On Sept. 4, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera met with Fernando Arias, director-general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, the Netherlands. He conveyed Japan’s intention to send Self-Defense Forces personnel to the OPCW as inspectors to step up collaboration with the international organization in the disposal of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and other initiatives in the event U.S.-DPRK consultations on denuclearization make headway.
Speaking to the press after his meeting with Arias at the OPCW headquarters, Onodera stressed that “to ensure the objectivity, the OPCW will play a pivotal role in the inspection of the disposal of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction as an international organization.” On the same note, he added that “the SDF will be able to cooperate with the OPCW by making use of its expertise in handling various contingencies, such as the Tokyo subway sarin attack by a cult group.”
Later Onodera met with Minister of Defense of the Netherlands Ank Bijleveld. The two ministers agreed not to ease sanctions against North Korea unless concrete progress is made toward complete denuclearization. The Netherlands chairs a sanctions committee on North Korea within the United Nations Security Council.
In the meeting, Onodera used materials to showcase that North Korea is smuggling through “ship-to-ship transfer” of goods on the open sea and stressed that “strict sanctions need to be in place.”