Asahi highlighted the disclosure by several GOJ sources that Foreign Minister Kono explained Japan’s readiness to provide technical assistance for the denuclearization of North Korea when he held a trilateral meeting with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts in Seoul on June 14 after the Singapore summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. The GOJ is reportedly prepared to dispatch nuclear engineers and scientists who have been involved in the decommissioning of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant based on the judgment that the dismantling of nuclear-related facilities in North Korea will involve operations under a high radiation environment and that Japan’s expertise will be useful since the U.S. does not have much experience dealing with nuclear accidents domestically. According to the report, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Ford exchanged views with MOFA officials on the Japanese proposal when he visited Tokyo last week. FM Kono plans to visit Vienna in early July to discuss with senior IAEA officials the details of Japan’s possible technical contributions. The daily added that Tokyo will continue to hold discussions with Washington on the details of Japan’s cooperation since North Korea may refuse to host Japanese experts.
According to Nikkei, FM Kono, who is currently visiting Indonesia, commented on Japan’s possible personnel contributions to DPRK denuclearization by telling the press yesterday: “A very large number of professionals will be needed when North Korea takes its first steps toward denuclearization in a serious manner…. Secretary of State Pompeo will hold consultations with the DPRK on how to move forward with the denuclearization.”