Press Conference by the Deputy Press Secretary, 28 January 2010

  1. Japan's submission to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of its quantified economy-wide emissions target for 2020
  2. London Meeting on Yemen
  3. Questions concerning progress on the Futenma relocation issue
  4. Question concerning a visit to Japan by Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States Wallace Gregson
  5. Question concerning reports that Foreign Minister Okada plans to visit South Korea
  6. Questions concerning the forthcoming report of the Japan-China Joint History Research Committee
  7. Question concerning the research into the so-called secret agreements
  8. Questions concerning the expansion of Japanese exports to China
  9. Question concerning the London Conference on Afghanistan
  10. Questions concerning aid to Pakistan

  1. Japan's submission to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of its quantified economy-wide emissions target for 2020
  2. Deputy Press Secretary Hidenobu Sobashima: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

    Today I have two topics to share with you, and then I will take your questions.

    The first is about Japan's submission to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of its quantified economy-wide emissions target for 2020.

    Although this announcement was made two days ago, on Tuesday, it is very important. So we would like to distribute the press release once again. I think the contents are self-explanatory, so I will refrain from explaining in detail, but just to add that Japan expects that all major economies will submit their targets by the deadline of the end of this month.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. London Meeting on Yemen
  4. Mr. Sobashima: The second topic is the London Meeting on Yemen, held yesterday. This meeting was chaired by the British Secretary of State, Mr. Milliband, and participated in by Foreign Ministers and other representatives from Yemen, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), G8 countries, and others. They discussed the issues of security, poverty, and other issues for Yemen, and they discussed the framework for assistance to the country. I hear that the representatives are unanimous in pointing out the importance for Yemen to tackle issues such as security and political and economic reforms, and also the need for the international community to support the country. From the Japanese side, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fukuyama appreciated the strong determination of the Government of Yemen to tackle those issues, and at the same time he explained Japan's offer to consider cooperation in terms of providing necessary equipment to its coast guard, and also assistance to the Yemen police. He also mentioned that Japan intends to increase the assistance to Yemen.

    In concluding the meeting the chairman issued a statement, which we understand included the follow up meeting for assistance to Yemen and also establishment of the so-called Yemen Friends Process.

    These are the topics from me. Now I would like to take your questions.

    Related Information (Japan-Yemen Relations)
    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Questions concerning progress on the Futenma relocation issue
  6. Q: We have heard that DPJ leader Ozawa was in Okinawa today, and may have met with the newly elected mayor of Nago City. I was just wondering if you could confirm this, and perhaps tell us what was the purpose of the visit and what was discussed, particularly in regard to the forces realignment issue.

    And also, I am just wondering if you can help us to make sense of what seem to be slightly contradictory remarks in relation to the results of the Nago mayoral election. In other words, we have heard from the chief cabinet secretary that local elections will not affect this issue, but at the same time we have heard that the committee in charge of examining the Futenma base relocation will start from scratch, which implies that it has been influenced. I was wondering if you could reconcile these remarks. Thank you.

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you very much for the questions. On the first question, I think I am not in a position to answer. Although I have seen the news, you asked about the purpose of the secretary general of the ruling party, and I am in a position to explain the Government policy. I am not the right person to explain the intentions of the senior officials of the ruling party. But yes, I had the information that Mr. Ozawa went to Okinawa and met the newly-elected mayor.

    On the second question, I am not in a position to add anything to what has already been said by the Prime Minister. I understand he said that, as for the issue of the decision on the conclusion of the base, the Prime Minister has stated that the Government intends to reach a conclusion by the end of May. In Japanese, the Prime Minister and other officials repeated "zero-base," meaning that the Government is open. As for the effect, or how you value the result of the elections, I understand the Prime Minister spoke of the expression of the view of the local people, and he also said that it is very important to try to get understanding of the people in deliberations or in reaching the conclusion on this issue. While I am not in a position to comment on what you said about the differences or the nuances of the statements of the different officials, the official position is reflected by the Prime Minister's statement which was made publicly. What the Prime Minister said is the position of the Government of Japan.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

  7. Question concerning a visit to Japan by Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States Wallace Gregson
  8. Q: I understand that Assistant Secretary of Defense Gregson is on his way here, is what we have heard from the Pentagon, and I am wondering, this would be the first visit since the election on Sunday, I am wondering what the purpose or the expectation of this visit is in terms of how it relates to the Futenma issue.

    Mr. Sobashima: Personally, I didn't have that particular information, although I have the information on the State Department's Assistant Secretary, but thank you very much for sharing the information with me. To that question I just want to explain that, of course, the meetings of senior officials of Japan and the United States are very important, in order to exchange views and understanding, but further than that I am not in a position to comment.

    Of course, and this is just a general comment, the United States is very important, particularly in view of the following. Although you were referring to the situation that the Government is now considering about the base, on January 19 we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japan-US Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, and I hope you read the joint statement by the Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers of the two countries. The text is on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website already. The ministers expressed their determination to build on the achievements to further develop and expand the cooperation between the two countries, so in that context as well, I think, the exchanges of senior officials is very important, but further than that I am not in a position to comment.

    Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

  9. Question concerning reports that Foreign Minister Okada plans to visit South Korea
  10. Q: I would like to ask about the Foreign Minister's possible visit to South Korea. There was a report that Foreign Minister Okada is planning to visit South Korea in early February. Could you confirm that intention?

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you. I am aware of the reports, but I am not in a position to confirm them. If the decision is made then of course we will make an announcement, but we are not in a position yet to make an announcement.

