Press Conference 15 April 2005

  1. Upcoming visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the People's Republic of China
  2. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the statement by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China concerning the anti-Japan demonstrations in China
  3. Statement by the Press Secretary on the adoption of the resolution of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights
  4. Statement by the Press Secretary on the adoption of the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism
  5. Upcoming visit to Japan by Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko of the Russian Federation
  6. Grant assistance for the Republic of the Sudan
  7. Grant assistance for the Republic of Cape Verde
  8. Grant assistance for the Republic of Benin
  9. Guests and national/special days of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan
  10. Questions concerning anti-Japan demonstrations in China
  11. Question concerning Japan-Russian relations
  12. Questions concerning the San Francisco Peace Treaty
  13. Question concerning median line in the East China Sea
  14. Questions concerning European Union (EU) arms embargo against China
  15. Follow-up questions concerning Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to China
  16. Question concerning Yasukuni Shrine
  17. Question concerning exploration projects in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
  18. Question concerning Japan-Australia free trade agreement (FTA)
  19. Question concerning upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and Prime Minister John Howard of Australia
  20. Questions concerning situation in China
  21. Question concerning Yasukuni Shrine
  22. Questions concerning Takeshima Island issue
  23. Question concerning upcoming visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  24. Question concerning possible visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to Moscow, Russia
  25. Questions concerning 1995 Statement by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama
  26. Question concerning Japan-China relations
  27. Question concerning reform of the United Nations

  1. Upcoming visit by Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura to the People's Republic of China

    Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima: Good afternoon and thank you very much for coming to the briefing. Today, I would like to make several announcements before I take questions.

    First, Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura will visit Beijing, People's Republic of China on 17 and 18. During his stay in China, Foreign Minister Machimura will have Japan-China foreign ministerial talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing of China to exchange views on such matters as Japan-China relations in general, the North Korean situation, and other issues facing the international community.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  2. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the statement by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China concerning the anti-Japan demonstrations in China

    Mr. Takashima: This is another China related issue. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on the statement by the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China concerning the anti-Japan demonstrations in China which says as follows:

    The Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China twice made statements, on 10 and 12 April, on the current aspect of relations between Japan and China, implying that the responsibility lies with the Japanese side and not with the Chinese side. Such violent acts, however, cannot be justified for any reason whatsoever in the international community today. The Chinese Government is obliged under international law to take responsibility to ensure the life and safety of foreigners, guarantee the legal activities of foreign enterprises and protect diplomatic missions. Expressing such statements, which seem to allow such violence, are to ignore the rule and order of the international community and cannot be said to be the behavior of a responsible government. The Government of Japan claims an apology and compensation for damages and so on from the Chinese side concerning these present incidents, and calls for its faithful responses.

    The stance of the Government of Japan with regard to the war remains exactly the same as has been announced clearly on a number of occasions. The Government of Japan settled the post-war issues legally and properly by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, other bilateral peace treaties and other international instruments. Furthermore in 1995, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II (WWII), the Government of Japan issued a Statement by then Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, clearly expressing Japan's perceptions of history from the moral standpoint. With China, through the Japan-China Joint Communiqué of 1972, the Japan-China Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1978, and the Japan-China Joint Declaration of 1998, the Government of Japan has expressed its profound remorse for the past history concerning the war, which China accepted, leading to the building up of a 30-year friendly relationship between Japan and China. This Japan's stance remains the same, and the Government of Japan intends to continue maintaining and acting upon this stance in a sincere manner.

    From deep remorse for its past history concerning the war, Japan has, during the 60 years of the post-war era, chosen the path of developing as a democratic and peaceful nation in accordance with the basic principle that it would maintain an exclusively defense-oriented policy and would not become a military power threatening other countries, thereby Japan has not once exercised force. In the meantime, Japan achieved economic development amidst peaceful environment, based on which it has made efforts for international contributions. Such post-war steps taken by Japan have come to be highly valued by the international community at large, including many Asian countries.

