Foreign minister promises to stick to 'Pyongyang Declaration'

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko has reaffirmed that the "Pyongyang Declaration" is the basis for future Japan-North Korea normalization talks.

This was in reply to Yoshioka Yoshinori of the Japanese Communist Party at the House of Councilors Committee on Foreign and Defense Affairs on November 7.

Yoshioka began his questioning by expressing hope that the government persevere in efforts to bring success to the normalization talks, although there may be zigzags.

He said that although some are calling for Japan to walk out of the normalization talks because of North Korea's nuclear development program, Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro signed the Japan-North Korea "Pyongyang Declaration" in September with the existence of such a program in mind.

When the JCP Dietmember said that the "Pyongyang Declaration" could be used to get rid of the enriched uranium development program, Foreign Minister Kawaguchi said, "You are right. We affirmed a solution to this problem under the 'Pyongyang Declaration'."

On the issue of abduction, quoting a foreign ministry official's remarks that the "Japan-North Korea talks will not be successful unless we understand the agony of the abductees' families and the suffering of Koreans in connection with the issue of the sentiment of the past problem," Yoshioka said, "Negotiations will produce results if we stick to reason. I want the government to proceed with negotiations with North Korea based on a clear understanding of the nature of the issue of abductions."

Yoshioka also referred to the unresolved problem of the "settlement of the unfortunate past," which is Japan's colonization of Korea. "The settlement of this question will help further improve Japan's relations with South Korea. South Koreans share the same sentiments as North Koreans," Yoshioka said.

Yoshioka said that the Japanese government must not back down from what then Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi expressed in the statement of August 15, 1995 admitting that Japan in the past caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of other Asian nations.

Foreign Minister Kawaguchi said that the Japanese government will carry on negotiations with North Korea based on the "Pyongyang Declaration," without backing down from the clarity of the Murayama statement. (end)