Index

Press Conference by Press Sec.
24 February 1995


I. Self-introduction of new Deputy Press Secretary Ken Shimanouchi

II. Announcement of a joint framework document by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland concerning the Northern Ireland issue

III. Dispatch of a Survey Mission on Abandoned Chemical Weapons to the People's Republic of China

IV. Visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolai Kozyrev of the Russian Federation and various issues in Japan-Russian Federation relations

V. Shipment of radioactive waste to Japan

VI. North Korean youth festival




I.   Self-introduction of new Deputy Press Secretary Ken

Shimanouchi 



Acting Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ken Shimanouchi:  Good

afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Although I have already

met most of you, since this is my first briefing session

with the foreign press in Tokyo, I would like to introduce

myself very briefly.  My name is Ken Shimanouchi.  I came

back from a two-year tour in Hong Kong last week, and

replaced Mr. Kishichiro Amae as the Deputy Press Secretary

as of 15 February.  I am looking forward to working with

you, and I am hopeful that my briefing sessions with the

foreign press here in Tokyo will be lively, intellectually

stimulating, and free from blood-letting.  





II.  Announcement of a joint framework document by the

Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and

Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of

Ireland concerning the Northern Ireland issue



Acting Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ken Shimanouchi:  I would like

to read the Foreign Ministry press release: "Statement by the

Press Secretary/Director-General for Public Information and

Cultural Affairs of the Foreign Ministry on the Announcement of

'A New Framework for Agreement,' the Joint Framework Document by

the British and Irish Governments concerning the Northern Ireland

Issue."



"Japan, which has maintained its position of hoping for a

peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland issue, welcomes

the announcement on 22 February by the British and the Irish

Governments of the Joint Framework Document concerning the

Northern Ireland issue -- 'A New Framework for Agreement' --

in which suggestions for a solution through discussion and

negotiation are compiled.  



Japan highly commends the efforts of the two Governments

and, at the same time, expects that the announcement of this

Document, following the "Downing Street Declaration"

announced in December 1993 and the declarations of cessation

of violence by the Irish Republic Army (IRA) and by the

loyalist paramilitary organizations announced in the latter

half of last year, will lead to the progress of discussion

and negotiation toward a peaceful settlement of the Northern

Ireland issue."





III. Dispatch of a Survey Mission on Abandoned Chemical

Weapons to the People's Republic of China



Acting Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ken Shimanouchi:  The

Government of Japan has decided to dispatch to the People's

Republic of China, from 26 February to 13 March, a Survey

Mission on Abandoned Chemical Weapons headed by Senior

Assistant of the Policy Coordination Division Kazuya Ogawa

of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  The mission will

conduct surveys in four cities in China.  In Hangzhou and

Chujiang, in places where chemical weapons are being kept,

the mission will investigate the present condition and the

kinds of abandoned chemical weapons, and then seal and

transport them to a place where they will be stored.  In

Hangzhou and Nanjing, in places where chemical weapons are

buried underground, the mission will conduct on-the-spot

inspection and have discussions on the problems concerning

digging them up for investigation.  The mission, comprising

officials of the Foreign Ministry, the Prime Minister's

Office, the Japanese Embassy in China, the Defense Agency,

and related persons of private companies, will conduct the

surveys in cooperation with China's Ministry of Foreign

Affairs and Ministry of National Defense.  



Q:  On the survey mission to China -- the statement that you

have just handed out says, "related persons in private

companies."  Can you perhaps be a little more specific about

which companies and what kind of people this refers to?



A:  We will be dealing with highly technical issues in this

mission, so we have to draw on the expertise of private

sector people regarding ammunition, chemical substances and

other matters.  I am sorry I cannot be more specific than

that about the private sector members of the mission.



Q:  What is the number of people in the mission?  How many

members are there?



A:  Around 15.



Q:  One question was related to the private companies.  The

other one regards mention of "transport to a place where

they will be stored."  Can you elaborate on this?  Will the

place be in Japan or in China?



A:  My understanding is that this refers to a safe storage

facility somewhere in China. 



Q:  In China?  They have agreed to this?



A:  Yes.  That is my understanding.



Q:  Can I follow up on this?  Would the Government of Japan

or the Diet hold up the ratification of the Chemical Weapons

Convention until this mission is complete?



