(* This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only. The original text is in Japanese.)

Press Conference by Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahiko Koumura

Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2008, 6:07 p.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Incident of Health Hazard Thought to be Caused by Chinese-made Frozen Dumplings
  2. Japan-Australia Foreign Minister Talks

1. Incident of Health Hazard Thought to be Caused by Chinese-made Frozen Dumplings

Question:
What kind of discussions did you have with Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs He Yafei of China?

Minister:
Are you interested in the incident surrounding the dumplings? With regard to the dumpling incident I stated that, "Food safety is the paramount concern of the people. This is the case not only in Japan, but also in China. I would like a thorough investigation to be conducted into the cause of the incident, in order to prevent a reoccurrence." In response Assistant Minister He explained that, "It is most regrettable and I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to those who have been afflicted. The Chinese side has taken measures to identify the cause and imposed measures such as halting the exports of such products. Measures are going to be implemented, including by investigative authorities, to identify the cause."

Question:
There was talk of the possibility of joint Japan-China measures to identify the cause. What kind of measures will be taken?

Minister:
As a matter of course we will take various measures to ascertain the cause in Japan, and the Chinese authorities will do the same, so we will be cooperating in areas where cooperation is called for.

Question:
Was the issue of food safety raised at last year's Japan-China Summit Meeting?

Minister:
It was. Therefore, since there has been a specific incident, and now based on the occurrence of a specific incident, we will make further specific investigations into the cause, from the perspective of ensuring that such an incident never happens again.

Question:
In your opening remarks you referred to the dumplings, you had mentioned it was "regrettable." What was the reaction of Assistant Minister He to that? I could not see his face at the time.

Minister:
He listened with a serious expression on his face.

Question:
Do you think he understood the seriousness of public reaction in Japan and the stern opinions with regard to food safety?

Minister:
I think it was natural that he would understand this. He understands it and it is also a matter of grave concern for China too. For that reason he announced that investigative authorities have already been set to work on the incident.

Question:
Will you discuss this topic again with Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi of China or other personnel if he visits Japan?

Minister:
Until we know how far the investigation into the cause of the incident has progressed and what measures have been implemented to prevent reoccurrence at the time, I cannot say what will be discussed.

Question:
The Chinese side has already made an initial response, but do you think this incident will have an impact on Japan-China relations?

Minister:
I do not know about that. As the issue of food safety is a matter of great concern, I imagine there will be various impacts at the national level, among the people. However, since this does not mean that diplomatic relations between Japan and China will be adversely affected, what both countries are to do is cooperate to identify the causes and take measures to prevent a reoccurrence.

Related Information (Japan-China Relations)

2. Japan-Australia Foreign Minister Talks

Question:
In your meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith of Australia today, will the whaling issue be raised? Specifically, what kind of talks will you be having?

Minister:
It is unlikely that on an occasion when we can meet face to face the issue would not be raised. It is likely that Foreign Minister Smith will raise the whaling issue and I will probably raise the issue concerning acts of harassment.

Related Information (Japan-Australia Relations)


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