    On the issue of the perceptions of history concerning the war, promoting mutual understanding through dialogue, instead of extreme actions, will be to the advantage of both countries. The Government of Japan strongly expects the Chinese side to take a proper view of these present incidents and provide thorough and effective measures to prevent any recurrence.

    At the same time, it is extremely important for both the Governments and the peoples of Japan and China to understand and respect each other's situation from the broader perspective of Japan-China friendship, and cooperate with humility and self restraint. The Government of Japan believes that it will be able to gain the understanding of the peoples of both Japan and China on this point.

    This is the end of the statement we issued.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. Statement by the Press Secretary on the adoption of the resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights

    Mr. Takashima: There is another statement which was issued by the Foreign Ministry as a Statement of the Press Secretary on the adoption of the resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which says as follows:

    On 14 April, at the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, a Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK, which Japan drafted and submitted in cooperation with the European Union (EU), was adopted by a majority, as was last year and the year before last.

    This year's Resolution, whose contents are stronger than last year's, for example in requesting the immediate return of the abductee's and urging other United Nations (UN) bodies, in particular the General Assembly, to take up the question of the situation of human rights in the DPRK if improvement of the situation is not observed, was adopted with more votes in support than last year. Japan appreciates the adoption as it demonstrates that the international community has come to share the view that the DPRK's human rights issues including the abduction issue are what the international community in concert should request the DPRK to solve.

    Japan strongly hopes that the DPRK will sincerely listen to the voice of the international community indicated in the resolution and truthfully make efforts for the improvement of human rights including the solution of the abduction issue and cooperation with the Special Rapporteur.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  4. Statement by the Press Secretary on the adoption of the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism

    Mr. Takashima: Another statement was issued by the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the adoption of the international convention for the suppression of acts of nuclear terrorism which states as follows:

    The Government of Japan welcomes the adoption by consensus of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism at the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 April.

    Counter-terrorism is an issue that the international community should tackle in complete solidarity. The Government of Japan considers that the adoption at the UN General Assembly of the Convention, which holds great significance in preventing terrorism using radioactive and other materials, is meaningful in demonstrating such an attitude held by the international community.

    In response to the adoption of the Convention at the UN General Assembly, the Government of Japan will proceed with necessary examinations toward the conclusion of this Convention, and also expects that each state will exert efforts toward that goal.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Upcoming visit to Japan by Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko of the Russian Federation

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about the visit of Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko of the Russian Federation to Japan.

    Minister of Industry and Energy Viktor Khristenko of Russia will visit Japan from 21 to 23 April as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. During his stay in Tokyo, he will co-chair the meeting of the Japan-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs and meet with Japanese Government officials and business leaders of Japan.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)

  6. Grant assistance for the Republic of the Sudan

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about Japan's assistance to the Republic of the Sudan.

    Japan Platform (JPF), the non-governmental organization (NGO) of Japan which is supported by the Japanese Government financially, will provide 280 million yen or approximately US$2.80 million for the humanitarian assistance in Darfur, Sudan. This money will be used to improve the humanitarian situation in this Darfur area, especially for emergency water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and the project on education.

    Related Information (Japan-Sudan Relations)

  7. Grant assistance for the Republic of Cape Verde

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about Japan's grant assistance to the Republic of Cape Verde.

    The Government of Japan decided to provide up to 150 million yen or US$1.50 million to Cape Verde to be used for food assistance in this country. The situation of food shortage is acute because of the drought and poor weather conditions. Because of this situation, the Government of Cape Verde requested financial assistance to purchase rice to save the people.

    Related Information (Japan-Cape Verde Relations)

  8. Grant assistance for the Republic of Benin

    Mr. Takashima: The next announcement is about another grant assistance to the Republic of Benin.

    A grant assistance of 200 million yen or US$2.00 million will be provided to the Government of Benin from the Japanese Government to be used for food assistance.

