(* 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 Hirofumi Nakasone

Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 11:08 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Opening Statement
    • Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakasone's Visit to Okinawa
  2. Visit to North Korea by Wang Jiarui, Chief of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

1. Opening Statement

Minister for Foreign Affairs Nakasone's Visit to Okinawa

Minister:
From January 31 to February 1, I will visit Okinawa as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. There are various issues such as the issue of the realignment of US Forces in Japan. By visiting Okinawa, hearing the opinions of Governor Makoto Nakai of Okinawa and the local community first hand, and seeing for myself the situation surrounding the US military facilities and their locations, I hope to be able to help in realizing the steady implementation of the realignment of US Forces and the reduction of the burden on Okinawa.

Question:
Regarding Okinawa, a resolution of the issue is not yet apparent. What are your concrete plans to resolve the Futenma Air Station issue?

Minister:
During this visit, I will meet with the governor and other relevant people. I would like to first hear the opinions of the local community regarding the general issues of the US military facilities and their locations. I am sure that the topic of the realignment of US Forces, including the issue of removing the dangers of the Futenma Air Station and the reversion of Futenma, will come up. I intend to discuss these issues as well as others and to listen to enough opinions in order to help reduce the burden on the local community.

Question:
I believe this will be your first visit to Okinawa since you took up the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. What is your reason for doing so at this time?

Minister:
It is not something that has to be done at this particular time. However, Governor Nakai came to Tokyo at the end of last year and explained the requests of the people of Okinawa and other details regarding the situation in Okinawa. All of the past Ministers for Foreign Affairs have visited Okinawa, and I decided to make this visit in order to see the situation for myself and hear directly from the local community. Because the visit is scheduled for the weekend, it may not be the most convenient timing for the hosts, but the visit involves tasks that I have been thinking I should carry out as soon as possible, so I will take this opportunity to do just that.

Question:
Does this trip to Okinawa have anything to do with the inauguration of President Obama?

Minister:
Regarding the realignment of US Forces in Okinawa, this will be conducted as scheduled according to the agreement with the US side. I do not think there will be any big changes because of the new Obama Administration. I think the realignment will go according to schedule, and it is not directly related to why I am making this visit.

Related Information (Press Release)

2. Visit to North Korea by Wang Jiarui, Chief of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Question:
Regarding the meeting between Wang Jiarui, Chief of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Kim has stated that he wishes to move forward with the Six-Party Talks with the cooperation of China. What is your opinion on this matter?

Minister:
I am aware of the media reports that Wang Jiaru met with Kim Jong-il, Chairman of the National Defense Commission. I myself have a very strong interest in this matter. However, there is various information flying about and because of the nature of this event, I would like to refrain from making any comments. I believe that we must continue to gather and analyze information. Regarding the contents of the meeting and other details, I have not yet received any explanation from the Chinese side, as I have just mentioned. I believe that because of the Chinese New Year, they are on holiday right now, so I have not received any explanation and I will not comment on this matter.

Question:
There is talk of Wang visiting Japan. If this is the case, will you meet with him?

Minister:
As far as I know, he will visit Japan to attend the Japan-China Ruling Parties Exchange Conference with the ruling parties, the LDP and the Komei Party. This is about the ruling parties and there has been no talk about meeting with him myself.

Question:
Won't this be a good opportunity to meet with him?

Minister:
I am sure that he has his schedule and I do not know how things will go in the Diet next month. Currently, there are no plans to meet with him.

Question:
You stated that you have not yet received any explanation from the Chinese side. Do you have any plans to receive an explanation?

Minister:
Since I have strong interest in this matter, I plan to go through diplomatic channels and request information from the Chinese side regarding the meeting and other issues.

Related Information (Japan-China Relations)


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