter: Some media reports indicate that the Japanese Government has started to consider a new law that allows for the confiscation of vessels that enter Japan’s territorial waters as a measure of its own. Please explain the related facts.
Minister Kishida: Within the scope of the sanctions under the relevant UNSC resolutions, regarding ships, Japan has taken action to prohibit entry of ships to its ports based on the Act on Special Measures Concerning Prohibition of Entry of Specified Ships into Ports. This is the response we are taking.
Japan intends to make an appropriate decision regarding what specific measures would be suitable based on UNSC resolutions, while taking into account discussions by the international community. Nothing else has been decided at this point.
Six Middle Eastern Countries Sever Diplomatic Relations with Qatar
Reporter: I have a question about the situation in the Middle East. Five Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, announced their severance of relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism. I believe Japan has very deep ties to the Middle East in the energy field. What is your assessment of the impact of this action?
Minister Kishida: I understand that six countries have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, namely Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the Maldives. Japan will continue to closely watch the situation. We hope that countries in the Middle East will work together to combat terrorism and take steps to stabilize the Middle East region. Furthermore, Japan’s relationships with Qatar, as well as the six other aforementioned countries, will not change or be affected.