    Related Information (Japan-Benin Relations)

  9. Guests and national/special days of the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan

    Mr. Takashima: The final announcement is about the visits of dignitaries to the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan for next week. There will be five foreign dignitaries. I will give you their names and the names of the countries in the order of the schedule of national day events.

    Minister of Industry and International Trade Samuel Creighton MUMBENGEGWI of the Republic of Zimbabwe will be visiting Japan from 17 to 23 April, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Maxima of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will be visiting Japan from 17 to 20 April. From the Kingdom of Denmark, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederick and Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary will be visiting Japan from 17 to 21 April. The next dignitary is Prime Minister John Winston Howard of the Commonwealth of Australia will be visiting from 19 to 21 April. Finally, His Royal Highness the Duke of York Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom (UK) will visit Japan from 19 to 23 April. He is the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. They will attend the National Day events at the Expo site.

    Related Information (Press Releas)

  10. Questions concerning anti-Japan demonstrations in China

    Q: I understand that Chinese officials issued a strong advice not to stop all legal demonstrations. Do you think this is a step in the right direction? Secondly, is Japan still sticking to formal apology and compensation from China for what happened last week?

    Mr. Takashima: Last Sunday, when Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon request of Foreign Minister Machimura, Minister Machimura requested Chinese Government a formal apology, compensation, necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of this kind of violence and also the full protection of Japanese nationals as well as Japan-related installations including Embassies and the Ambassador's residence. We are waiting for the Chinese reply. When Foreign Minister Machimura visits Beijing, we hope that some word will be heard from the Chinese side.

    About the measures reportedly taken by the Chinese side, we do not know exactly what sort of actions the Chinese side has taken or is going to take, but we hope that necessary measures will be taken by Chinese authorities to prevent the recurrence of violent actions such as stone throwing or destruction of window panels of buildings, including the Japanese Embassy, Japanese Ambassador's residence and Japanese offices as well as to protect Japanese nationals in China.

    Q: Will the Japanese side make any sort of compromise in order to resolve the situation in China? Will there be any sort of Japanese policy that will accept the notion that responsibility lies with the Japanese side as stated by Chinese authorities?

    Mr. Takashima: Our position is that we are not opposed to the anti-Japanese demonstrations. The Government of Japan appreciates the freedom of expression, and therefore, we are not opposed to that. What we are opposing is the violent actions taken by some of the demonstrators and damage inflicted by the violence, just like what we have witnessed through TV images and so forth. What we are seeking is an official apology on that particular point, compensation for the damages inflicted by this kind of violent actions and also necessary measures to protect the Japanese people there and Japan-related things and to prevent the recurrence of violent actions.

    As for the responsibility of the Japanese side, as it was stated in the Press Secretary's Statement, we do not believe that the Japanese side is responsible for those violent actions at all. We believe that the responsibility lies on the Chinese side to prevent this kind of violent actions, especially against Japanese installations or nationals or Japanese diplomatic missions.

    Unfortunately, there was an incident involving Japanese students who were beaten by Chinese nationals in Shanghai and were injured. This kind of actions should be prevented by Chinese authorities. If this kind of incident happens, then those who are to be responsible are to be accused. Those are the basic positions of the Japanese Government.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

  11. Question concerning Japan-Russian relations

    Q: My question concerns the economic and overall relations between Japan and Russia. As you have stated, Russian Minister of Industry and Energy Khristenko will be visiting Japan. Despite the fact that the political relations between Japan and Russia are not as good as their economic relations, can you say that their economic relations are developing and improving?

    Mr. Takashima: The economic relations between Japan and Russia have been improving dramatically in recent years thanks to the big project of oil and gas exploration in the Sakhalin Island. Incidentally today, it was reported that Toyota Motor Corporation has started considering investing in Russia for the setting up of a new factory.

