(* 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: Friday, March 7, 2008, 8:45 a.m.
Place: In front of the Ministers' Room in the House
- Terrorist Shooting Attack in Jerusalem
- Anti-Whaling Protest at the Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom
- Domestic Politics (Nomination of Bank of Japan Governor, Discussion at the Committee on Budget)
- Visit to Japan by Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China
- Outreach at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit
I would like to express my strong condemnation regarding the terrorist shooting attack that occurred in Jerusalem. I would like to reaffirm my view that terrorism can never be justified for any reason. In that context it is necessary for us to prevent a cycle of violence and I would like to call upon both sides to exercise their self-restraint. I know that there are various difficulties on both the Palestinian side and the Israeli side, but I would like to ask both sides to work tenaciously in advancing the peace negotiations.
Yesterday an incident occurred in which members of the anti-whaling organization, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, entered and occupied space within the Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom. Please explain how you will respond to this situation and what your views on this incident are.
It is still not clear whether or not this was the act of an individual or whether it was an organized crime. At any rate, this is an inexcusable act and if it in fact was an organized criminal act, then it is even more inexcusable.
Under the stipulations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the United Kingdom is responsible to prevent the occurrence of such incidents and we will once again call upon the Government of the United Kingdom to ensure this. At the same time, we must also take actions ourselves to protect our Embassy and I told them to ensure that proper measures are taken.
They are opposed to the practice of eating whales but some argue that they contradictorily are not opposed to the consumption of mammals.
As such matters concern cultural debates, I personally have much to say on the subject. At any rate there is a need for us to avoid cultural debates and rather show respect for our respective cultures and calmly discuss the issue based on scientific evidence. Still, it must be made absolutely clear that any actions that consist of violence and breaking of laws cannot be permitted in any way.
There have been some media reports that the visit to Japan by President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China may be postponed until May. What is your comment on this?
Nothing has been decided.
Does that mean there may be a possibility?
It has not been decided and therefore anything is possible at this point in time. It had been said that the visit to China by Prime Minister Fukuda was going to take place in the autumn but in fact it did not happen until the end of December last year. This is clearly because both leaders have their respective schedules and we need to coordinate the schedules, which is much more difficult than you might imagine. Both a leader involved in receiving another leader and the latter who will actually come to Japan do not have a lot of free time. Therefore it is not easy for us to coordinate their respective schedules.
Regarding the outreach at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, yesterday and also the day before yesterday there were a lot of reports in the media regarding the day the outreach will be held and about which countries would participate. Do you have any comment on that?
I do not watch the media reports that closely and I do not know exactly what reports were made in the media, but I can tell you that at any rate we will invite some leaders for the outreach.
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