(* 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, January 19, 2010, 4:10 p.m.
Place: Briefing Room, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Opening Statements
- (1) Joint Statement of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
- (2) Emergency Assistance to Haiti in Response to the Earthquake Disaster
- The Shirakaba Gas Field in the East China Sea
- Joint Statement of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
- Japan-US Alliance (Relations with China, etc.)
- Deepening of the Japan-US Alliance
- Emergency Assistance to Haiti in Response to the Earthquake Disaster
- Assistance toward Afghanistan
- Cultural Diplomacy
- The Investigation into the Issue of the So-called Secret Agreements
- Subsidies for US-model Eco-cars (Environmentally Friendly Vehicles)
- Changes in the Security Situation
- Prior Notification about the Transit of Nuclear Submarines
1. Opening Statements
(1) Joint Statement of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
There are a couple of announcements to make. First, today is the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. On this landmark day, the so-called “2+2” – that is, the four members of the Security Consultative Committee (SCC): myself, Minister of Defense Toshimi Kitazawa, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – has announced a joint statement, the statement of the US-Japan Security Consultative Committee Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. The content of the statement is as stated in the text handed out. The joint statement, while appreciating the role the Japan-US security arrangement has played in the past, affirms the significance of the arrangement today and in the future, and clarifies the commitment of Japan and the US to deepen these arrangements and adapt to the 21st century. Fifty years is half a century. Compared to 50 years ago, the security environment surrounding Japan and the Asia-Pacific region has changed significantly. The Japan-US security arrangements, or the Japan-US Alliance, has changed substantially by gradually expanding its scope from Japan and the East Asia, based on the Japan-US Security Treaty, to the Asia-Pacific region. I think that recognition of this was given formal acknowledgement in the Japan-US Joint Declaration on Security signed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and US President Bill Clinton in 1996. Since then, with the passing of time, we have seen various changes. In light of these challenges, I would like to deepen our discussions once again on the role of the Japan-US Alliance in addressing wide-ranging global and regional issues, including the new challenges facing both Japan and the US. I hope that discussions on this can produce an outcome within the year, if possible. During the meeting with US Secretary of State Clinton, we agreed to discuss this issue in a 2+2 meeting at an appropriate time before the middle of the year. The foreign ministers’ meeting in Hawaii can be regarded as having started ministerial-level discussions on this. Various working-level talks have already been started. It would be ideal if a consensus could be reached through discussions at the working and ministerial levels.
(2) Emergency Assistance to Haiti in Response to the Earthquake Disaster
Japan announced its decision to extend emergency grant aid of US$5 million to the Republic of Haiti for the earthquake disaster. The content of this assistance has been negotiated with various international organizations and I would like to announce the results. We will extend US$3 million to the World Food Programme (WFP), US$1.5 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and US$500,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
2. The Shirakaba Gas Field in the East China Sea
Question (Iwakami, Freelance):
It has been reported that you made it absolutely clear when you discussed the issue of the gas field in the East China Sea with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Yang Jiechi, that Japan would by no means accept any intention on the part of China to unilaterally advance the development of the field. What kind of measures did you mean when you said that Japan will take “appropriate measures?” How did the Chinese side respond? What are your expectations on this issue? I am sorry that I have to ask you so many questions, but the joint statement that Japan and the United States have issued on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the security treaty stated as a goal, that Japan and the United States would work together and welcome a responsible and constructive role on the part of China in the international arena. In what way do you think that the United States would provide Japan with indirect, diplomatic support for these issues, including the issue of gas field?
