(* 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 Katsuya Okada

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2009, 5:40 p.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Opening Statements
    • (1) The Opening of Press Conferences held by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Others and the Basic Policy regarding Press Conferences
    • (2) Regarding Visits Overseas
  2. The Opening of Press Conferences held by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Others and the Basic Policy regarding Press Conferences
  3. Issue of the Relocation of Futenma Air Station
  4. Assistance to Afghanistan
  5. Japan-Russia Summit Meeting (Territorial Issues)
  6. East Asian Community
  7. Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting
  8. Nuclear Disarmament
  9. Japan-US Relations
  10. Issue of Global Warming Issues
  11. Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers' Meeting
  12. Investigation into the Issue of the Secret Agreements

1. Opening Statements

(1) The Opening of Press Conferences held by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Others and the Basic Policy regarding Press Conferences

Minister:
I have been away for a while and there have been no press conferences, but today I would like to start off by explaining about the holding of the press conferences, including my own and those by the State Secretaries for Foreign Affairs, and the basic policy concerning them, something which I have spoken of at previous press conferences. We have decided on a new policy, as you can see from the material that has been handed out. As announced on September 18, press conferences are now open to all media. I announced the basic policy on September 18 and received a great amount of feedback from the members of the Kasumi Club, which is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs correspondent club. Some time has passed without any press conferences since then and no clear opinion from the Kasumi Club has been presented regarding the opening of press conferences. Therefore, since it has been more than 10 days since then, I would like to open all press conferences by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the State Secretaries for Foreign Affairs to all media organizations, according to the basic policy which has been handed to you. As is stipulated in the material handed out, I and the State Secretaries will each hold two press conferences a week - since there are two State Secretaries, each will hold a press conference once a week. The Press Secretary and Deputy Press Secretary will hold regular press conferences here in the Briefing Room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs once a week. The press conferences will start at 3 p.m. in principle, but I ask for your understanding regarding changes in the starting time due to Diet sessions, official duties, and other matters. The press conferences in item one are, in principle, open not only to media organizations that are part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs correspondent club, but to all media, specifically, members of the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association (Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, NSK), the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters in Japan (NAB), the Japan Magazine Publishers Association (JMPA), the Internet News Association of Japan, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (FCCJ), those who hold a Foreign Press Registration Card, and those who regularly provide articles to the publications of the aforementioned media organizations. Media members who wish to attend the press conferences should follow the appropriate steps according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and register beforehand. Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs correspondent club expressed concern about losing the chance for interviews after Cabinet Meetings. I will take questions during short doorstepping talks after Cabinet Meetings. However, as I have stated before, press conferences held after Cabinet Meetings tend to be held in the Diet building and therefore many people cannot attend, making them very limited. At the doorstepping talks after Cabinet Meetings, I will answer only the bare minimum regarding the Cabinet Meeting and in principle I intend to hold a proper press conference back at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, I ask for your understanding that I will not answer questions that do not concern the Cabinet Meeting during doorstepping talks. In total, including doorstepping talks, I will hold press conferences four times a week, and the actual length of the press conferences will increase greatly compared to before. Additionally, round-table talks by the Vice-Minister and Director-Generals, press conferences by Ambassadors overseas, working level briefings, and other gatherings will be held as before. The background to this is included for your reference in the material that has been handed out. We have also received opinions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs correspondent club. Regarding doorstepping talks, they will take place in the manner I have just explained in accordance with requests from the correspondent club. There was no consensus regarding the opening up of press conferences. The correspondent club's answer was that they would continue to consider the matter while discussing it with affiliated and parent organizations. Since a great amount of time has passed since then, I have decided on my own accord to hold press conferences in this manner. To continue with the traditional way of holding press conferences would possibly deprive other journalists opportunities for reporting and this would affect the public's right to know, so I have made this decision and ask for your understanding.

(2) Regarding Visits Overseas

Minister:
I went on overseas trips to New York and Shanghai. There have been various briefings on these so I will not explain about them. However, my frank impression is that my schedule is somewhat too full. This week I will go to Cambodia as well. I am a little fatigued as I am not yet used to this schedule. However, I will move forward energetically. I feel that the work of the Minister for Foreign Affairs becomes meaningful only after several face-to-face meetings with my counterparts have taken place, establishing relationships which allow us to talk to each other frankly. In this sense, I would like to take every opportunity possible to go abroad and, of course, to meet Foreign Ministers who come to Japan. I would like to build up relationships of mutual trust.

