(* 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 Koichiro Gemba
Date: Friday, December 2, 2011, 8:47 a.m.
Place: Diet Building
- Opening Remarks
- (1) Visit to Japan of H.E. Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo
- Situation in Myanmar
- Issue of Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan
- Situation in Iran
1. Opening Remarks
(1) Visit to Japan of H.E. Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo
Minister Gemba: Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, will visit Japan, and I am scheduled to hold Foreign Ministerial talks on Monday, December 5, and exchange views on bilateral relations and international issues with him.
Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the first cabinet minister from the Republic of Kosovo visiting Japan, and we expect that his visit will enhance Japan's friendly relations with Kosovo.
2. Situation in Myanmar
Amano, Nippon Television: What do you as Minister for Foreign Affairs think of the recent democratization of Myanmar? Are you planning to visit there?
Minister: There are no fixed plans for my visit. As I have reiterated in the past, we positively evaluate the recent moves including release of political prisoners and the revision of the Political Parties Registration Law in Myanmar, and we should give support in order to make the situation irreversible. I already informed the Foreign Minister of Myanmar of this, and that was in October, if my memory is correct. Our position remains unchanged.
3. Issue of Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan
Ishida, Yomiuri Shimbun: It has passed 15 years today since the SACO agreement was signed for special actions including the return of land used by U.S. Forces in Okinawa. How do you evaluate the development of the matter up to now and please share with us your determination for the future?
Minister: It has passed 15 years, but, to our regret, the content of the SACO final report has not been realized yet. Various items, such as a further reduction of burdens, issues over the Status of Forces Agreement, the joint use of facilities, environmental problems, and the transfer of training sites, emerged since the SACO agreement. Our stance of maintaining deterrence through the security arrangement while reducing of the overall burdens on Okinawa remains unchanged. In any case, I will make every effort to building trust with Okinawa prefecture and the people of Okinawa.
Hanamura, TV Asahi: Minister of Defense Ichikawa is scheduled to visit Okinawa to hold talks with Governor Nakaima. The situation of Okinawa over the issue has become difficult. Furthermore, Minister Ichikawa's remarks have been criticized. What do you hope for the meeting?
Minister: As a matter of course, a sincere apology is necessary. I must apologize to the people of Okinawa as well as I am a Cabinet member concerned with Okinawa.
4. Situation in Iran
Sakai, Sankei Shimbun: I would like to ask a question about the situation in Iran. There is a growing coalition of European countries against Iran while Japanese government is so far only expressing sincere regret and no specific additional sanctions have emerged. What is the current situation?
Minister: There is the UN Security Council Resolution, and the Japanese Government is now seriously considering its implementation. At the same time, it is necessary for us to call directly on Iran. Japan should make efforts toward a peaceful settlement of the case. In other words, I think that it is absolutely necessary to do both.
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