    Based upon the potentiality that Japan and Russia both have, there is room for further improvement and development. The size of Japan-Russia trade is still one-fortieth of the trade volume between Japan and China. Based upon this notion and others, we hope that improvement of the political relations will further assist in the further improvement of the economic relations between Japan and Russia. Therefore, we attach strong expectation to the visit of Minister Khristenko to Japan. We are also looking forward to Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of Russia's visit to Japan in the end of May and the early realization of the proposed visit of President Vladimir Putin of Russia to Japan.

    Those events and others will certainly help to further improve the overall relations between Japan and Russia which will certainly strengthen the base of further development of economic relations between our two countries.

    Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)

  12. Questions concerning the San Francisco Peace Treaty

    Q: You mentioned the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Can you recall the countries that signed this Treaty?

    Mr. Takashima: Forty five nations and Japan signed the San Francisco Peace Treaty. There is a list of names in alphabetical order starting from the Argentine Republic and ending with the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. There is a list here. Do you have a particular country in your mind?

    Q: Can you see if China is in it?

    Mr. Takashima: China was not among them. Between Japan and the Republic of China, there was a separate peace agreement. The Republic of China at that time was not a signatory of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

  13. Question concerning median line in the East China Sea

    Q: Where exactly is the median line that separates the two countries?

    Mr. Takashima: Japan claims that the median line should be drawn at the same distance from the outer edge of Japanese territorial water and that of China. Let me add that the sound test proved that the gas field which lies in the vicinity of that median line actually lies in the area which crosses the median line. That is the reason why Japan is seeking the data and also suspension of exploration development activities by the Chinese side, and in order to have talks with them. Unfortunately, the Chinese response is not positive yet.

  14. Questions concerning European Union (EU) arms embargo against China

    Q: My question is about the reaction to the fact that the European Parliament has adopted a resolution which would delay the lifting of the arms embargo to China. What is your reaction?

    Mr. Takashima: On the EU embargo on arms exportation to China, the Japanese position has been that it opposes the lifting of the EU embargo on the exportation of arms-related things to China. Incidentally, today, the Special EU High Representative is in town and is talking and explaining the EU position to Japanese Government officials, including Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa. Our position has not been changed, and we believe that the US position is the same. We hopes that the EU side would take those views of Japan and the United States of America (US) into account.

    Q: As a follow-up to this question, there was recently a visit by President Jacques Chirac of the French Republic to Japan. The Declaration of New Japan-France Partnership was signed when Japan and France which stated that there needs to be political dialogue between Japan and France, including issues about East Asia, particularly North Korea. Do you think that this dialogue that we might have in the future will consider this question of the arms embargo to China or not?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, French President Chirac and Prime Minister Koizumi did talk about this possible lifting of arms embargo to China. So between Japan and France, this issue always exists as one of the main agenda. However, there was not any sort of agreement between the two leaders at the time on this issue.

  15. Follow-up questions concerning Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to China

    Q: I understand that what happened in China might have an impact on Japan's aspiration to become a Security council member. When Foreign Minister Machimura goes to Beijing, is he going to ask China to support Japan's position?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, Japan and China have both been discussing the issue of UN reform. Our understanding is that China is also in favor of the reform to be made to the UN system. Therefore, there is a certain common ground between us. Whether or not China would support our candidature for a permanent seat on the Security Council, that still remains to be seen. It seems that the Chinese Spokesman and others have been indicating some sort of a negative view on that. That is one of the reasons why Foreign Minister Machimura will raise the question of UN reform when he meets with his counterpart in Beijing and seek for the clarification of the Chinese position, and at the same time, seek for its support for our candidature.

    Q: I would like to know how much time Foreign Minister Machimura will have to talk with Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing of China because there are lots of problems that you are going to speak about. I want to know which one will be the first choice during the meeting?

    Mr. Takashima: Certainly Japan-China bilateral relations will be discussed thoroughly with the hope that the two foreign ministers will be able to find a way to resolve this rather troubled situation. Other than that, I cannot predict anything. There are other issues to be discussed between two leaders. As I have said, the UN reform would be one agenda, or the North Korean situation is very serious and has to be discussed between Japan and China. As you have said, there are many agenda to be tackled. We will have ample time to do that.

