Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 4:32 p.m.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

(1) Attack on Civilians in the Republic of Mali (near Boni, Mopti Region)

Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: The attack against a bus, which took place near Boni, Mopti Region, of the Republic of Mali on 25 January 2018 (local time), killed 26 civilians from Mali and Burkina Faso, including women and children. The Government of Japan expresses its deepest condolences and extends its heartfelt sympathy to the Government of Mali, the Government of Burkina Faso and the bereaved families. The Government of Japan offers sincere prayers for the victims.

No act of terrorism is justifiable for any reason. The Government of Japan firmly condemns all forms of terrorism. The Government of Japan expresses its strong solidarity with the Government of Mali, the Government of Burkina Faso and their respective peoples, and is determined to contribute to the peace and security in Mali and the Sahel region, in cooperation with the international community.

(2) Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on Palestine

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: An Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on Palestine will take place today, January 31, in Brussels. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Manabu Horii is attending from Japan. Norway and the EU called for the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting to be held in light of recent conditions in the Middle East peace effort.

The AHLC was established by the international community to coordinate assistance among the international donor group for Palestine following the Oslo Accords of 1993. It is the only regular meeting in which the major donors gather and discuss assistance for Palestine. The Committee is chaired by Norway.

Peace and stability in the Middle East is directly related to peace and economic prosperity in the world, including Japan. Peace in the Middle East is a core issue for the region. Foreign Minister Kono visited Israel and Palestine at the end of December 2017, and both sides expressed high hopes for Japan to play a further role in the Middle East Peace Process.

Commissioner-General Krähenbühl of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East recently visited Japan and requested Japan’s continued cooperation for Palestinian refugees and UNRWA.

Japan is the only Asian member country to the AHLC, which is a meeting of major donors. Our participation offers an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Japan’s presence in the Middle East Peace Process and send a proactive message to the international community.

Japan intends to continue to actively assist Palestine and steadily implement the “Kono Four Principles,” which set out Japan’s engagements in the Middle East as part of the Peace Process.

(3) Japan’s Friendship Ties Program

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: During his recent visit to China, Foreign Minister Kono greeted a total of approximately 120 Chinese youth group members and educators just before their visit to Japan. These young people are currently in Japan. Additionally, university students from the Republic of Korea, university students from the 10 Pacific Island countries, and university students and young researchers from Malaysia are visiting Japan as part of the Friendship Ties Program.

Comments by Foreign Minister Kono at the Conference of the Ambassadors

Asahi Shimbun, Tajima: Foreign Minister Kono stated at a recent conference of the Ambassadors to Asian countries that it is not possible to explain the Ministry’s policy with the media present and that the next meeting will not include the media. Please explain your views, as Foreign Press Secretary, regarding these comments and how the Ministry intends to handle similar meetings in the future.

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: To date, the Ministry has secured opportunities for the press to cover comments by the Minister at a conference of the Ambassadors. We intend to continue to provide some manner of media access, including giving the media the chance to learn more about the Ambassadors. The Ministry intends to review ways to accomplish this while also taking into account the recent points raised by the Minister.