TBS report on North Korea deal a lie: Komura

by Reiji Yoshida

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura lodged a protest Monday targeting a major TV station, calling its news report about recent Tokyo-Pyongyang negotiations “a 100 percent lie” and demanding it to be withdrawn.

Tokyo Broadcasting System aired a report Saturday indicating that during his June 13 meeting with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Komura demanded that the ban on the North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 making port calls in Japan be completely lifted.

In a hastily arranged news conference, Komura denied making such a proposal and said the report would send the wrong message to North Korea, thereby damaging Japan’s security situation.

“It’s outrageous (a TV station) loosely airs such a false report,” Komura angrily told the news conference.

In exchange for Pyongyang’s recent agreement to restart an investigation into the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korean agents, the government agreed to partially lift sanctions against the North.

Under the deal, Japan would allow North Korean ships, including the Mangyongbong, to stop at Japanese ports providing it is only to transport humanitarian aid.