Foreign Minister Yang and I spent a substantial amount of time in our recent Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting discussing the issue of resource development in the East China Sea. There are several gas fields, but the one in debate was Shirakaba in Japanese and Chunxiao in Chinese. On June 18, 2008, Japan and China agreed that Japanese corporations would carry out capital participation in accordance with Chinese domestic law for development at the location where China has already undertaken development on the Chinese side of the median line at Shirakaba. So this is not joint development. This is often confused, but it is in the northern part of the Sea that we agreed on “joint development.” What is stipulated in the agreement for Shirakaba is an investment. Despite such stipulations, negotiations on to materialize these agreements which also include joint development in the northern part of the Sea, in other words, consultations to put the agreement made in June 2008 into practice, have made virtually no progress. It was in light of this situation that I urged Foreign Minister Yang to bring the issue to a higher level and move things forward more expeditiously. I also told Foreign Minister Yang that China would be breaking its promise if it decided to go ahead with development of Shirakaba. China had agreed to accept Japanese investment and halted its development, so, under this situation, any decision to resume development would go against the agreement. That was the way I argued Foreign Minister Yang into confirming such a thing would not happen.
In response, the Chinese side claimed that capital participation and joint development were different. Capital participation and joint development are indeed different, but capital participation is something included in the agreement and, as such, it is problematic that no progress has been made on consultations for concrete steps to implement the agreement. I conveyed that it would bring out serious consequences if China went ahead with development without there being any progress in consultations.
I think this issue has nothing to do with the Japan-US Alliance. Japan requested that China take the right steps in accordance with our agreement. That is all.
Question (Iwakami, Freelance):
When you said “appropriate measure,” what kind of measure did you mean?
We are not yet at a stage where we will be taking any such measure. As such, I will refrain from elaborating on this.
Question (Saito, Kyodo News):
According to media reports and the information that I have gathered, the Japanese government, at unofficial, working-level consultations, has been urging the Chinese side to promptly start negotiations to conclude a treaty for joint development. That is my understanding. I also understand that the Chinese side has not made any clear, forward-looking response. Why are working-level consultations showing no progress despite so much effort being made? What do you think is causing the hold up and what do you think is required in order to overcome the current situation?
I, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, should not speak casually about the reason why the Chinese side is not eager for an end to consultations, because all I could say would be based on a mere assumptions. If working-level or director-level discussions do not make sufficient progress I believe that we should bring the issue to a higher level. The leaders of both nations accepted the agreement in 2008 positively and, as such, it is only natural that we discuss, as soon as possible, ways to put the agreement into practice.
3. Joint Statement of the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
Question (Nishino, Kyodo News):
My question concerns the joint statement and is related to the relocation of Futenma Air Station. The joint statement says, “They [the Ministers] endorse ongoing efforts to maintain our deterrent capabilities in a changing strategic landscape, including appropriate stationing of US forces, while reducing the impact of bases on local communities, including Okinawa.” Does this refer to the advancement of the realignment of US forces in Japan, including the relocation of Futenma Air Station? I just want to confirm the details. In connection to this, could you please tell us how an early resolution of the Futenma issue might link to discussions toward the deepening of the Alliance?
If you read the statement simply, I do not think that you would have come up with such a question. That part does not specifying Futenma. I think the sentence should be read as being a general statement.
Question (Higuchi, TBS):
I would like to follow up on the question just now on the joint statement. On the second page, it says that Japan and the US welcome China “to play a constructive and responsible role in the international arena.” What specific actions by China does this statement envisage? Or, do you plan to discuss China’s role in future talks to deepen the Japan-US Alliance?
It is not referring to specifics. It is a general statement. I remember a similar statement about China was made in the joint declaration of 1996.
Question (Higuchi, TBS):
How about including China in the agenda for the talks?
Before starting discussions, it is extremely important to first have a common understanding on the current state of the security environment of Japan and the Asia-Pacific region, and the prospects for the future of this environment. In this context, we will inevitably be discussing developments in China. We will also be discussing what role should be expected of China, and how the Japan-US Alliance should function in relation to China. Although we have yet to decide how far we should reflect such talks in statements, I think this is one of the major topics concerning the Alliance.
