(* 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, September 15, 2009, 10:55 a.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Opening Statement
- Confirmation at the IAEA General Conference of Ambassador Amano's Appointment as the Next IAEA Director General
- The Northern Territories Issue
- Realignment of the US Forces in Japan
- TV Asahi's report regarding the Indonesian Koto Panjang Dam Project Lawsuit
1. Opening Statement
Confirmation at the IAEA General Conference of Ambassador Amano's Appointment as the Next IAEA Director General
The 53rd IAEA General Conference, being held from September 14 in Vienna, officially confirmed the appointment of Mr. Yukiya Amano, Ambassador in charge of Nuclear Non-proliferation and Nuclear Energy as the next Director General of the IAEA.
The IAEA is an international organization that plays an extremely important role in the international community including Japan. The official confirmation of Ambassador Amano's appointment as the next Director General is truly delightful.
I expect that Ambassador Amano will cooperate with all member nations to advance non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and that he will carry out his responsibilities fully.
As for Japan, as a model for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, we will contribute proactively even more than before to the activities of the IAEA.
2. The Northern Territories Issue
As the Aso Administration comes to an end, I would like to ask about Japan-Russia relations, with particular regard to the Northern Territories. Under the Aso Administration, starting with a Foreign Ministers' meeting with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and followed by meetings in Lima and L'Aquila, various meetings have been held on this matter at the summit level. However, it has been pointed out that these have not resulted in significant developments. How would you sum up the Aso Administration's series of negotiations regarding the Northern Territories? Additionally, President Hatoyama of the Democratic Party of Japan stated in an interview with some members of the press yesterday that he wanted to generate some sort of a development within the next six months to a year. Do you have any expectations of the next administration regarding the Northern Territories issue?
The Northern Territories issue is of paramount importance to Japan and resolving this issue has been a challenge for a long time. It is unfortunate that we were not able to realize any significant changes during the Aso Administration and as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, being responsible for this issue, I have many different feelings on this matter.
Led by Prime Minister Aso, we have also made efforts toward the resolution of this issue through frequent talks with the Russian head of state. The Russian side is also willing to continue with further talks, so I hope that the next administration will be able to make progress as soon as possible-there is some talk of a period of six months-and I ask them to work toward a complete resolution.
3. Realignment of the US Forces in Japan
Regarding the realignment of the US Forces in Japan, you have made efforts for the progression of the realignment such as signing the agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States concerning the Implementation of the Relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Personnel and Their Dependents from Okinawa to Guam. On the other hand, there are still strong voices of protest within Okinawa against the implementation of the current plan which is based on the premise that Futenma Air Station will be relocated within the prefecture. The new administration has expressed the opinion that it will aim to relocate Futenma Air Station outside of Okinawa or outside the country. From your experience as Minister for Foreign Affairs, if you have any advice on how the new administration should proceed with the realignment, what would you say and what do you expect of the new administration?
I am not sure if giving advice would be appropriate and I feel it may be presumptuous of me to do so, however, this is an important issue for our nation, especially to the residents of Okinawa. So I would like to ask that the new administration continue efforts to advance the realignment of the US forces according to schedule and plan. As you know, a roadmap was agreed upon after investing a lot of time into the matter and the relocation of US Marines and their families, as mentioned, is already underway. Additionally, Japan's FY2009 budget for the realignment has been approved and the US Senate has also approved the budget for this. So I think it is extremely important that the realignment advances while maintaining deterrence, especially in the light of reducing the burden on local communities in Okinawa. Regarding Futenma Air Station, I believe that President Hatoyama originally said it will be relocated outside the country or outside the prefecture, but now from what is being reported in the media I believe it is settling down as outside the prefecture. If it is to be relocated outside the prefecture, there is a question of where it would be moved. Additionally, the current roadmap takes the form of a set of three items. With the relocation of the US Marines to Guam, significant portions of land south of Kadena will be returned. I hear that the land area may amount to roughly the size of Chiyoda City in Tokyo. The return of this land will, depending on how it is utilized, no doubt contribute greatly to the development of Okinawa and the relocation of Futenma Air Station will take away burdens such as noise and accidents that the local community has endured for a long time. In light of these points as well, I would like the new Cabinet to move forward with the realignment based on the plan.
4. TV Asahi's report regarding the Indonesian Koto Panjang Dam Project Lawsuit
You may have already read about this on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, but a misinforming and inappropriate report was broadcast regarding a Japanese ODA project in Indonesia. This report misled the viewers and the people of Japan about the Japanese Government's ODA projects, and it is extremely regrettable. I request that future reports be made in an appropriate manner, and of course, that reports and broadcasts be made after confirming facts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other organizations.
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