    Q: The Chinese Government have concurred that Foreign Minister Machimura will be very safe when he is over there. What kind of a promise did they give you? Are they going to have a group of police?

    Mr. Takashima: We are confident that the Chinese side would take adequate and necessary measures to protect any foreign visitors, including Foreign Minister Machimura.

    Q: When Foreign Minister Machimura goes to Beijing on Sunday, is he bringing any sort of proposal with him to defuse the situation's tension with China, with regard to the gas exploration or the textbook issue?

    Mr. Takashima: We are thinking about making a kind of an action program for the further improvement of the relations between Japan and China. The details of that action program are being discussed between the officials. I am not sure if it is ready for the signing or issuance at the time of the meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries on the coming Sunday. However, we hope that some sort of content of that action program will be finalized and made public.

    Q: There has been talk this week about the Japanese Government proposing a joint team of educators or experts to review the history of both sides. Would the action program also cover that?

    Mr. Takashima: This is one of the issues proposed by Foreign Minister Machimura. Actually, the officials of both nations are studying it. I am not quite sure if it will be included in that action program.

  16. Question concerning Yasukuni Shrine

    Q: Will Prime Minister Koizumi visit Yasukuni Shrine in light of the circumstances?

    Mr. Takashima: Regarding Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, he repeatedly has said that the purpose of his visit to Yasukuni Shrine is not to worship any of the war criminals enshrined but that he visits there in order to pay respect to the many Japanese soldiers and others who were killed during the war and sacrificed themselves for the post-war reconstruction of the nation. At the same time, he visits to make a vow for peace and make pledges to make further effort to obtain more peace in the world.

    About the future visit of Prime Minister Koizumi to Yasukuni Shrine, he has repeatedly stated that he would consider it in an appropriate manner. We believe that he will make a decision in an appropriate manner.

    Related Information (Historical Issues)

  17. Question concerning exploration projects in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)

    Q: Is Japan prepared to review its decision to license private sector companies to explore undersea resources in the contested EEZ with China?

    Mr. Takashima: On the Japanese decision to accept applications for the right of underwater test drilling, we have just made the decision and applications are now being accepted by the Kyushu District Office of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. So far, we do not have any plan to review it. The procedure has just started and it is in the midst of this new set of procedure.

  18. Question concerning Japan-Australia free trade agreement (FTA)

    Q: Is it likely that both countries agree on the launch of a merits and demerits study on the Japan-Australia free trade agreement (FTA)?

    Mr. Takashima: When the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer of Australia visited Japan recently, he had a talk with the Japanese Prime Minister and also the Japanese Foreign Minister. One of the issues discussed was the possibility of FTA negotiation between our two countries. Both sides agreed that there would be appropriate time for the initiation of discussion of merits and demerits of a FTA between our two countries. Therefore, it is possible that this issue would be raised during the talks of Prime Minister Howard and Prime Minister Koizumi and others and that this would be one of the possible items to be put onto the result of this leaders' meeting. Other than that, I do not have any comment on that.

    Related Information (Japan-Australia Relations)

  19. Question concerning upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and Prime Minister John Howard of Australia

    Q: Will Japan be raising the issue of anti-Japan demonstrations in China with Prime Minister Howard and ask for his support, which was pretty much similar to what was given by the US Department of State?

    Mr. Takashima: The general situation in East Asia will be one of the agenda to be talked about between the two leaders since Japan and Australia have the shared concern on the situation in East Asia. Therefore, the discussion will cover the various issues including the situation in North Korea, the East Asian Community and the East Asian Summit. Also, the Chinese situation may come up as one of the topics to be discussed. Other than that, let's wait and see what will happen and what will be discussed.

  20. Questions concerning situation in China

    Q: There was a report that Japan's Consulate General's Office in Shanghai issued a security alert to Japanese residents in the region. Is it true?