Question (Noguchi, Mainichi Shimbun):
Again, on the joint statement, the part about endorsing “ongoing efforts to maintain our deterrent capabilities in a changing strategic landscape, including appropriate stationing of US forces” that Mr. Nishino of Kyodo News mentioned seems to suggest the recognition that deterrence on the part of the United States is necessary in considering the security environment of the Asia-Pacific region, to put it shortly. That said, there is a move to continue talks to deepen the Alliance, on the one hand, and the ruling parties’ verification committee on the Issue of the Okinawa Bases, on the other hand, in which the Social Democratic Party intends to propose a relocation to Guam. Although I asked this last week, how will the two consultations link to one another? I am asking again because I think we will end up with contradictory conclusions without linking the talks to deepen the Alliance to the discussion at the ruling parties’ committee.
I don’t think this sentence should be necessarily linked to the Futenma issue. Since it only says “ongoing efforts to maintain our deterrent capabilities… …including appropriate stationing of US forces,” I think it would be overinterpreting it to link this to the Futenma issue. Nevertheless, this will naturally be one of the focal points when considering alternative locations for Futenma Air Station, since we cannot ignore the argument about the deterrence provided by US forces.
Question (Beppu, NHK):
I also have trouble understanding the “efforts” part, and I wonder how I should explain this clearly to viewers in my script. Could you paraphrase the “ongoing efforts” section to show what it specifically refers to? What is the aim of omitting Futenma in the joint statement, although the issue has been making headlines in the real world?
Since the joint statement covers a longer range, we have judged that it is not necessary to mention the immediate issue of Futenma. Since the issue has been discussed separately within the Government with the intention of reaching a conclusion by May, I do not think it was unnatural at all to not mention it in the statement. Rather, it did not occur to us at all that it should be mentioned.
“Ongoing efforts” refers to efforts to maintain the deterrence of various factors which is sustained by the presence of US forces in Japan. I think it is all right to assume that it covers everything we are doing right now in this aspect.
Question (Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo):
In relation the joint statement, there is another reference to deterrence in the second paragraph after the aforementioned Okinawa part, which begins, “the significance of the [Japan-US] Alliance in the global context,” and says, “while maintaining necessary deterrence.” To what extent is deterrence necessary right now and in the future? The term “deterrence” is ambiguous and quite difficult to understand. Although the presence of US forces naturally serves as deterrence, I think the way deterrence should be can also be discussed as an issue.
As I have just mentioned, we will be discussing what security environment we are in currently and what is needed to maintain and improve that environment. In this discussion, there is no doubt that the deterrence provided by US forces will be included as a crucial factor. This will lead to the discussion about what kind of actions are needed to maintain proper deterrence in the current or future security environment.
Question (Kaminishigawara, Kyodo News):
In the joint statement, there is an expression that says, “The US and Japan will continue to deepen their cooperation, including that between US forces and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF).” Although there are various possibilities, could you please list as many of the cooperative measures being considered at the moment as possible?
This refers to natural disaster response activities, the provision of humanitarian relief, and the like. These things will also be incorporated in bilateral talks. Even now, Japan and the US occasionally cooperate when extending assistance, including the provision of goods and services, at the time of a disaster. You can therefore assume that the statement refers to these things.
Question (Tsuruoka, Asahi Shimbun):
My question is on the globalization of the Alliance. In the past, when you were the President of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), you spoke in the Diet against the “US-Japan global alliance” upheld by then-Prime Minister Koizumi, on the grounds that “it will expand the scope of Japan-US security arrangements to a global scale.” What, then, is the difference between the “[Japan-US] Alliance in the global context” in this joint statement and the “US-Japan global alliance”?
I think what matters is content. What I criticized about then-Prime Minister Koizumi was his idea of deploying the SDF worldwide in the form a logistical support team for US forces. The joint statement here does not presume such a thing. Since there are various possibilities for Japan and the US to cooperate on global issues, the phrase “the Alliance in the global context” does not contradict at all with what I said back then.
Question (Nezu, NHK):
I expect to see discussions on the “future orientation of the Japan-US security arrangements,” the “modality of the US bases in Japan,” and the like arising at various levels, prompted by the 50th anniversary of the Japan-US security arrangements. So far, I don’t think there have been enough discussions at the national level on such issues as the future orientation of Japan-US security arrangements and the modality of US bases in Japan. What do you think about the necessity and modality of these aspects?
