Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Saturday, October 6, 2018, 8:34 p.m. Tokyo
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Honorable Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States, is visiting Japan and paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Abe from 5 p.m. I also attended this, and based on the exchange of views there, I held a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with a further in-depth exchange from 6:20 p.m. for approximately 40-45 minutes. Secretary Pompeo is going to visit North Korea, so I held an exchange of views based on our shared aim of ensuring the complete implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions toward the denuclearization of North Korea. Going forward, while firmly carrying out Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation, we will steadily work toward the realization of the denuclearization of North Korea.
Reporter: What kind of exchange or confirmation did you have regarding the line up until now between Japan and the United States for the continuation of sanctions and a cautious stance on declaring the end of the Korean War?
Minister Kono: We have already confirmed those aspects until now, so we did not repeat anything particular.
Reporter: Did you request cooperation for raising the abductions issue on behalf of Japan?
Minister Kono: During his courtesy call on Prime Minister Abe, Secretary Pompeo stated that he wants to raise the abductions issue in Pyongyang.
Reporter: Is it correct to understand that you were able to exchange views on the specific timing and content of a declaration ending the Korean War, which you have also had exchanges about up until now?
Minister Kono: It was not a matter of a declaration ending the Korean War.
Reporter: Is it correct to understand that you held an exchange of views on a declaration ending the Korean War?
Minister Kono: Generally speaking, it was not a question of having or not having a declaration ending the Korean War, so we did not discuss a declaration in particular.
Reporter: The simulation including a declaration ending the Korean War is tentative.
Minister Kono: I am confirming now that our discussion did not include a declaration ending the Korean War.
Reporter: You have stated before that it would be premature to have a declaration ending the Korean War while we cannot see any progress on denuclearization, so is there still no change now to your thoughts on that?
Minister Kono: There is no change at all.
Reporter: Did you have any exchanges regarding reporting on nuclear facilities or inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)?
Minister Kono: I understand that reporting on nuclear facilities is the first step toward denuclearization, and that would also be true for a situation in which the IAEA is allowed to enter for inspections at any time.
Reporter: Was there confirmation between Japan and the United States this time of the importance of this?
Minister Kono: This is something we have already discussed many times.
Reporter: Did you receive information or an explanation regarding the schedule of the second U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting?
Minister Kono: It is my understanding that the current situation is that there is no particular schedule or other details.
Reporter: Besides North Korea, did you have an exchange of views on the restarting of the sanctions against Iran?
Minister Kono: I also held an exchange today regarding the Iran issue. I cannot comment because it is still not a situation in which I can speak about the content.
Reporter: You mentioned that Secretary Pompeo said he would raise the abductions issue. What specific progress do you expect this to lead to?
Minister Kono: The shared end goal between Japan and the United States is for this to lead to the final and firm resolution of the abductions issue.
Reporter: You met with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho of North Korea in New York recently. Did you discuss that during the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting today?
Minister Kono: I had already conveyed to the U.S. side that I met with Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
Reporter: Did you confirm how you will receive information from Secretary Pompeo following his visit to North Korea?
Minister Kono: Yes.
Reporter: How will you receive it?
Minister Kono: For now, he will contact me if there is any progress.
Reporter: Will that take the form of a telephone talk?
Minister Kono: I believe there would be various exchanges.
Reporter: You stated earlier that the stage is not one of determining a schedule and other details for the second U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. What prerequisites do you think are necessary and what do you expect?
Minister Kono: That is not something I should speak about publicly.
Reporter: Secretary Pompeo touched on trade issues during the beginning of his address at the Prime Minister’s Office. Did you discuss this during the meeting?
Minister Kono: We did not discuss it in particular.