PRESS CONFERENCE WITH DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY
JAPANESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
February 7, 2006
1. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the adoption of a resolution concerning Iran's nuclear issue at the Extraordinary meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Hello everyone, thank you very much for coming. Beginning today we are going to have the Tuesday press conferences at 11:00, not in the afternoon at 14:00 as has been the case. I have eight items in total to announce.
First, there is a statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the adoption of a resolution concerning the nuclear issue of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the Extraordinary meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.
On 4 February, at the Extraordinary meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors held in Vienna, the Board adopted by a majority a resolution concerning Iran's nuclear issue. Japan values the adoption of this resolution and strongly hopes that Iran will take this resolution seriously and respond to it sincerely.
. . .
11. Question concerning visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs Manucher Mottaki of Iran
Q: There are reports suggesting that Japan has invited the Iranian Foreign Minister to visit some time later this month. Can you tell us about the approximate date of arrival?
Mr. Taniguchi: I cannot say at the moment, but it is true that the Japanese Government is going to invite Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki from Iran sometime in the near future. But at the moment I am afraid I cannot tell you when exactly the visit is going to take place. That is part of the ongoing overall good relationship that Japan has with the Iranian Government.
Related Information (Japan-Iran Relations) 12. Questions concerning Iran's nuclear issue
Q: So Japan is against the Iranian Government's position on the enrichment of uranium?
Mr. Taniguchi: It is, yes. That is why the Japanese Government welcomed the resolution of the IAEA as I said.
Q: Does Japan itself enrich uranium?
Mr. Taniguchi: It has nothing to do with what Japan does or does not do. What is important is to comply fully with some of the rules accepted by the international community, notably those set out by the IAEA. Japan has been very much faithful in obeying those rules.
Q: Does Japan understand the Iranian position on this issue?
Mr. Taniguchi: I do not think "to understand" is an appropriate word to use. The Japanese Government has been repeatedly saying to the Iranian Government that it should obey the resolutions of the IAEA and build confidence with the world community before attempting to use nuclear resources for civilian purposes. That is what the Japanese Government has repeatedly mentioned to the Iranian Government.
Q: Does that mean that Japan is in principle ready to go along with possible sanctions on Iran?
Mr. Taniguchi: It is too early to talk about sanctions. What Japan has said to the Iranian Government is that so long as Iran does not stop nuclear-related activities and build confidence with other members of the world community, and most importantly, follow some of the resolutions that have come from the IAEA, it would be inevitable for the issues to be brought to the floor of the United Nations (UN). That is what the Japanese Government has already said a number of times to the Iranian Government.
Q: I read some reactions from some Iranian Government officials. They said that they might go along with the so-called international community if this concern is applied to the whole Middle East, not only to selective countries.
Mr. Taniguchi: I am not sure what stories you are referring to.
Q: I think namely the Arab Republic of Egypt and Iran and almost all Arab countries express concern about the Israeli nuclear programs and even nuclear weapons, but there is no such international pressure or at least Japan has not made moves recently towards this concern.
Mr. Taniguchi: Well the issue in question is Iran, not the State of Israel at this moment. If Israeli issues are not discussed at the IAEA, we would not have a position so long as IAEA resolutions are concerned. I think those two issues should not be mixed together.
Q: But from a standpoint of the nuclear weapons or nuclear programs in at least the Middle East, do you not think that this is an important issue to be raised at any time?
Mr. Taniguchi: If you want me to tell you as a general remark, it is safe to say that the world community has invented many important institutions to safeguard peace and stability in the world, and those include such organizations as the IAEA. To bring about peace and stability in the world, so long as nuclear issues are concerned the IAEA is the institution that all of us, be it Japan, the United States of America (U.S.) or whatever, should rely upon. The IAEA is the place to discuss those issues.
Q: I mean also while we are talking now, there are at least seven countries developing arsenal nuclear weapons but there is no talk about this posing a threat to international peace and stability which you care about. So you give the impression that only Iran is a danger to the international community's peace and stability but you accept that these seven countries have nuclear weapons. Do you think that is a fair position?
Mr. Taniguchi: Well Japan has never said that the Iranian issue is the only issue that concerns the world community, and Japan has demonstrated that. Indeed regarding the North Korean nuclear aspirations, we are actually talking about them with the North Korean side. Also, if you remember Japan has long been a full fledged participant in other institutions, one of which is the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Japan has been taking part in that initiative as well. The aim is similar, which is for us, the world community, to prohibit any nation from calling for nuclear aspirations and intending to get nuclear weapons.
. . .