I would like to speak as frankly as possibly on these issues. We are often apt to forget that the presence of US forces has a direct and significant bearing on Japan’s security. Likewise, I do not think that the fact that the Japan-US Alliance plays an indispensable role in ensuring the security of the Asia-Pacific region has been adequately shared and made into a common understanding among the people. I think it is necessary to speak frankly about these things. In the various discussions concerning the relocation of Futenma Air Station, although I found the proposal by Governor of Osaka Toru Hashimoto to use Kansai International Airport as being unrealistic, I totally agreed with his statement that the issue of Futenma does not concern Okinawa alone but should be shouldered by all the people of Japan. Therefore, I think we must speak more frankly to the people. As a basic prerequisite to this, I think we must explain more clearly to the people that Japan has benefited significantly from the Japan-US security arrangements and the US bases in Japan.
Question (Iwakami, Freelance):
Looking at the statement, it says “tentative translation” in the Japanese version. Does this mean that the English version is the official text of the statement? I went over the Japan-US Security Treaty signed 50 years ago the other day, and confirmed that both the English and Japanese versions were authorized as official texts. For this Treaty, Japan and the US each prepared an official text in their own official language, as nations on equal terms, and then exchanged and signed the documents. I also looked at the SCC document on Japan-US Alliance issues in 2005, a document on which I have asked questions a number of times before. For this, the English version is the official text and the Japanese version is just a tentative translation, which gives the impression that Japan is subordinate to the US on the documentation level as well. It may be a minor thing, but I think what language each nation concludes an agreement in has a significant meaning in diplomacy, in that it affects each nation’s ability to negotiate on equal terms. Given that the Hatoyama Cabinet upholds an equalized Japan-US alliance, I question the rationale of concluding an agreement in a way that does not seem equal. Could you please tell us your thoughts about this?
I don’t think this should necessarily be taken that way. If this was a treaty, an official Japanese version would also be required, and it would need to be checked word by word to make sure that it agreed with the English version so that it could be used in Diet deliberations. As far as this joint statement goes, for one thing, we did not have much time, since we were working out the wording until the very last moment. Another thing is that although we can read the English version, it takes time for the US side to check the Japanese version. Therefore, we issued the English version as the base text and the Japanese version as an attachment, but we said “tentative translation” to mean that you must trust the English version in case there is a discrepancy between the two versions. I don’t think it should necessarily be interpreted as indicating a subordination of some sort.
Question (Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo):
Concerning the joint statement, you have been saying from the past that there is no sufficient common understanding among the people of the role the presence of US forces in Japan has played in Japan’s security and national defense. However, speaking specifically about Okinawa, the presence of US forces has been a threat rather than a safety measure. There are many cases where its very presence poses a threat to the people of Okinawa. What do you think of the significance of including Okinawa in the joint statement issued for the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security is to the people of Okinawa with that mindset? How will you explain about this to the people of Okinawa Prefecture?
Your question is based on a certain presumption that people of Okinawa have the same opinion. I believe that there is a diversity of opinion in Okinawa.
Question (Kaminishigawara, Kyodo News):
Concerning the joint statement on the 50th anniversary of the revision of the Japan-US Security Treaty, it says that the Japan-US Alliance will continue to tackle wide-ranging issues. I think the core of these efforts will be security. I read over the text a couple times, but saw no specific statement about how exactly Japan and the US should cooperate in the area of security. Since the signing of the Joint Declaration on Security in 1996, which has been mentioned a couple times today, there have been certain trends – one toward expanding the scope of the Japan-US Security Treaty and the Japan-US Alliance to cover the Asia-Pacific region, and another toward expanding the role of the SDF to provide logistic support to US forces. Concerning these trends, what specific vision do you have for security and the division of roles between US forces and the SDF in the future?