Related Information (Press Release: Visit to China)
Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

2. The Opening of Press Conferences held by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Others and the Basic Policy regarding Press Conferences

Question:
First of all, I would like to express my respect to you for giving us a fair press opportunity in this manner. My question is about whether it is you or the Kasumi Club that is hosting today's press conference? I have a follow-up question relating to this matter - if the correspondent club, which is a private organization, is hosting the press conference, what is the legal basis for holding a press conference hosted by the correspondent club take place inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, which is a an asset of the general public?

Minister:
What is the answer regarding the hosting of previous press conferences?

Director of the Press Division:
They have been hosted in principle by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the Kasumi Club.

Question:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been hosting them?

Minister:
Yes.

Question:
The legal basis is that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is hosting the press conferences?

Minister:
Yes.

Question:
Tomorrow a council of the three political-level appointees will be held. I understand the significance of the transfer of power to be politician-led policy-making and more transparency regarding policy decisions. Will the contents of the discussions at the council of the three political-level appointees be disclosed? Will there be some sort of announcement on what has been decided there?

Minister:
I believe there is the issue of to what extent information will be disclosed. I would like to talk about that if the question arises at a Minister or State Secretaries' press conference after a decision has been made. Naturally, the extent of disclosure will be an issue.

Question:
Do you mean that it will not be announced on the day it is decided but rather on the next day, for example if the next press conference is held the following day?

Minister:
That is the plan at this time.

Question:
From the viewpoint of the public's right to know about events that happen on any given day, I believe the policy decisions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are a subject of interest. While I understand in principle that you would like to talk about the issues at press conferences, how do you plan to answer to the public's right to know from the perspective of making policy decisions transparent?

Minister:
I think that perhaps the term "the public's right to know" should not be thrown around so much.

Question:
I used the term because you used it at a press conference.

Minister:
I used the term because I believe that opening up the press conferences is a fundamental issue concerning the public's right to know. I think there may be occasions when information will be disclosed on the spot if necessary.

Question:
This is something that I heard from one of your fellow Diet members - Internet media organizations and freelance journalists have been shut out of press conferences despite talk by former President Ozawa and President Hatoyama saying press conferences would be opened to them. Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano at the Prime Minister's Office gave the reason for this as being that there was pressure from major media organizations which have Cabinet correspondent clubs, and that this meant there was no choice but to shut out other journalists from the press conferences in order to avoid an all-out war with major media organizations. Have you or any of the people around you felt any pressure from major media organizations?

Minister:
I have not felt any pressure in particular.

Question:
Have such media organizations pushed you in any way?

Minister:
Not really.

Question:
This is not a question. I am the vice president of the FCCJ so I am very grateful to you for your decisions regarding press conferences. Thank you very much.

Minister:
Please go easy on me.

Question:
At other ministries, when a newly appointed minister wants to hold a press conference, issues of security and capacity are always brought up. These are issues such as, 'what if a lot of people come and what would we do if someone throws a shoe?' I think that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the ministries where security is extremely important. In carrying through your policy of opening up press conferences, how did you overcome these two issues?

Minister:
Security is dealt with in different ways at each ministry, so I cannot give an arbitrary reply. Today some of you may have felt uncomfortable with the security checks we conducted. However, once things calm down, I think we can issue registration cards and you will be able to enter the Ministry with them. In any case, we are in a trial-and-error stage and each ministry has its own method. Currently the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the most open of the ministries and I hope that as we go forward our methods will be introduced at other ministries as well.

Question:
Thank you for opening up the press conferences. I do not really know how it was at previous press conferences, but I have the impression that they used to be on a smaller scale and were more orderly. What is your impression of this new type of press conference which is groundbreaking from the viewpoint of the public's right to know?

Minister:
This is actually the second press conference since my appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs. So I suppose there are many members of the media because of that. I will make efforts to ensure that the number of participants does not shrink too much from the next press conference onward.

