research activities by Chinese ships,” he said.

Machimura stressed the importance of securing Japan’s natural resources, vowing to maintain exploration of continental shelves and marine resources around Japan.

He added that he would seek to resolve outstanding issues with China through dialogue, despite their differences of opinion on individual matters.

In respect of North Korea, Machimura said the government would take severe action if the country did not respond promptly to Tokyo’s recent protest over Pyongyang’s “insincere attitude” regarding missing Japanese believed abducted to the North.

North Korea gave members of a Japanese delegation that visited Pyongyang in November what it claimed were the cremated remains of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted to the North in 1977 when she was 13. DNA tests proved that the remains were not, in fact, those of Yokota.

Japan will seek an early resumption of six-way talks on North Korea’s nuclear threat, Machimura said.

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