Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Friday, December 1, 2017, 8:46 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Emergency Meeting of the United Nations Security Council
Reporter: The United Nations held an emergency meeting of the Security Council following North Korea’s missile launch. At the meeting, the United States reportedly asked China to halt the supply of crude oil to North Korea. Suspension of the crude oil supply is likely to be a focal point of efforts to strengthen sanctions on North Korea. What is the Japanese Government’s view of this development? Also, does Japan intend to adopt any independent sanctions?
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I believe the emergency meeting of the Security Council demonstrated the unity of the international community. China has influences on North Korea, including in terms of trade, and we have been asking China about the various measures it could take in light of this. I believe the United States is engaging in similar discussions too. Japan will be paying close attention to China’s response.
Reporter: What is Japan’s stance regarding China’s supply of crude oil to North Korea?
Minister Kono: China has been complying with Security Council resolutions to date. There are also various courses of action that China itself could take. Japan will be closely monitoring China’s response.
Reporter: Are you saying that Japan intends to request China to suspend the crude oil supply?
Minister Kono: Our stance is that this is the time to increase pressure.
An Eminent Persons Group for a Substantial Progress of Nuclear Disarmament Reporter:
Reporter: Japan hosted a meeting of an Eminent Persons Group for a Substantial Progress of Nuclear Disarmament this week with the aim of serving as a bridge between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states. However, looking at the reality of the situation, can Japan really act as a bridge when it did not even participate in the discussions regarding a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons? If possible, could you please explain the specific way forward?
Minister Kono: Excellent discussions were held. Japan hopes to hold a second meeting of the Group and make various proposals.
Reporter: Could you elaborate on the specific way forward?
Minister Kono: We will take thorough steps going forward.
Reporter: Each year, Japan issues a draft resolution that is aimed at the elimination of nuclear weapons at the United Nations. However, Japan opposed a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, as I said before. This appears to be a contradiction. Do you expect the Japanese people to understand the Government’s position?
Minister Kono: Our stance is not contradictory at all. I have carefully explained our position, including on my blog, and believe it is well understood by the Japanese people.