    Mr. Takashima: "Security alert" would not be the adequate word to be used. Actually, what happened is that the Japanese Embassies and Consulate General Offices gave some sort of advice to the Japanese expatriates in their region for security matters. One of the main advice they are giving is not to come close to possible hot spots or troubled areas or possible areas where any violence may occur. There has not been any sort of advice for evacuation or stay at home and keep low profile. Rather, in general terms, advice has been given to Japanese nationals in China to be very cautious.

    Q: There was a report this morning citing the Vice Minister of the Foreign Ministry saying Japan still should consider the option of the joint development of gas field with China. Does the Minister agree with this view?

    Mr. Takashima: The joint exploration was proposed by the Chinese side. What has not been revealed by the Chinese side is the real meaning of joint exploration. We are asking for and seeking the clarification of the idea of joint exploration. If they can give us as we have been requesting for so long, the data of the underwater gas field which has been possessed by the Chinese side, and using that data, they have started their own exploration. Also, suspension of the development activities in order to find out what exactly the structure of underwater gas field would be, because according to our research, the gas field also extends to the Japanese side. Therefore, if they start the actual production of gas using the stations they are constructing, the Japan's natural gas resources would also be siphoned out by the Chinese side. It is not acceptable for us. So joint exploration is one of the ideas we would entertain, but before making any sort of decision of commencement of that sort of study or talks, we need further explanation and also clarification as well as the necessary data to examine what actually is meant by the Chinese side.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

  21. Question concerning possible meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and Chinese leaders in the Republic of Indonesia

    Q: Another local paper reported this morning that Prime Minister Koizumi may meet with his Chinese counterpart in the Republic of Indonesia and that Japan's Foreign Ministry is trying to prepare for that. Is that true?

    Mr. Takashima: Every time Prime Minister Koizumi has an occasion to be with Chinese leaders, wherever that may be, the Japanese Prime Minister will be seeking an opportunity to have a meeting with his Chinese counterpart. Indeed, Prime Minister Koizumi met with President Hu Jintao of China in Santiago, Republic of Chile on the occasion of the 12th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting and Premier Wen Jiabao of China on other multilateral occasions. Prime Minister Koizumi will be looking forward to seeing President if he comes to Jakarta for the Asian-African Summit 2005. Nothing has been decided, and we do not know if this meeting will materialize.

  22. Questions concerning Takeshima Island issue

    Q: Regarding the Takeshima Island issue, why does the Japanese Government not submit the issue to the international court of law for a final settlement? Or is this an agenda or an option in the Government now?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, this issue of Takeshima Island has been raised with the Republic of Korea (ROK) side many years ago when the Japanese side proposed to bring that issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 1954. At that time, the ROK side did not agree with that. It is a set rule that the ICJ would accept the issue when both sides agree to have that issue be examined by the ICJ if there is no pre-agreement on that. In the case of Japan and ROK, there is no such agreement. Therefore, this issue has to be brought in upon receiving acceptance from the ROK side. We are still considering it as a possible means to resolve the issue.

    Q: What was the reason given by the ROK side when they did not accept to lodge this claim to the ICJ?

    Mr. Takashima: I cannot speak for the ROK Government, but simply it was a flat denial.

    Related Information (The Issue of Takeshima)

  23. Question concerning upcoming visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

    Q: Prime Minister Koizumi is going to the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Japanese prime ministers earlier visited four countries at once: India, Pakistan, People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Nepal. Former Prime Minister Mori visited four countries. This time there is a lot of disappointment in my country that the Japanese Prime Minister is going to the region but not visiting Nepal and not visiting Bangladesh. Is there a reason why he is avoiding these two countries?

    Mr. Takashima: I can give you two answers. Number one, no final decision has been made yet, and no official announcement has been issued yet. Therefore, that is a kind of press speculation but there is high expectation among the nations concerned. Number two, we are aware that the invitation has been extended from other countries including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. But time wise, this time, it would not be possible for the Prime Minister to make that extensive trip.