Question:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs correspondent club, the Kasumi Club, has a room next to the Briefing Room. Are rooms like this rented to organizations or does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bear the financial burden for this?

Minister:
I do not know. I will answer this at the next press conference.

Question:
In opening up the press conferences, being a member of the Internet News Association of Japan has become one of the conditions for reporting. Regarding internet media organizations, when I asked the Press Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about this, I was told that it was your idea. One question I would like to ask is why you chose this association. Additionally, because being a member of this organization is a condition, PJ News does not have representation here. I feel that there is still a lack of openness toward internet media. Will you consider a revision to the guidelines in the future?

Minister:
While I do not mind if it is an association with a certain level of performance and is an actual entity, at the moment we will proceed as I have stated earlier. If there are other associations such as this one, I will include them when reviewing the guidelines.

Question:
Have you considered registration by media outlets rather than by members of the associations?

Minister:
In the case of registration by media outlets, the question of how to check on these organizations arises. In effect, the press conferences would become completely free. I do not think this would be possible at this time due to security issues.

Question:
What was your reason for choosing the Internet News Association of Japan?

Minister:
It is an association with a certain level of performance.

3. Issue of the Relocation of Futenma Air Station

Question:
I have a question regarding the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station. I am sure you exchanged opinions with senior US government officials regarding the Futenma Air Station issue during your visit to the US and on other occasions. As a result of these exchanges, do you believe that Futenma Air Station should be relocated to Henoko Bay following the current roadmap? Should another plan be made for relocation within Okinawa or do you think that relocation outside the prefecture or outside the country is best? Please tell us your current thoughts on this matter.

Minister:
I believe I should refrain from stating my opinion at the moment. As for our basic position, while it was not written in our manifesto, "outside the prefecture or outside the country" is stated in the Okinawa Vision. The basis for this is to reduce the excessive burden placed on Okinawa. This idea has not changed. On the other hand, this matter has been discussed between Japan and the US and has already progressed greatly. Our challenges now are to see what kind of path is open to us given the circumstances, and to fill the gap between what we want and what the reality is. Basically I plan to discuss the issue frankly with the US side. It is still too early to give a specific answer to your question.

Question:
The Prime Minister has stated his thought to aim for relocation outside the prefecture or outside the country. Minister of Defense Kitazawa has stated his opinion that we should adhere to the plan of relocating within the prefecture. It seems as though there is disagreement within the Cabinet. What is your opinion on this? Additionally, Minister of Defense Kitazawa has stated that he would like to discuss this issue with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister in the near future. Are there any plans for this and would you be willing to discuss this matter?

Minister:
First of all, what the Prime Minister said is what is written in the Okinawa Vision and I share this opinion. Behind this opinion is the desire to reduce the burden on Okinawa as I have just stated earlier. Minister of Defense Kitazawa may have had various thoughts when he visited the area, but as we have just been newly assigned as ministers and are not used to the positions we are in yet, I believe that sometimes we may say things a little too frankly. In my opinion, I think it is a little too early to have a discussion with the Prime Minister. How we plan to take action on this matter within the Cabinet is something we must decide on swiftly through discussion with the Chief Cabinet Secretary.

Question:
You stated that you would like to make a swift decision. However, Prime Minister Hatoyama's statement to journalists during his trip overseas seemed rather cautious regarding the timing of the decision. On the other hand, I believe you stated that it must be decided before the end of the year as the issue is relevant to that of the budget. Please tell us which is correct and when you aim to make the decision by - additionally, President Obama's visit to Japan is coming up - what are your thoughts on all of this?

Minister:
First of all, regarding the Prime Minister's statement, he also made another statement the following day to the effect that we should move things along swiftly in consideration of the people of Okinawa. So there was more than just the statement that you just mentioned. Next, I am not saying that we will definitely do this; I stated my hopes that we would come to a decision by the end of the year or by the time of President Obama's visit to Japan. Therefore, I believe there is no variance in these statements.

Question:
However, as you mentioned before, there is the issue of the budget. Putting aside your hopes, I believe that some sort of a conclusion must be made. What is your opinion on this?

