Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers' Meeting (Summary)
On Friday, February 22, for approximately 70 minutes from 3:45 p.m. (EST), during his visit to Washington, D.C., Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida held a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The outline of the meeting is as follows (attending on the U.S. side were U.S. Ambassador to Japan Roos, State Department Spokesperson Nuland and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Yun, among others; attending on the Japanese side were Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Sasae and Press Secretary / Director-General for Press and Public Relations Yokoi, among others):
1. Japan-U.S. Relations
(1) Invitation to Secretary Kerry to Visit Japan
Minister Kishida extended an invitation for Secretary Kerry to visit Japan. In response, Secretary Kerry stated that he would like to visit Asian countries, including Japan, at an early date.
Upon the instruction of the Japanese and U.S. leaders at their Summit Meeting, both ministers shared their views that the two sides would follow up on bilateral security and defense cooperation in wide-ranging areas, including the discussion on the review of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, using the 2+2 Meeting.
Regarding the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, the two ministers confirmed that both sides would continue communication between the diplomatic authorities based on the discussion at the Summit Meeting. Touching on his visit to Okinawa the previous weekend, Foreign Minister Kishida stated that it was important to develop the Okinawa Consolidation Plan without delay, and requested cooperation by the United States.
(3) Space and Cyber Cooperation
Foreign Minister Kishida stated that space and cyber cooperation was an important area of bilateral cooperation relating to both security and economy. The two ministers welcomed the scheduled launch of comprehensive bilateral dialogues in the near future.
Regarding space, both ministers shared their views on the need to accelerate negotiations on an agreement for Space Situational Awareness (SSA).
With regard to cyber, Foreign Minister Kishida stated that progress had been made in information sharing and cooperation in research and development within the framework of the Internet Economy Dialogue, and the two ministers shared their views to deepen cooperation between the two countries.
(4) Youth Exchanges
Foreign Minister Kishida stated that youth exchanges would be the foundation of Japan-U.S. relations that would continue for several decades into the future and he introduced the launch of a youth exchange program involving approximately 5,000 people between Japan and the U.S., stating that he hoped to make it a fruitful project by cooperating with the U.S. side. Referring to the declining number of Japanese students studying in the U.S. in recent years, Secretary Kerry stated in response that the U.S. would like to cooperate with Japan on youth exchanges.
(5) Child Custody (Hague Convention)
Following Secretary Kerry’s reference to the issue, Foreign Minister Kishida explained that process of the ruling parties regarding the Hague Convention and a bill on relevant domestic law to implement the Convention had been completed. He further explained that the administration would submit the bill to the Diet at an early date and endeavor to gain approval as a top priority. In response, Secretary Kerry welcomed it.
2. Asia-Pacific Situation
(1) Japan-China Relations
Foreign Minister Kishida explained Japan’s intention to address relations with China from a broad perspective in an effort to develop a Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests. Then, he requested understanding of the United States on Japan’s position on the Senkaku Islands issue and a solid commitment to the Japan-U.S. Alliance.
Foreign Minister Kishida also expressed gratitude to the United States for reiterating its position that the Senkaku Islands were subject to coverage by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and that the United States would oppose any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration over the islands. In response, Secretary Kerry confirmed a solid commitment to the application of the treaty and appreciated Japan’s self-disciplined response toward the issue of Senkaku.
(2) North Korea
Foreign Minister Kishida stated that acts of provocation by North Korea such as the recent missile launch and the nuclear test this month were extremely regrettable and that any further provocations cannot be condoned. From the viewpoint of following up discussions at the Summit Meeting, Foreign Minister Kishida stated that Japan, the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) should respond in a more concerted manner than before. He praised the leadership displayed by the United States toward the adoption of a new U.N. Security Council resolution, and added that Japan would continue to cooperate with the United States on this matter. In response, Secretary Kerry stated that the United States shared the concern expressed by Foreign Minister Kishida, pledging to continue Japan-U.S. cooperation through the United Nations and to further strengthen cooperation among Japan, the United States and the ROK.
On the abduction issue, Foreign Minister Kishida conveyed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s determination to resolve it during his tenure. He expressed gratitude for the understanding and support by the United States, and requested continued cooperation.
3. Global Issues
(1) Middle East Peace Process
Secretary Kerry stated that he would like to revitalize the Middle East Peace Process through his visit to the region scheduled in the near future and added that the U.S. expected Japan’s engagement and cooperation in this context.
Foreign Minister Kishida expressed concern over the stagnation of the peace process, and urged both Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at an early date. He also stressed the importance of encouraging both sides to refrain from any action that would affect the process. He stated that Japan was planning to grant Palestine approximately $40 million as additional aid, including financial support, in the near future to help ease its dire fiscal condition.
Foreign Minister Kishida stated that he was gravely concerned about the worsening of the humanitarian situation in Syria and its spreading to the whole region. He noted that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad who disregards the sacrifice of civilians had lost trust of the international community and that he should step aside. In addition, Foreign Minister Kishida stated that Japan hosted the Friends of the Syrian People International Working Group on Sanctions last year in Tokyo to increase pressure by the international community and that Japan was planning additional humanitarian assistance equivalent to $65 million in the future. He added that Japan would like to closely collaborate with the U.S. by assisting the organization of opposition groups and by promoting other reconstruction assistance so that post-Assad Syria would not fall into confusion.
(3) Situation in Mali
Secretary Kerry appreciated Japan’s planned assistance for Mali equivalent to $120 million. Foreign Minister Kishida appreciated the United States’ substantial contribution to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).
(4) Counterterrorism Cooperation
In light of the incident in Algeria in which Japanese and American lives were lost, Foreign Minister Kishida proposed that Japan and the United States cooperate with each other to assist the countries in the region through the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), a U.S.-led multilateral framework, and Japan-U.S. Counter-Terrorism Consultations. The two ministers agreed to keep contact on this issue.
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