My understanding of the 1996 declaration is that it confirmed ex post facto that the scope of activities of the US forces based in Japan actually covers not only Japan and the Far East but also the Asia-Pacific region, which I think is the most significant point. I don’t think the declaration clearly indicates logistical support by the SDF, although there may be a line written in this way. After the declaration, the Law Concerning Measures to Ensure the Peace and Security of Japan in Situations in Areas Surrounding Japan and similar laws were also established. These laws, too, were intended to ensure Japan’s security, since they provide for contingencies that may threaten Japan’s peace if left unattended. I don’t think it was necessarily the case that they envisaged activities on the part of the US forces in the Asia-Pacific region and SDF dispatches in support of these activities. I think they suggest that we should clarify the division of roles between Japan and the US in the future.
4. Japan-US Alliance (Relations with China, etc.)
Question (Kajiwara, NHK):
This is a rather general question on the Japan-US Alliance. I assume that talks to deepen the Japan-US Alliance are going to start, but what issues will Japan and the United States address in the context of the Alliance? Looking decades ahead, what do you think will constitute a threat? China is increasing its military power and seeking to form alliances with the United States and Asian nations. What do you think of the possibility of China shaking up the status quo in the region?
We had better not to use the expression “threat” needlessly. I think we need to discuss ways to prevent China from becoming an actual threat, given that China is growing both economically and militarily.
Question (Ishikawa, Yomiuri Shimbun):
On a related note, Chair of the Diet Affairs Committee of the Democratic Party of Japan Kenji Yamaoka made remarks on Japan-China and Japan-US relations when he delivered an address in Shanghai as the deputy leader of a group of members of the Democratic Party of Japan which visited China at the end of last year. He said that Japan, the United States, and China constituted an equilateral triangle. Some people, including Minister Seiji Maehara, have questioned this view of a relationship shaped like an equilateral triangle on television programs and on other occasions. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, what is your view on this “equilateral triangle” theory?
It depends on the perspective the discussion is based on. I do not intend to explain this in a simple way. Economically, Japan’s trade volume with China has become larger than the Japan’s trade volume with the United States. Likewise, China has become a more important trading partner for the United States than Japan is for the country. So if the discussion is based on the state of the our economies, the equilateral triangle theory is not necessarily wrong. However, we should keep in mind that Japan and the United Sates are allies. The two allied nations which share common values such as liberty, democracy, and a market economy and which have signed a security treaty, and China, without such a condition, whose political system is different from those of these two countries, cannot be the same. Of course, I am saying this based on the premise of China being a very important country.
5. Deepening of the Japan-US Alliance
Question (Ukai, Asahi Shimbun):
What is the outline of the schedule for talks to deepen the Japan-US Alliance? Some say that the talks will not move forward unless the Futenma issue is concluded in May, and others argue that discussions on security will face difficulties because of the presence of the Social Democratic Party in the coalition government. What is your take on these views?
I think first we will have working-level consultations by senior officials or 2+2 minister-level consultations. Broadly speaking, these meetings are scheduled for sometime in the first half of this year, but nothing concrete has been decided yet. I wish to hold 2+2 consultations after working-level discussions have been sufficiently conducted. I am aware of the view that talks cannot be held in a full-fledged manner until the Futenma issue has been concluded in May. However, I believe that we can conduct substantial discussions and share our thoughts on the current state of affairs even before this, and I believe that this process is very important.
Question (Sato, Hokkaido Shimbun):
Someone asked this earlier, but since you did not answer it, let me ask you again. Discussions to deepen the Japan-US Alliance will probably include security issues. I assume that Japan and the United States will consult each other on this topic. On the other hand, discussions in Japan on Futenma seem to indicate a wide gap between your view and the one held by the Social Democratic Party. Do you think that the difference in views in Japan will hinder Japan-US talks on security as the two nations discuss deepening of the Japan-US Alliance?
I intend to sufficiently exchange views in such a way that the difference in views in Japan will not hinder the talks.
6. Emergency Assistance to Haiti in Response to the Earthquake Disaster
Question (Uesugi, Freelance):
I have a question about the Haitian earthquake. The DPJ recently dispatched two Diet members, member of the House of Representatives Nobuhiko Suto and member of the House of Councillors Yukihisa Fujita to Haiti. Is the government planning to dispatch any political appointees, such as a minister, to Haiti? Additionally – I asked this question last week as well – has the Haitian Ambassador to Japan contacted the Japanese government requesting assistance? Last week you said that you would confirm this with the relevant office. Can you tell us what you have found out?
