Press Conference 25 February 2005

  1. Inauguration of the second Qurie Cabinet of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority
  2. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals
  3. Improving human security by drug abuse counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services in Cambodia
  4. Grassroots human security grant aid to Iraq
  5. Dispatch of Japanese officials for the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
  6. Question concerning Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee regarding Taiwan
  7. Question concerning realignment of U.S. Forces
  8. Questions concerning relocation of Futenma Air Station
  9. Questions concerning visit to Japan by Mr. Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan
  10. Question concerning visit to Japan by President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan and Madam Wu Shu-chen

  1. Inauguration of the second Qurie Cabinet of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority

    Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima: Good afternoon and thank you very much for coming to the briefing. Before taking questions, I would like to make several announcements at the outset.

    First, the Government of Japan issued the following statement of the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the formation of the new Cabinet in the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority.

    The Government of Japan welcomes the formation of the new Cabinet in the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority under the leadership of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, Ra'ees of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority. This Cabinet is led by Prime Minister Ahmad Qurie. We hope that this new Cabinet will tackle the reconstruction of an effective and responsible administrative system and that it will lead to further progress in the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    The Government of Japan is committed to extending further assistance for the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority and will make further efforts to contribute toward the advancement of the peace process in the Middle East.

    Related Information (Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Inauguration of the Second Qurie Cabinet of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority)
  2. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals

    Mr. Takashima: The second announcement is about the statement of the Press Secretary on the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals.

    On 24 February, through the embassy channel in Beijing, North Korea sent to Japan a reply to Japan's rebuttal document which was conveyed to North Korea on 10 February, concerning a memorandum as of 24 January from North Korea to Japan on the issue of the abduction of Japanese nationals.

    In the reply, North Korea, stating, "Japan's rebuttal lacks scientific reasoning and is not acceptable at all," and "we have no intention of holding discussions with the Government of Japan," says that North Korea calls on the Government of Japan to return the bone fragments which North Korea claims are a part of Ms. Megumi Yokota's remains as soon as possible and to punish those responsible, and that North Korea will choose to take appropriate actions in response to the "stringent measures" mentioned by the Government of Japan.

    On the information and material evidence in general submitted by North Korea on the occasion of the third round of the Japan-North Korea Working-level Consultations in November 2004, Japan, on 25 December, 2004, reported the test results to North Korea and protested against North Korea's presentation. Although Japan has, since then, requested North Korea to take prompt and satisfying measures, North Korea's response this time is far from meeting Japan's requirements.

    The Government of Japan again urges North Korea to immediately allow the survivors to return home and clarify the true facts. As it has announced already, the Government of Japan will have to take "stringent measures" toward North Korea. Japan reiterates that this will bring no benefit to North Korea. Taking this opportunity, Japan strongly urges North Korea to return immediately and unconditionally to the Six-Party Talks to discuss the nuclear issue and take a positive approach toward its solution.

    Related Information (Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Issue of the Abduction of Japanese Nationals)
  3. Improving human security by drug abuse counseling, treatment and rehabilitation services in Cambodia

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about Japan's assistance for the Kingdom of Cambodia.

    The Government of Japan and the United Nations (UN) today decided to extend a grant assistance of US$1.176 million for the drug abuse countermeasures project of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to be implemented in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

    Through this project, the UNODC aims to establish centres for anti-drug measures, train counselors as well as implement counseling and medical care for the drug abusers. Through this project, the Government of Japan hopes that the spread of unlawful drugs and drug abuse will be eliminated and that the living conditions of Cambodian people, especially street children, those who are associated with the so-called sex business, fishermen, truck drivers as well as young soldiers would improve through the reduction of drug abuses.

    Related Information (Improving Human Security by Drug Abuse Counseling, Treatment and Rehabilitation Services in Cambodia)
  4. Grassroots human security grant aid to Iraq

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about Japan's aid for Iraq.

    The groundbreaking ceremony took place in the Governorate of Al-Muthanna in the southern part of Iraq on 23 February for the Project for the Rehabilitation of Mahdi-Sawa Road in this region. This project, which is to pave and improve the road and bridges for about 20 kilometers through a grant assistance of US$2.0 million from the Japanese Government, will improve the living conditions of the residents.

    At the ceremony in which elementary school children participated, they expressed their joy that their commuting roads would be improved by this project. The Japanese Government officials and members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) who attended the ceremony, were truly pleased to receive a word of "thanks" from those children.

    Related Information (Grassroots Human Security Grant Aid to Iraq (Governorate of Al-Muthanna))
  5. Dispatch of Japanese officials for the parliamentary elections in the Republic of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the participation of Japanese officials in the election observation teams in the Republic of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

    On 27 February, parliamentary elections will be held in both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The Government of Japan decided to dispatch embassy staff members for each election observation team which will be organized by the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). We hope that these two parliamentary elections will be held democratically and fairly so that the stabilizations of both countries will be advanced.