A:  No.  Of course, this mission is being sent in keeping

with the spirit of the treaty which you just mentioned.  It

has nothing to do with our time schedule for ratification of

the treaty.



Q:  This will be financed by the Japanese side?



A:  Yes.





IV.  Visit to Japan by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolai

Kozyrev of the Russian Federation and various issues in

Japan-Russian Federation relations



Q:  Questions about Foreign Minister Kozyrev's visit to

Japan -- can you say a few words about the agenda of his

visit, and the main points of the discussions?



A:  Right now the two sides are working on the agenda, so I

cannot tell you at this point in time what will be discussed

in the meeting of the foreign ministers.  But, I can take an

educated guess, although this is just guesswork.  Both

sides, of course, will discuss important bilateral issues,

including the territorial issue, which I am sure you are

very well aware of, and of course, international issues

which both sides share an interest in.



Q:  Can we expect any discussions of Russia's participation

in the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO)?



A:  Regarding the KEDO, we have been approaching countries

in the Asia-Pacific region, in Europe, and some oil-

producing Middle East States, to have them participate in

KEDO, since we consider it desirable for the KEDO to have as

wide a participation as possible, but for diplomatic

reasons, I cannot name the countries that we have been

approaching.



Q:  As you know the Russian Deputy Defense Minister will be

a member of the Russian delegation.  Do you sense a special

problem for him?  Will there be any discussions between the

Deputy Defense Minister and the Foreign Ministry or Defense

Agency?



A:  I do not have anything for you on that.





V.   Shipment of radioactive waste to Japan



Q:  On the vitrified waste, two questions on that.  You have

seen this problem which you are undergoing currently -- the

barrage of criticism and things like that.  This has been

going on for more than two years.  Would it be correct to

assume that within the Foreign Ministry or in the Japanese

Government you have discussed alternatives to this, or even

with the French perhaps, or are you going to take this sort

of thing twice-a-year for the next ten years?  There have

been suggestions from Greenpeace and others of better

alternatives to this sort of transportation.  Have any of

these alternatives been discussed internally or with the

French?



A:  The recent decision was announced a few days ago, and I

think you have a copy of the translation of the Foreign

Ministry press release on that decision.  What we are doing

now is executing the shipment of the vitrified residue in

accordance with that decision.  



Q:  About the shipment, the route has been kept secret. 

Some countries have banned the transit of this ship through

their territorial waters; we are not aware of the details. 

But, is it possible that this entire shipment could be

transported only through the high seas -- without any

problem regarding bunkering, refueling, which can also be

done on the high seas -- and come straight to Japan?



A:  I think you are well aware that we cannot disclose any

information regarding the exact route of the shipment, and

in reaching this decision, as mentioned in our press

release, we took, among others, two factors into

consideration.  First is the need to ensure the transparency

of the shipment and to provide information to the public to

the greatest extent possible, on the one hand; and on the

other, to avoid any obstacles to the safe and smooth

transport of the vitrified waste.  We reached a decision to

disclose the name of the vessel as well as the departure

date, but to withhold the route, after careful consideration

of these factors that I have just mentioned.



Q:  There are many countries -- at least 10 to my knowledge

-- which have announced that they would not let this ship

transit through their territorial waters.  Whether they

will, or whether the route doesn't pass through them, we

don't know.  But to avoid all this, has it ever been

considered to ship this all through the high seas rather

than through anyone's territorial waters?



A:  We have been in close touch with the countries which

have expressed their concern about the shipment.  We intend

to continue these contacts, if they prove necessary.  I

cannot disclose the names of the countries with which we

have had these contacts, or the contents of our discussions

with them, except to say that we have told them that the

shipment meets international standards and that it is safe,

so as to dispel any concerns that they may have.





VI.  North Korean youth festival



Q:  On North Korea -- this youth festival which they are

organizing towards the end of April -- the North Korean news

agency has announced that they are expecting all in all

7,000 people from Japan.  Has any contact been made through

official channels with North Korea on this?  Have they

invited anybody, or are you planning to send anybody under

official passport -- not diplomatic passport, but official

passport?  Will there be any Government role in this whole

thing?



A:  I do not have any information on that at the moment.