(* 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 Seiji Maehara
Date: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 0:15 p.m.
Place: MOFA Press Conference Room
- Opening Remarks
- (1) Visit to Japan by Prime Minister Singh of India
- (2) Visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia
- (3) Convening of Japan-Indonesia Ministerial Economic Meeting
- Visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia
- Use of Cluster Bombs by US Forces in Japan
- Costs of Stationing of US Forces in Japan (Host Nation Support)
- Winning of Nobel Peace Prize by Mr. Liu Xiaobo
- Japan-China relations
- Negotiations to Sign Japan-India Nuclear Energy Agreement
- Revision of National Defense Program Outline
- Realignment of US Military Forces
- Commemoration of 65th Anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea
1. Opening Remarks
(1) Visit to Japan by Prime Minister Singh of India
Minister Maehara: First, let me make three announcements.
The first announcement concerns a question that I was unable to answer at the previous press conference concerning the visit to Japan by Prime Minister Singh of India as a distinguished guest for an official working visit. The answer is that flags will be put up on the streets around Kasumigaseki and the Diet Building.
(2) Visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia
Minister: The second announcement is that Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia will visit Japan tomorrow on the way to attend the Pakistan Friends Meeting to be held in Brussels. I am scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Rudd in the afternoon to exchange views on bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues.
(3) Convening of Japan-Indonesia Ministerial Economic Meeting
Minister: The third announcement is that the Japan-Indonesia Ministerial Economic Meeting will be held on October 14, which is the day after tomorrow. Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Ohata; Minister of Land，Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Mabuchi; Senior Vice-Minister of Health, Labor, and Welfare Fujimura; and I will be participating in the meeting from the Japanese side. From Indonesia, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa; Minister of Trade Mari (Pangestu); Minister of Industry Hidayat; and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Darwin (Saleh) will be participating in the meeting.
At the Economic Meeting, discussions are to be held on such matters as promotion of investments toward Indonesia and the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
2. Visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia
Yoshioka, Jiji Press: With regard to your meeting tomorrow with Foreign Minister Rudd, do you have any plans to exchange views on the whaling issue?
Minister: No. No topics in particular have been decided yet.
3. Use of Cluster Bombs by US Forces in Japan
Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo: With regard to the issue of cluster bombs mentioned in the government’s written response on which a Cabinet decision was made today, we have also reported the use of these bombs in Okinawa by the US military. In the written response in relation to that, the government is apparently saying that it intends to make utmost efforts to eliminate the use of cluster bombs by the United States. How does the government intend to specifically approach the United States in restraining the US side from using cluster bombs?
Minister: As you are aware, the United States has not signed a treaty banning cluster bombs, but Japan is a signatory. We take a different position (from the United States) concerning the US Forces in Japan (USFJ), so in that sense I will be making a proposal to the United States through diplomatic channels, and I believe that the Defense Minister will also be making a proposal to the US Department of Defense.
Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo: With regard to this issue, have you, the Defense Minister, or the Government of Japan so far already made any proposals to the US side about refraining from using cluster bombs?
Minister: I will examine the details more closely, but I believe that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have made some kinds of approaches at the stage that Japan became a signatory, so I will report on it after making confirmation.
4. Costs of Stationing of US Forces in Japan (Host Nation Support)
Iwakami, Freelance: Reports have been made sporadically for some time that the US side has demanded the Japanese side to increase the sympathy budget. Please tell us – to the extent that you can – the facts with regard to the kind of channels through which the demand has been made and the amount of increase that the US side has demanded. I have also heard that the US side has demanded that the title “sympathy budget” be changed. What is the purpose of this demand? Additionally, with regard to the easing of the three principles on arms export, is this also a proposal by the United States, or is it the idea of the Government of Japan? Please explain these three points.
Minister: First, with regard to the Host Nation Support, discussions are currently being held between the Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry authorities directly in charge. I have also heard that the US side has made such a request, but the Government of Japan has sought transparency and efficiency with regard to the use of the budget, and the authorities directly in charge are holding discussions among themselves.
With regard to the title (of the sympathy budget), I have not received any reports that the US side has asked for a change in the title.
With regard to the three principles on arms export, I have not received any reports that the United States has asked Japan to review the principles. At the moment, debates are being conducted on what to do about them in the National Defense Program Outline. However, to begin with, the three principles on arms export have been applied to Communist bloc countries, countries to which the export of arms is prohibited under UN resolution, and countries directly involved in conflict. I believe that the philosophy of not providing weapons to such countries is important, so debates are now being conducted within the government regarding how to review the principles while cherishing this philosophy.