  24. Question concerning possible visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to Moscow, Russia

    Q: This morning Prime Minister Koizumi said that he is going to go to Moscow. Can you confirm that?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, Prime Minister Koizumi has been and still is considering the possibility of attending the ceremony in Moscow to be held on 9 May. However, the Japanese Parliamentary procedure is rather rigid, and he is obliged to have a kind of arrangement and agreement from the Parliament side when it is in session to go abroad. He also has to consider other scheduling issues as well as plans and so forth. Therefore, he has not made the final decision yet. If time allows, he is certainly hoping that he would be able to attend that very historic ceremony.

  25. Questions concerning 1995 Statement by former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama

    Q: You said in your statement that there were few texts and treaties signed in the past to confirm the good relations between Japan and China. You specifically mentioned a statement made by Prime Minister Murayama in 1995. That was a statement by the Government. It was not at all something voted upon at the Parliament. Was there any legal work made in the Parliament to adopt such a resolution?

    Mr. Takashima: There was the resolution adopted by the National Diet.

    Q: Right, but my question is, if I could rephrase it, was it just a Prime Minister's statement? And was it reviewed by Parliament?

    Mr. Takashima: It was a statement issued by then Prime Minister Murayama. It is not the only statement we have issued. On various occasions, we have expressed our deep remorse and deep regret as well as expressed our sincere apology for the damage inflicted by the acts of Japan, especially in Asian countries by colonization or aggression or invasion.

    Q: Do you think it is time that the Parliament make up a resolution in remorse?

    Mr. Takashima: The House of Representatives passed the resolution to learn from the lessons of history and renew the resolve towards peace on 9 June, 1995.

    Q: I would like to clarify the contents of the Koizumi Cabinet E-mail Magazine dated yesterday. The English version says, and I quote, "We are faced with a mountain of domestic and international issues. I will advance reforms from my unswerving stance without fear, without flinching, and without being bound by convention." Does that mean he will advance his agenda in international issues without being bound by convention?

    Mr. Takashima: I cannot speak for him directly, but what he was discussing there was postal reform. This is one of the most important and most controversial political issues of today. Also, there are other issues to be tackled by the Government and Prime Minister Koizumi. Other issues, of course, involve foreign relations with other countries. Of course, he is a law abiding person and certainly, what he is saying is that he does not take action simply based upon traditions or conventional feelings, but he will certainly do what one might say a revolutionary approach or the true reform or change. He is considered to be the champion of change. He has maintained that position ever since he was elected as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and hence, was appointed as a Prime Minister.

    Related Information (Statement by Former Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama)

  26. Question concerning Japan-China relations

    Q: Can I ask, because now a lot of papers in Asian countries are very alert to the Japan-China relationship and this tense situation. Do you have any comments on if things go worse, what will happen?

    Mr. Takashima: We do not want to foresee any sort of worse coming. Rather, we are making effort to improve the situation, overcome this difficult moment and so Prime Minister Koizumi instructed Foreign Minister Machimura to make every effort to discuss thoroughly with his counterpart and other officials of the Chinese Government on the current situation. Through these thorough and frank discussions, we will be able to find the way for the solution.

    The same thing can be said to the relations between Japan and the ROK. Recently, Foreign Minister Machimura met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-Moon of the ROK in Islamabad, and they had a very frank and thorough discussion. We believe that was a step forward instead of backward for the improvement of Japan-ROK relations.

  27. Question concerning reform of the United Nations

    Q: Was the Foreign Ministry disturbed by the comment of Mr. John Bolton that this country could not be accepted into the UN Security Council because of, for example, these problems happening in China right now?

    Mr. Takashima: Actually, my understanding is that when Mr. Bolton visited Tokyo recently, he expressed the US support of the permanent seat for Japan at the Security Council. We still remember his word.

    Related Information (United Nations Reform)


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