The Japanese government has made the analysis that no concrete progress on North Korea’s denuclearization was made under the “September Pyongyang Joint Declaration.” It is stepping up efforts to gather information on what transpired at the summit talks, including the points that were not included in the declaration.
In his news conference on the afternoon of Sept. 19, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated his expectations, stating: “We hope that the points agreed upon at the North-South summit will lead to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We pay tribute to the efforts made by the leaders of the two Koreas to reach this agreement.” On the other hand, he refrained from giving any opinion on the specific points in the declaration.
A leading Japanese government official pointed out that “the U.S. is demanding a road map to denuclearization,” so it is reckoned that the declaration does not meet the U.S.’s requirement. Another senior administration official commented on North Korea’s commitment to dismantle the Tongchang-ri missile launching pad, noting that “in reality, it has a larger number of mobile launching vehicles,” indicating that this will have limited effect in reducing the threat of ballistic missiles.
A senior Foreign Ministry official touched on the inclusion in the declaration of the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, on condition of “reciprocal actions by the U.S.” He said: “The U.S. thinks that North Korea should respond first,” foreseeing twists and turns in the realization of this proposition. Another senior ministry official stated: “Japan and the U.S. are demanding the elimination of all (nuclear-related) facilities. This can hardly be regarded as progress.”
Once Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is elected for a third term as president of the Liberal Democratic Party, he plans to travel to the U.S. before the end of the month to discuss with President Donald Trump steps to be taken from now on.