Iwakami, Freelance: For confirmation of the last part, you said that Japan will not provide weapons to Communist bloc countries and to countries to which the export of arms is prohibited under UN resolution, but does what you said include implications that in the future, Japan intends to ease the three principles on arms export, targeting countries other than these and enabling the export of weapons and the like?
Minister: What I said is about all that took place in the beginning. What I said about the three principles on arms export is that the three principles prohibit the export of arms to Communist bloc countries and to countries to which the export of arms is prohibited under UN resolution. However, there have been subsequent developments and the three principles on arms export exist in the current state, as you are all aware. I said that we intend to continue respecting that spirit, and studies on how the three principles on arms export ought to be are currently being conducted within the government in the context of reviewing the National Defense Program Outline.
Kawasaki, Yomiuri Shimbun: In connection with that, I would like to ask one more question. During the Japan-US Defense Ministers’ Meeting held in Hanoi, Defense Minister Kitazawa has apparently conveyed to Defense Secretary Gates his personal views favoring reviewing the three principles. What are your own views, your current thoughts concerning reviewing the three principles?
Minister: I have been participating in debates on reviewing the National Defense Program Outline, and I have expressed my views there, but since I am a Cabinet minister, I feel that it would be logical for me to comment at the point where a coordinated view is in place within the government.
5. Winning of Nobel Peace Prize by Mr. Liu Xiaobo
Hashimoto, Kyodo News: In connection with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr. Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese side summoned the Norwegian Ambassador to China on the day of the award to lodge a complaint and canceled a meeting with a Norwegian cabinet minister scheduled to be held on the 13th. How does this diplomatic posture of the Chinese side appear in your eyes?
Minister: I believe that the Nobel Committee praised the activities that Mr. Liu Xiaobo has conducted so far. I believe that respect of basic human rights and freedom are important values in any country.
6. Japan-China relations
Hasegawa, AFP News: I have a question about relations between Japan and China. The Chief Cabinet Secretary said earlier that the environment is being prepared for the summit meeting between Japan and China in October. I would like to ask you about your own views. Additionally, Mr. Takahashi, the final remaining Fujita employee, has returned to Japan; please tell us if there is any new information from Mr. Takahashi.
Minister: At the recent ASEM held in Brussels, it was confirmed between Prime Minister Kan and Premier Wen Jiabao that they would make mutual efforts to resume high-level exchanges. In response, we will also hold various discussions with China through diplomatic channels as well.
I think that the most important thing is to firmly maintain the principles of the Japanese side. There are no sovereignty issues in the East China Sea in the first place, and at the same time, the Senkaku Islands are in their entirety the sovereign territory of Japan. I think that Japan’s effective control will remain a fundamental premise.
In this sense, we have a wide range of international meetings. If the premier of China also comes, the prime minister of Japan will also attend, and I am aware that up to now, there have been summits between Japan and China, or multilateral summits including Japan and China. I do not consider it a foregone conclusion, nor do I hold any prospects as to how far discussions between Japan and China can be advanced, while firmly maintaining these principles. Our intention now is only to move forward based on the common understanding between the leaders of Japan and China at ASEM, and to advance discussions through diplomatic channels while firmly maintaining Japan’s principles.
7. Negotiations to Sign Japan-India Nuclear Energy Agreement
Kaneko, Kyodo News: This is in relation to the visit to Japan by Prime Minister Singh. I would like to ask about the current state of the Japan-India nuclear cooperation agreement. The second round of negotiations were held in India last week; I would like to ask about the results of those negotiations, and additionally, during the tenure of Foreign Minister Okada, he clearly stated the position that the agreement would be canceled if India conducted nuclear-weapons testing, but what are your own views on this, sir?
Minister: The second working-level meeting on the Japan-India nuclear cooperation agreement has been held in India. I have told them that I want them to carry on this principle in their negotiations in India, or in other words, former Foreign Minister Okada’s statement that we would cancel the agreement if India conducted nuclear-weapons testing.
At any rate, I have instructed them to firmly accelerate working-level discussions, while firmly maintaining this principle.
Yamao, Asahi Shimbun: This is on the topic of the nuclear-cooperation agreement that you just spoke about. How do you intend to include in the agreement the provision that the agreement will be canceled if nuclear-weapons testing is conducted?
Minister: I cannot mention the details since we are in the negotiation process, but the Indian side has not yet agreed to this. I have heard that the Indian side has not assented to this.
8. Revision of National Defense Program Outline
Iwakami, Freelance: I have a question about the revision to Japan’s National Defense Program Outline. Will the current tensions over the Senkaku Islands have some form of impact on these revisions? Will you rewrite the National Defense Program Outline’s slightly ambiguous current fundamental principle of not creating a power vacuum, and for example, include content stating a principle of thorough self-defense by Japan?