Minister:
The budget can be changed, of course, if the schedule changes. However, I believe there is no mistake in saying that it is better to have it properly written into the budget.

Question:
You stated your plans to review the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station. Is this because you think there are problems with the public works project to take this opportunity to make a new runway? If you find any problems, do you plan to wipe the slate clean? Please tell us in what way this issue will be reviewed, who will review it, and when it will be announced.

Minister:
When I talked about reviewing the issue I meant that I would like to thoroughly examine the process that took place to decide on the current location. We were not in power at the time so we do not really know what the process was. I believe there must have been other ways of thinking. I would like to know why a conclusion was made to set the location there by thoroughly examining the discussions that took place and what merits and demerits there were to decide on that location. Then we must discuss whether that decision is something that we can or cannot accept. I have asked the US side to verify this as well.

Question:
If the reason is one that you cannot find acceptable, is there a possibility that you will repeal it?

Minister:
I think it best not to discuss hypothetical situations.

Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

4. Assistance to Afghanistan

Question:
This relates to the previous question - in the current FY2010 budget request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earmarked 40 billion yen for assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Will this amount be fixed by October 15 after reviewing the budget request or, as you stated, will considerations continue into the middle of November when President of the United States Barack Obama visits Japan, or will the amount remain unfixed until the end of this year?

Minister:
The amount of money to request can be readily decided, but justifying that request by October 15 seems a bit difficult. Whether we will make an immediate decision to request a larger amount by October 15 or make an additional request when the three proposals are decided in December is a technical matter. We will proceed forward while considering which is more appropriate.

Question:
Regarding assistance to Afghanistan, Chairman of the National Commission on Public Safety Hiroshi Nakai stated in his press conference today that Prime Minister Hatoyama had conveyed to President Obama of the United States while they were in New York that he would consider providing police training assistance to Afghanistan. Could you please tell us the specifics of this plan? Will Japanese policemen go to Afghanistan to provide training, or will Afghani policemen come to Japan, or will Japan fund a training institution? Would you elaborate on the form of assistance?

Minister:
You may be referring to the Prime Minister's remarks during the Japan-US summit meeting. I do not recall if the Prime Minister was revealing a concrete plan such as the ones that you described just now. In any event, there are a variety of possibilities ahead of us, and from now on we will consider the feasibility of such possibilities. I believe that the Prime Minister was just giving an example of assistance. Currently, Japan is funding the salaries of Afghani policemen.

Related Information (Japan-Afghanistan Relations)

5. Japan-Russia Summit Meeting (Territorial Issues)

Question:
During the Japan-Russia summit meeting in New York, which I believe you also attended, the leaders of the two nations reportedly agreed to commence foreign-minister level consultations on territorial issues. The next Japan-Russia summit meeting will be held on the occasion of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November, but when exactly do you think foreign-minister level consultations will begin and how frequently will they be held?

Minister:
Foreign-minister level consultations were proposed by the Russian side, and the proposal to hold the next Japan-Russia summit meeting on the occasion of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was made by the Japanese side. The latest Japan-Russia summit meeting ended with no further discussion. It is only natural that a summit meeting should occur at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, but whether there will be a foreign-minister level consultation before that, or whether the two leaders at APEC smooth the way for a ministerial consultation, is yet to be decided. The steps to be taken will be decided through consultation with the Prime Minister.

Question:
The Prime Minister stated that he hoped to meet public expectations within a half year. I imagine that you will be kept quite busy addressing various issues, such as the Afghanistan issue and the realignment of the US forces in Japan and that it will be no easy task to accelerate negotiations. How will you handle the situation?

Minister:
The Prime Minister, I believe, was expressing his willingness. These issues, however, involve other parties as well. As such, we cannot say anything definite unless negotiations actually start. The same goes with foreign-minister level consultations; no concrete decisions have yet been made. We will certainly not miss any chances if there are any, but frankly speaking, I am not yet sure if this is the right time to start consultations.

Related Information (Japan-Russia Relations)

6. East Asian Community

Question:
My question is on the East Asian community. You explained to the Chinese and Korean foreign ministers about the initiative to build an East Asian community during the Japan-China-ROK foreign ministers' meeting yesterday. In the doorstepping that followed, you said that you were able to gain a certain degree of consent from your counterparts. Will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the government establish, for example, a working group to draw up a concrete image for the East Asian community that the Hatoyama Cabinet is advocating?