I have not confirmed about the Haitian Ambassador to Japan. I apologize. We are not currently considering the dispatch of any political appointees. The DPJ insisted that they wanted to dispatch people to Haiti. We have replied to them that we cannot provide any accommodation in Haiti. We can provide accommodation up to the border of Haiti in the neighboring Dominican Republic, but once they are inside Haiti, we do not have the human resources to be able to accommodate them. We will therefore concentrate on activities such as rescue operations and communications. I have asked Director-General Fujita of the DPJ’s International Department for the DPJ’s understanding on this matter. That is how severe the situation is. Embassy staff in Haiti have been sleeping in cars because their residences have collapsed. Recently, they were able to secure hotel accommodations, but for several days they were spending the night in cars and the situation was such that we could not get in touch with them over the phone. The security situation is severe as well and will possibly worsen. When thinking about how much we can be of help, considering the situation, I think now is not the time to dispatch political appointees yet.
Question (Nanao, Nico Nico Douga):
I have a question on behalf of our users. The Chinese government, which responded more quickly to the Haitian earthquake than it has ever responded to a disaster before, has been garnering much attention. I believe this type of international activity is extremely important. What kind of short- and mid-term plans for diplomatic policy does Japan have that will allow it to aggressively contribute to the world and promote itself? Given that this is the beginning of the new year, could you tell us your thoughts on this again?
The scope of the question is a little too large and so it is difficult to answer. I do not think I can give a simple answer. However, taking the current situation into consideration, there was a newspaper report today that also published opinions regarding Japan’s reaction. You just now brought up China. China has dispatched peacekeeping operation (PKO) units to Haiti. China does not have diplomatic relations with Haiti. I think that China, in part, may have wanted to promote its presence as much as possible because of this. Regarding the opinion that perhaps Japan’s reaction was slow – this came up in the previous press conference as well – I would like to say one thing. Haiti is in an uncertain state of security in which PKO units are now operating. Because Japan forbids the possession of weapons, we must proceed cautiously in dispatching unarmed people to Haiti. I ask for your understanding in this matter. Given the situation, we first dispatched a survey team and then later a medical team. I believe that this was the best course of action we could take under the circumstances.
Question (Higashioka, Asahi Shimbun):
I also have a question about the Haitian earthquake. You just stated that with the current situation of the Japanese Embassy in Haiti, you could not provide accommodations for an inspection tour by DPJ Diet members. In consideration of this, do you think that timing-wise, it is perhaps not necessary or undesirable for the inspection team to go to Haiti at this time?
That is something for the party or the individual members to decide. I do not think that they should not go. Looking at the members of the inspection tour, they are all people who can survive even severe situations, so I am not too worried about that.
7. Assistance toward Afghanistan
Question (Tanaka, Japan Internet News):
I have a question about assistance to Afghanistan. I think that providing funds to aid the employment of former Taliban soldiers is a good idea. However, if the funds are given to the government instead of the former Taliban soldiers themselves, there is a danger of the money disappearing into thin air. It is like giving an alcoholic father the allowance for his children to attend high school in Japan. Are you thinking of some kind of measure to prevent our precious tax money from being wasted?
I do not think that example was a very good one.
Question (Tanaka, Japan Internet News):
I think the reality is even worse than the example.
This is tax money from the people of Japan, so we must make sure it is not wasted. This is the same for other countries as well. One of the measures we are considering now is providing occupational training so that it is easier for former soldiers to rejoin society. We do not plan to hand out cash.
Question (Tanaka, Japan Internet News):
The money should be handed directly to the schools where they are conducting occupational training. Giving it to the government would result in the money disappearing.
The occupational training I just gave as an example – while not for former Taliban soldiers, there is a school, which I myself visited, being run by JICA in Kabul, not by the Afghan government. JICA may go to places directly and while the government may be given free rein in some cases, I think it is best that we conduct assistance directly or perhaps through various NGOs. As much as possible, that is how I would like to conduct assistance.