Additionally, the alignment of Japan’s defense forces is currently skewed toward the north; do you have any concrete plans to realign them so that the Senkaku Islands in the south can be defended? I would like to ask you to respond with a particular focus on these two points.
Minister: We have only just started to discuss the details of the National Defense Program Outline. I think that concrete matters will be further solidified in the future. I would like to speak about those matters that I can discuss at that point, but I am not able to speak in detail at the present time.
Iwakami, Freelance: This summer, the Prime Minister’s personal advisory committee published a report on revisions to the National Defense Program Outline. This report included a fair amount of concrete content. It also included revisions to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. I believe that you have doubtlessly seen this report. To what degree will it be reflected in the actual revisions? Please tell us your views on this.
Minister: I would like to express my heartfelt esteem and gratitude for the good work done by the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, led by Chairman Sato, in putting together that content, but this is only advice from a private advisory organ, so I think that it will be used as a point of reference.
I think that the important thing is actually for the internal government organization and the ruling parties to form a strong working relations, and consider the details of the policy. Additionally, you just mentioned the Senkaku issue, but the policy will not focus on transient issues like that, but rather on the medium and long-term security environment of this region. I think that this should be the premise.
When considering defense policy over the short term, we have the same five-year term as the Midterm Defense Program, but I think that we must think in terms of at least 10 years. In this sense, I think that the National Defense Program Outline must thoroughly consider our regional security environment 10 years into the future, or considering that defense equipment may take up to 5 years to reach completion from the time of order, we must consider it 10 or 20 years into the future.
Inada, NHK: This question is not about the National Defense Program Outline itself, but you just said that the Senkaku Islands are a transient issue. Even leaving aside the matter of sovereignty, does your understanding that this is transient include the fact that China’s maritime interests in the East China Sea are tending to expand? Alternatively, do you think that a response including this is necessary over the medium to long term?
Minister: By “transient,” I was referring only to the malicious act of ramming by a fishing boat. With regard to how the region’s security environment will change over the medium to long term, I think that there is naturally a wide range of directions to take, and considerations will naturally be undertaken based on major factors.
9. Realignment of US Military Forces
Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo: I am constantly asking this question, but on the issue of Futenma, at the last press conference, I asked how you were explaining the background behind the return of Futenma to Henoko. You responded by saying that you explained this to the governor, but that he was not convinced. I would like to ask you to state again in your own words, why Futenma cannot be moved outside the prefecture.
Minister: When I was the minister in charge of Okinawa, during the Hatoyama administration, Prime Minister Hatoyama and Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirano led a search for a location outside the prefecture or outside the country, and it is my understanding that as a result, including the fact that they could not find any destinations that would accept Futenma, they decided to return to Okinawa, in Henoko.
Takimoto, Ryukyu Shimpo: I believe that the Diet also recently discussed the geographical superiority of Okinawa as a location near to East Asia, but in this sense, to your knowledge, do the US Marine forces need to be in Okinawa for security assurance?
Minister: I believe that youare well aware of the fact that the Third Marine Expeditionary Force is not only located in Okinawa. When focusing on the geographical implications of this, this must also be considered, and at the same time, I think that deterrence will not be effective without the fundamental premise of a relationship of trust between the United States and Japan, which are allies. I think that it is vital for the two countries to have good relations, rather than having an agreement that is a mere scrap of paper, and for the two countries to have the trust and ties of a strong commitment if something happens. In this sense, I think that it will form the basis of a relationship of trust between the two countries for the Kan administration to fully and thoroughly ask for the understanding of Okinawa based on the Japan-US agreement that was made on May 28th, and to see through and accomplish the things that were decided.
10. Commemoration of 65th Anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea
Nishioka, Mainichi Newspapers: Yesterday, an event to commemorate the 65th anniversary of North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea was made public. We found General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, his third son Kim Jong-Un, and a military parade in the recording. Please tell us about your impressions from this.
Minister: It seems to me that they have had significant trainings for that parade. Kim Jong-Un, who is seen to be the successor, was also standing alongside on the parade platform, and the event was broadcast live. I think that they intended to promote the new regime, and Kim Jong-Un as the successor, not only to the North Korean people, but also to the entire world. I think, however, that we must analyze with extreme caution how the North Korean regime will change. I think that it will be vital for Japan to have ourown analysis, and to cautiously analyze the future trends in North Korea in collaboration with other countries, the United States and South Korea in particular, and collaborate thoroughly with them without relaxing our vigilance.
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