Minister:
As I said in my briefing, the East Asian community was indeed one of the subjects on the agenda of the Japan-China-ROK foreign ministers' meeting, but that does not mean that we devoted our time solely to this topic as some media reported. The East Asian community is a vision for the future. It is not feasible to build a community like the European Union (EU), which has a single currency, and through which member nations restrict each others' sovereignty in a sense when each nation's political structure differs. This is something that I have explained on various occasions, including our meeting yesterday. We cannot build a community like the EU at this time. What we can do is to share a grand vision - an East Asian community - and take a step-by-step approach to realizing that vision. I think no amount of discussion will be enough when it comes to drawing up a concrete image for the East Asia community. That is why I think it is more important to take a step-by-step approach and to set up the East Asia community as a vision to be realized in the future.

7. Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Question:
What will be the important subjects on the agenda of your meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Yu Myung-hwan? I think that North Korean issues will constitute a major discussion point. Some analyze that the time is ripe for US-North Korea talks. What is your view on the current situation of this issue? Do you analyze that the talks will be realized in the near future or into the far future?

Minister:
First, I will discuss with Minister Yu mainly on the North Korean issues. Second, I intend to exchange views with him on the issue of US-North Korea talks, which apparently are showing signs of moving forward, and on that topic I want to exchange views while hearing the position of the ROK. In any event, with the United States having clarified its position that the North Korean issues should be resolved under the framework of the Six-Party Talks, we believe that the US-North Korea talks will contribute to the advancement of the Six-Party Talks.

Question:
During your meeting with Minister Yu, I think you may also discuss such matters as a plan for His Majesty the Emperor to visit the ROK, and the issue of granting local election voting rights to foreigners with permanent residency. What are your views on these issues?

Minister:
I am not sure if it is appropriate to make remarks on the content prior to the meeting. I think it is inappropriate for me to speak on a visit of His Majesty the Emperor to the ROK because nothing concrete has been decided on at this moment. I intend to engage in frank talks on the current situation regarding the issue of voting rights for foreigners.

Related Information (Japan-ROK Relations)

8. Nuclear Disarmament

Question:
Nuclear disarmament was a major issue for discussion during your recent visit to the United States. I understand that Japan's position is to lead international efforts in nuclear disarmament, but it is also true that Japan is under the US's expanded deterrence and nuclear protection umbrella. Although it may not be contradictory from a long-term perspective, some view that it is inconsistent, from a short- to mid-term perspective, for a country receiving nuclear protection to call for nuclear abolition. What is Japan's position in terms of the short- to mid-term relationship between nuclear disarmament and nuclear protection?

Minister:
That is something that we must thoroughly discuss. In fact, I have started discussion with staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The position that I held before assuming the office of Minister for Foreign Affairs is that we do not approve the use of nuclear weapons on non-nuclear-weapon states and that there should be no first use of nuclear weapons. This position, however, is facing opposition and, as such, I will give you the answer to your question following thorough discussion within the Ministry.

Related Information (Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation)

9. Japan-US Relations

Question:
You stated that in the negotiations between Japan and the US, the refueling activities in the Indian Ocean is a "package." Please explain what you mean by "package." Additionally, is this considered a "package" only by Japan or is there a common understanding between the two countries to discuss this issue as part of a "package?"

Minister:
There is no such understanding between Japan and the US. I do not know if "package" is the appropriate term to use. As I have been saying from before, the issue of the Indian Ocean and the issue of, for example, assistance toward Afghanistan or Pakistan, are separate issues. Basically, it does not mean that we will decide not to do one thing even if we are doing the other. Looking at the relationship between Japan and the US, the entirety of the problems, including the issue of military bases in Okinawa and the realignment of the US forces - this is a negotiation, although Assistant Secretary Campbell says we should not use the term "negotiation" - if we can mutually agree on the whole it would be a "discussion," and other issues are of course in the background as we reach agreements on each of the issues. This is what I mean by "package."