8. Cultural Diplomacy
Question (Shimada, Freelance):
We often hear how Japan’s anime, manga, and games influence young people overseas. I have also heard how some people learned Japanese because they wanted to be able to enjoy Japanese anime with subtitles instead of dubbed. Can you tell us your stance on cultural diplomacy?
Your question is very general and so it is difficult to answer. I believe that Japan’s anime, games, game characters, and other things like this are very effective in getting young people abroad to learn about Japan. Although I was unable to attend the ceremony, recently, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I awarded the International MANGA Award. I believe that cultural diplomacy is extremely important. While these are only a part of cultural diplomacy, they serve as large stepping stones to becoming more interested in Japan. I feel they are very important.
9. The Investigation into the Issue of the So-called Secret Agreements
Question (Kurashige, Asahi Shimbun):
Minister of Finance Naoto Kan stated at a press conference after the Cabinet Meeting this morning that he instructed the Ministry of Finance to also conduct thorough investigation into the issue of the secret agreements. Previously, in response to a question I asked, you stated that you did not have any specific intentions to request help from the Ministry of Finance. I believe that the fourth secret agreement for which you gave orders to investigate deeply involves documents from the Ministry of Finance. Can you please give us your thoughts on this again?
The verification committee is currently verifying the matter. I cannot give you the details. I ask that you look at the report when it is released.
10. Subsidies for US-model Eco-cars (Environmentally Friendly Vehicles)
Question (Ukai, Asahi Shimbun):
I have a question about ecocar subsidies. I understand that during the foreign ministers’ meeting with Secretary Clinton in Hawaii she requested that Japan take consideration of US-model ecocars. I am also aware that in response to this request, adjustments are being made within the Japanese government so that mileage ratings measured in the United States can be used to apply for subsidies in Japan as well. Can you tell us what instructions you gave after returning from Hawaii, and what your opinion is on including US cars for ecocar subsidies?
This is currently under consideration within the government. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is taking the lead and I think that a conclusion will soon be formed. Since that conclusion has not yet been formed, I think it best that I don’t say too much. I did say to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Masayuki Naoshima on returning to Japan that I believe this should be taken care of as soon as possible.
11. Changes in the Security Situation
Question (Iwakami, Freelance):
You said we should not say the “threat of China.” This makes sense from a diplomatic viewpoint. However on the other hand, threats are not limited only to military threats of war using traditional arms. Attacks using cyber weapons have become an everyday event. Just the other day, Google was the victim of a cyber attack in China. This has led the company to announce that it will withdraw from China, causing uproar. With more and more Japanese companies moving into the Chinese market and cyber attacks easily crossing borders, the grey zone of whether we are in a wartime or peacetime situation is expanding. I think this falls under the category of security in a broad sense. Whether the situation is one in which the Self-Defense Force must be mobilized, a diplomatic resolution can be made, or private companies must protect themselves through their own efforts, I believe that we must consider “threats” as encompassing a wider range of actions. Please give us your opinion on this matter.
First of all, I think that the argument about Google withdrawing from China is not about cyber attacks, but rather about a difference in opinion about restrictions. In any case, new types of attacks which have not been heard of much before – such as cyber attacks and attacks from space in which satellites are shot down – are emerging. These represent changes in the security situation and issues that must be considered as new areas to be dealt with.
12. Prior Notification about the Transit of Nuclear Submarines
Question (Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo):
I have a question about the transit of nuclear submarines, which I also asked about before. Can you give us an answer about why the media is not being notified in advance about transit?
I am glad you asked, because I have prepared an answer. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US side requested that Japan take appropriate steps to ensure that US military vessels would not face the possibility of threats. In response to this, the government has taken the measure of notifying local governments, but not making the information public. Since then, as the situation has not changed, the US side has conveyed its wish for us to continue to withhold this information. We are continuing with this measure in consideration of the situation.
Question (Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo):
Have you confirmed this since taking up the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs?
Yes, I have confirmed this as needed.
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