Wednesday, June 13, 2012 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
- Media reports on China's vehicle exports to North Korea for use in the transportation and launch of ballistic missiles
- Current situation in Syria
REPORTER: I have a question about a front page article in the Asahi Shimbun, which states that last year in August, China exported vehicles for use in the transportation and launch of ballistic missiles. It is reported that the Japanese Government confirmed this export in October last year but did not disclose the news publicly. What are the facts of this case?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I am aware of the report. This is an issue that Japan has also been paying attention to. However, as specific exchange of information on individual cases relates to intelligence matters, I would like to refrain from making further comment.
REPORTER: If this report is true it would be the case that the export was in contravention of the United Nations Security Council resolution that imposes sanctions on North Korea. Are the actual facts of this matter something that cannot be denied?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: First of all, as I have just stated, I will not make any comment on the facts of the matter about the media reports. However, with regard to your reference to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution, the resolution in question is 1718, and in Paragraph 8 a) it is stated that the export to North Korea of any battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, combat aircraft, warships, missiles or missile systems is prohibited. In addition the resolution also prohibits, as a specific item, the export of vehicles that are designed for the use of rockets for military and launch purposes beyond certain specifications.
REPORTER: On a related note, you have just stated that you are aware of the press report on this matter and that the Government of Japan has also been paying attention to the situation. From around when did the Government start paying attention to this case?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Given that this is an intelligence matter I cannot give a specific response, but I will answer your question in general terms. The Government of Japan strongly believes that the measures set out in resolutions of the UNSC should be complied with. If it is the case that Japan acquires information that suggests a UNSC resolution has been contravened, the Government will deal with the situation in cooperation with other countries concerned. The Government believes that the Sanctions Committee established under the UNSC is capable of making an appropriate response. Whatever the case, the Government of Japan will continue to cooperate closely with other countries to ensure that the international community, including China, implements the UNSC resolutions steadily and comprehensively.
REPORTER: At the current point no measures have been taken to raise this issue with the UNSC. Does the Government of Japan consider that research of this matter has not been sufficiently conducted?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I will respond to this question also in general terms. If it is the case that a UNSC resolution has been contravened, the Government believes that the Sanctions Committee established under the UNSC is capable of making an appropriate response. In order to ensure the effectiveness of measures against North Korea, the Government of Japan will continue to cooperate closely with other countries concerned, including in relation to measures taken by the Sanctions Committee. As Japan is not a member of the Sanctions Committee, I would like to refrain from making comments concerning the specific content of communication with other countries. This is the stance of the Government.
REPORTER: I have a question concerning the situation in Syria. For the first time a senior-ranking UN official has referred to the situation in Syria in terms of "civil war." What is the recognition of the Government and what will your response be?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: You are referring to reports on comments made by a senior-ranking UN official. The tragedy in Syria has continued to unfold over the course of the last 14 months, with violence escalating to now claim the lives of even children. The Government recognizes that the situation has reached a serious level and believes that it is necessary for the international community to make a concerted response. This is an issue that will probably continue to be raised in the forum of the G20, and coordination is underway to hold bilateral summit meetings at the G20 summit. Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community and will step up pressure on Syria and take necessary measures, including the provision of humanitarian assistance.