Question:
Regarding the package, Mr. Shimoji of the People's New Party (PNP) seems to have a completely different opinion. He says that everything is linked - we will do this in Okinawa because we are doing that in Afghanistan. Is this understanding incorrect?

Minister:
In principle they are separate issues. However, since they all fall under Japan-US relations, I believe we will have to consider the whole when discussing individual issues. Even if there is some give and take, if there is consistency in the whole, I believe there is a possibility that things will fall into place.

Question:
One thing that bothers me is the sense I have felt that the negotiations for assistance for Afghanistan and the refueling activities in the Indian Ocean seem to have a higher priority than the negotiations for Okinawa. I have felt that there is a danger that the negotiations for Okinawa will slide backward if Afghanistan is prioritized.

Minister:
I believe it to be the opposite.

Question:
You mentioned reducing the burden on Okinawa. Reducing of the burden on Okinawa - through steps such as the relocation of Futenma Air Station along with the return of US military facilities south of Kadena and the relocation of US Marines to Guam - is part of the package as well. How do you plan to achieve consistency in this area in negotiations or consultations?

Minister:
What do you mean by consistency?

Question:
The Futenma Air Station issue is part of the package of reducing the burden of Okinawa. If a relocation of the air station outside the prefecture is refused, I think it would have influence on the relocation of US Marines to Guam and the return of US military facilities.

Minister:
I believe that negotiations prevent such influences.

Related Information (Japan-U.S. Relations)

10. Global Warming Issues

Question:
I have a question on global warming. I have heard that the Ministerial Committee on the Global Warming Issue will meet tomorrow at the Prime Minister's Office. So my first question is, what is going to be discussed at the meeting? The second question is, I assume that the reduction model currently presented to the Japanese people is based on the target of reducing emissions by 15% compared to 2005, which was decided by the previous administration. Looking ahead to the coming COP15 negotiation in December, how will the Hatoyama Cabinet integrate this reduction model into domestic policies?

Minister:
I have been notified that tomorrow's meeting will mostly focus on the speech Prime Minister Hatoyama delivered in New York. Also, I mentioned at the previous meeting that the target figures need to be recalculated with revised parameters. For example, the previous calculation completely omitted the negative impacts of advanced global warming. Also, the calculation was based on a number of assumptions, and I personally have large doubts over the validity of these assumptions. Therefore, I proposed to start afresh, to set up a venue within the Cabinet for renewed consideration, and I expect a solution will come up during the meeting tomorrow. Since it will be a race against time, we need to start working on this with a sense of utmost urgency.

Related Information (Climate Change)

11. Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Question:
Could you please share with us what you look forward to at the Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers' Meeting to be held this weekend? Will you be talking about the vision for the East Asian community again at that meeting?

Minister:
I am looking forward to explaining the idea of an East Asian community. I have mentioned about producing results one by one, and I think that infrastructure development in the Mekong region will be an important step.

Related Information (Second Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers' Meeting)

12. Investigation into the Issue of the Secret Agreements

Question:
What is the current progress of the investigation into the issue of the secret agreements? Could you also tell us if there are any clues as to how the investigation will evolve going forward?

Minister:
The deadline of the investigation has been set at the end of November. I think everything rests on conducting the investigation thoroughly and accurately, submitting interim reports as needed. Since I was not in Japan at the time the investigation team was formed, I would like to spend some time tomorrow explaining my thoughts to the team. In addition, I will ask the team to investigate thoroughly so that nothing new will come up following the investigation.

Question:
Concerning the investigation, and related to the current Three Non-nuclear Principles, the first two principles of "not possessing" and "not producing" are very clear, but I am not 100 percent sure about the third principle, "mochikomasezu." The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' official English translation of the third principle includes the expression "not permitting the introduction (of nuclear weapons into Japan)," but do you recognize the third principle of the Three Non-nuclear Principles - Japan's national policy - to prohibit entry and transit as well?

Minister:
On this point, there are certain incoherencies between the explanation made by governments up until now at the Diet, and documents which have been partially disclosed on the US side. Since we have until the end of November to investigate whether these incoherencies are real or not, I will refrain from commenting further at this stage without any certain knowledge on the matter.


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