    Related Information (Japan-Tajikistan Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-Kyrgyz Republic Relations)
  6. Question concerning Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee regarding Taiwan

    Q: Why did the Joint Statement issued after the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee (SCC) Meeting or so-called "2+2" Meeting single out Taiwan Strait? Have Japan and the United States of America (U.S.) begun to see the People's Republic of China as a new threat? Does Japan have a new policy for China?

    Mr. Takashima: What is mentioned on China in the Joint Statement of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee, including "the peaceful resolution of issues concerning the Taiwan Strait through dialogue," illustrates Japan's consistent position on the matter. Therefore, the framework of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States of America (Japan-U.S. Security Treaty), Japan's policy toward China and its position on Taiwan remain unchanged.

    Japan's position on Taiwan has been consistent as is stipulated in the Joint Communiqué of the Government of Japan and the Government of the People's Republic of China of 1972.

    The important message in the Joint Statement is to "develop a cooperative relationship with China, welcoming the country to play a responsible and constructive role regionally as well as globally." Japan by no means regards China as a threat but as a "constructive partner" with whom a cooperative relationship should be promoted.

    Japan continues to cooperate with the Chinese side to promote future-oriented Japan-China relations for the peace and stability of the region.

    Related Information (Taiwan)
  7. Question concerning realignment of U.S. Forces

    Q: According to a Japanese press report, Japan and the U.S. will study the possibility of jointly utilizing a Japanese military base by the U.S. Forces in Japan and the Japan Self-Defense Forces. Does this mean there will be more unification between the JSDF and U.S. Forces in Japan?

    Mr. Takashima: In conjunction with the transformation of U.S. Forces overseas, the Government of Japan and the U.S. decided to discuss the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan in accordance with the joint common strategic objective stipulated in the Joint Communiqué issued after the "2+2" Meeting.

    In order to facilitate the possible realignment of U.S. military installations in Japan, the joint use of military installations in Japan by both the JSDF and U.S. Forces will possibly be discussed. This is for the matter of convenience and effective use of military installations, and this does not mean the unification of the JSDF and U.S. Forces in Japan.

    Related Information (Japan-The United States Relations)
  8. Questions concerning relocation of Futenma Air Station

    Q: I have a question on Futenma. There are reports today concerning a possible unification of Futenma. Can you speak a little bit about that, whether you want to confirm or deny those reports? Also, is the Futenma issue being discussed as part of the realignment issue of U.S. Forces or will it be discussed?

    Mr. Takashima: At the recent "2+2" Meeting in Washington, the implementation of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) Final Report has been discussed. Both sides agreed that full implementation of the Final Report of SACO was absolutely necessary, and the Government of Japan is committed to do so. The project of Futenma Air Station is also included in the SACO Final Report, and therefore, the Government will proceed with the plan of the relocation of Futenma Air Station to the Henoko area as scheduled. However, at the same time, talks are going on between Japan and the U.S. on the realignment of U.S. Forces overseas, including those in Japan. There is a possibility that this discussion of transformation of U.S. Forces in Japan might have some sort of abridging point with the SACO Final Report. This is only a possibility, and it has not been explored yet. If that comes, we will then consider the possibility of adjusting the SACO Final Report to the U.S. Forces transformation project. At this time, however, there is no action being taken within the Japanese Government to reconsider the Final Report itself.

    Q: You mentioned just now that the Government will proceed with the relocation as scheduled. As we all know, it has been delayed for quite awhile. Does the Japanese Government have a timeframe?

    Mr. Takashima: We regret the delay, but unfortunately, that is the reality. We will try our best to accelerate the implementation of the project.

    Q: Is there any specific timeframe?

    Mr. Takashima: There is no specific target date yet.

  9. Questions concerning visit to Japan by Mr. Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan

    Q: When Mr. Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan visited Japan in December of last year, he gave a political remark toward the end of his visit. How does the Government of Japan view this matter?

    Mr. Takashima: Mr. Lee visited Japan as a tourist and enjoyed sightseeing as he had planned. Therefore, we see nothing problematic with respect to his recent visit to Japan.

    Q: Mr. Lee has, however, expressed an interest to visit Japan again in the spring or summer. Does the Government of Japan plan to issue a visa for Mr. Lee? What are your comments?

    Mr. Takashima: The Government of Japan has not been informed of this matter, and we will give adequate consideration once we have more information.

    Related Information (Taiwan)
  10. Question concerning visit to Japan by President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan and Madam Wu Shu-chen

    Q: Is it true that the Government of Japan rejected the request of the visit to Japan by President Chen Shui-bian of Taiwan and his wife for the occasion of the 2005 World Exposition?

    Mr. Takashima: We have no information suggesting that President Chen Shui-bian plans to come to Japan. However, we do know that Madam Wu Shu-chen, wife of President Chen, wishes to come to Japan in May of this year.

    The Government of Japan will consider this matter in due course. I would like to add that Madam Wu has visited Japan three times in the past for sightseeing.


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