(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone

Date: Friday, February 27, 2009, 8:51 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House

Main topics:

  1. Opening Statement
    • Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakasone's Visit to China
  2. The Senkaku Islands and the Japan-US Security Treaty
  3. DPJ President Ozawa's Statement on the US Defense Strategy for Japan

1. Opening Statement

Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakasone's Visit to China

Minister:
My two-day visit to China from tomorrow until Sunday was approved at the Cabinet Meeting just now.

Question:
You plan to hold a Foreign Ministers' meeting in Beijing. At the previous press conference, you stated that the agenda was still under adjustment. Have there been any updates on what will be discussed?

Minister:
There are various issues. I would like to discuss bilateral issues, issues concerning the international community and others. However, details are still being adjusted.

Question:
The issues of the gas fields in the East China Sea and the frozen dumplings incident have yet to be resolved. How are you planning to work on these issues?

Minister:
I plan to discuss these issues as well. It has been some time since the frozen dumplings incident occurred. I hear that the Chinese side is working hard in its investigation, so I would like to ask how it is progressing, and I hope for an early resolution.

Question:
It has been a while since the phrase "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" was first announced. I have the impression that this idea has been repeated as just a phrase, like the concept of "Japan-China friendship." What is your opinion on this?

Minister:
There are issues that will take a long time to move forward with, and a mutually beneficial relationship is not something that can be built in a day. Relationship is built on the accumulation of achievements such as the resolution of pending issues and acts of goodwill. Therefore, I believe that both countries must cooperate and work on each shared issue.

Question:
Given the new administration in the US and the prospective new developments in dealings with North Korea, how will you approach to China?

Minister:
Regarding North Korean issues, we will continue to deal with North Korea in cooperation with the other four countries through the Six-Party Talks as we have done in the past. China, serving as the host country, worked hard last year in this capacity, and I hope that China will continue to take leadership in this area. I believe that this is one of the topics I will discuss during my upcoming visit.

Question:
Concerning the Senkaku Islands issue, we faced an incident involving a Chinese marine research vessel last year. Do you have any plans to bring this up at the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' meeting?

Minister:
As I stated earlier, I plan to discuss various issues.

Related Information (Visit to China by Foreign Minister Nakasone (Overview))

2. The Senkaku Islands and the Japan-US Security Treaty

Question:
Regarding the issue of whether the Senkaku Islands fall within the bounds of the Japan-US Security Treaty, should the Senkaku Islands come under invasion from a third country, would the correct understanding be that the Obama Administration considers the Japan-US Security Treaty to be applied to the islands?

Minister:
The US side has repeatedly stated that the Senkaku Islands fall under the administration of Japan since the reversion of Okinawa to Japan, so Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty should be applied. At yesterday's committee meeting, I made a statement regarding this issue to supplement the Prime Minister's statement. President Obama made a statement to Prime Minister Aso regarding the commitment of the US to Japan's defense including nuclear deterrence based on the Japan-US Security Treaty. Secretary of State Clinton made this clear to me as well, so I believe the US policy will remain as it has been.

Related Information (Basic View on the Sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands)
Related Information (Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements)

3. DPJ President Ozawa's Statement on the US Defense Strategy for Japan

Question:
Mr. Ozawa, the President of the Democratic Party of Japan, made a comment yesterday that the US Navy's Seventh Fleet alone would be enough for the US military presence in Japan. What is your opinion on this matter?

Minister:
I was incredibly surprised. I do not know how carefully Mr. Ozawa thought this through. I do not believe that the US side has ever made any announcement that the Seventh Fleet would be enough and I find it difficult to comprehend Mr. Ozawa's statement.

Related Information (Japan-U.S. Security Arrangements)


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