(Provisional Translation)

Announcement by Chief Cabinet Secretary on Prime Minister Koizumi's Visit to North Korea

August 30, 2002

On 17 September, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit Pyongyang in North Korea and will hold talks with General Secretary Kim Jong Il. For over half a century since the end of the Second World War, diplomatic relations with North Korea have yet to be normalized, and it can be said that it is the historical responsibility of the Government to resolve the various issues between Japan and North Korea and to normalize diplomatic relations.

At the same time, the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea has to bring about significant peace and stability in the Northeast Asia region. To this end, it is necessary for North Korea to positively respond towards the resolution of the issues, including the abduction cases and security issues, which have occurred during the period that lacks normalcy between the two countries. In addition, in order to alleviate tension on the Korean Peninsula, it is necessary to promote dialogue among the countries concerned.

On the occasion of his upcoming visit to Pyongyang Prime Minister Koizumi will explain to General Secretary Kim about Japan's basic position and he will strongly request a sincere response from the North Korean side. Prime Minister Koizumi has already personally explained the aims of his visit to North Korea to both President George W. Bush of the United States of America and President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea, and in return has received their support for the visit and has heard their hopes for a successful outcome to the talks.

In the recent Director-General level talks between Japan and North Korea, it was confirmed that political resolution would be required to resolve various issues, and the Prime Minister will address difficult issues squarely to resolve them with political resolution and will make the utmost efforts to break through the situation.

The Government of Japan expects that Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to North Korea will lead to the resolution of the various issues and also provide an important opportunity for the normalization of diplomatic relations, while making an important contribution to peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

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