    Related Information (Japan-Republic of Korea Relations Relations)

  11. Questions concerning the forthcoming report of the Japan-China Joint History Research Committee
  12. Q: I have another question. In late December, experts from Japan and China said that they would issue a Japan-China history report by the end of this month. I would like you to refer to what was the significance of this experts' meeting and the significance of issuing this kind of report, despite the fact that they will not announce the parts which the countries cannot agree on, especially on part of the contemporary history. What is the significance of issuing a report excluding the most controversial points?

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you for the question. We believe that this is very important in the sense that the experts of both countries, Japan and China, are now working for the purpose of deepening the objective evaluation of the history, and to promote the mutual better understanding, and for that purpose we appreciate this joint study. As you mentioned, you are quite right that we are expecting the reports, but we understand that the process of issuing the report is rather gradual. By the end of this month further reports will be coming. As for the significance, the Government of Japan attaches great importance to the outcome of this study.

    Q: What about the failure that the experts announced that they cannot announce such historical parts that would include the crackdown in Tiananmen Square, and other recent history parts, and is there any significance despite excluding such controversial points.

    Mr. Sobashima: I have to say that the difficult parts may take longer to have the outcome, but we are still waiting, so it may be premature to predict whether those parts are already excluded or not. But we are still waiting for the reports, and perhaps at that stage then we are in a position to better comment on your question.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

  13. Question concerning the research into the so-called secret agreements
  14. Q: I have another question of a historical nature, and it is about the reports of a Government enquiry into an alleged secret nuclear pact in 1972. I am just wondering what is the status of that investigation at the moment. How is it going, and is there any date for release of the results?

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you. As for the study on what you call the "secret pact," on the 27th, Foreign Minister Okada explained in his press conference that the chairman, Mr. Kitaoka, had explained to Foreign Minister Okada earlier on that day that although it was originally planned to have the report ready by the end of January, because the documents are so voluminous and include very sensitive documents, they need to do the work of the study here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and therefore for the committee to make a responsible report he needs around another month to prepare the report. Therefore Mr. Kitaoka, the chairman of the committee, requested the postponement of the submission, and Foreign Minister Okada understood this and requested Mr. Kitaoka to avoid rushing activities, and hoped that the members of the committee would consider fully the documents, including the consideration for the historical background, and would prepare a good report. Thus the Minister accepted the postponement of the submission. That is the situation.

  15. Questions concerning the expansion of Japanese exports to China
  16. Q: I don't know whether someone has asked this question already today, but Japanese exports to China have increased to exceed Japanese exports to the United States for the first time since World War II. What do you think are the factors behind this change?

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you. It is a fact that the Chinese economy is rapidly expanding, and of course, for that reason, Japan's trade relations with China are expanding. Of course, I am not an expert, so I am not in a position to give you a precise description of the situation, but because of the economic situation in the United States there should be some factors affecting the trade relations between the two countries. But it may be premature to judge that the recent figures will continue permanently. We appreciate China's economic development, and also it is a fact that, as a result, the Japanese trade relationship with China is expected to expand as well, but we also attach importance to the United States and others. We may not conclude a definite trend of what will happen in the future.

    Q: It also has to do with the expanding Chinese market.

    Mr. Sobashima: Yes, the expansion of the Chinese market is one of the reasons, you are quite right.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

  17. Question concerning the London Conference on Afghanistan
  18. Q: I have a question about the International Conference on Afghanistan to be held today in London. There have been reports that Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom will establish a fund that would promote reconciliation between Taliban leaders. How much is Japan going to contribute to that fund, and does Japan plan to send personnel to actually engage in activities for the Taliban reconciliation?

    Mr. Sobashima: I am sorry, but please wait for another day and at the end of the conference the Japanese position and commitments will be made clear. At this point I am just able to explain that Japan is actively participating in the discussions in the meeting, and as for the Japanese assistance, it is under consideration. The final outcome of the London meeting is under consultation by the parties concerned. Perhaps by tomorrow, or the end of today UK time, more concrete results will be known. I am sorry, this is the wrong timing.

    Related Information (Japan-Afghanistan Relations)
    Related Information (Press Release)

  19. Questions concerning aid to Pakistan
  20. Q: There was a conference in Tokyo in April last year about helping the forces fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. I was in that conference, and it was announced that about US$5 billion would be given to Pakistan alone to fight against terrorism. According to my information no serious consideration has been given, not enough amount and help has been given to Pakistan, and out of US$5 billion I have heard that it was only announcements and no significant help has been given by the donor countries.

    Mr. Sobashima: The amount was the contribution by Japan alone or the international community?

    Q: No the whole, according to the news it was mentioned that the whole package was announced in Tokyo, first it was not enough, and second even that one has not been provided.

    Mr. Sobashima: I am sorry to hear that. Perhaps the pledges or announcements were made as an intention to provide. Announcements or commitments up to a certain figure, mean the maximum amount. When all conditions are met, we are able to provide up to this amount, however if some conditions are not met, maybe the amount could be lower. Anyway, this is just a general observation. I am sorry that that is the situation.

    A comment from my side is that the cooperation is the joint work of not only the donors but also the recipients. For the recipient's side, if there is a situation that would attract more cooperation from outside then the smooth implementation of assistance may be possible. Again, this is just a general observation. I am not criticizing Pakistan. My point is that I hope that the purpose of assisting Pakistan will be realized. We hope for the improvement of the situation. I am sorry I may not be answering your question, while I do sympathize with you.

    Q: This is my own observation, and this is what I have been working on for the TV in Pakistan, that donor countries make big pledges, big promises, and when it comes to practical side they do very little.

    Mr. Sobashima: Thank you, I will communicate your views to the divisions concerned.

    If there are no further questions, thank you very much for coming.

    Related Information (Japan-Pakistan Relations )

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