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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Press Conference by the Prime Minister regarding North Korea’s Launch of a Ballistic Missile

May 4, 2022

[Provisional translation]

 
(On Japan’s response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile and on whether or not Prime Minister Kishida intends to discuss responses to this matter during the summit meetings with Italy and the UK)

Today, North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan. In response to this, first of all I gave instructions to provide information to the public and confirm public safety. Alongside this, I have been in contact with Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno, who is serving as acting prime minister while I am away, and I instructed him to take all possible measures in response to the situation. Since 2022 began, North Korea has repeatedly launched missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)-class missiles, at a high frequency. This series of actions by North Korea threatens the peace as well as the security and stability of the region and the international community and is totally unacceptable. It is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and Japan strongly condemns it. We have also lodged a protest against it. We will continue to act in steadfast coordination with the United States and others and engage in all possible means to ensure the safety of the Japanese people. In your question, you mentioned North Korea’s “intentions.” I am unable to say specifically what North Korea’s intentions are, but Japan will do everything in its power to gather all possible information. I believe we must continue to analyze various kinds of information as we gather it comprehensively and deal with the matter in a way that helps to enhance Japan’s preparations.

In the immediate future I have meetings scheduled with the leaders of Italy and the UK, and naturally we will exchange views on regional issues. Among those regional issues, we will of course have an exchange of views about regional issues in East Asia. At that time, in order to have my counterparts understand these tense circumstances in East Asia, I think what will be important is to clearly set out the actual situation, including, for example, North Korea having launched a ballistic missile again today, and urge them to act in cooperation with us in order to maintain a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and foster stability in East Asia. With that thinking, I look forward to our summit meetings.

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