(* 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, April 6, 2012, 10:26 a.m.
Place: Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister's Office

Main topics:

  1. Opening Remarks
    • (1) Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
    • (2) G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
    • (3) Diplomatic Bluebook 2012
  2. Questions concerning the North Korean Situation (Launch of “Satellites”)

1. Opening Remarks

(1) Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba: On April 8, the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Ningbo, the People’s Republic of China, which I am scheduled to attend. In this foreign ministers’ meeting, it is intended to have discussions about the Fifth Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting scheduled to be held this year in China. In addition, the three foreign ministers will exchange views on regional and international situations, including the situation of North Korea.

I hope that our future-oriented cooperative trilateral relationship will be further advanced through this foreign ministers’ meeting. Also, making use of this occasion, I will hold bilateral talks with the foreign ministers of China and the Republic of Korea, respectively.

In Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I would like to discuss concrete initiatives for this year’s 40th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic relations, with the aim of further deepening the Mutually Beneficial Relationship based on Common Strategic Interests between Japan and China. I would also like to focus on concrete initiatives concerning maritime cooperation and measures against reputational damages, which are among the six initiatives announced by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda during his visit to China at the end of last year.

Also, concerning the urgent issue of the situation in North Korea, it is extremely important to communicate with China, which is an important player. I would like to have an intense exchange of opinions on this during the foreign ministers’ meeting.

In the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I would like to discuss our responses to North Korea’s announcement to launch a “satellite,” and confirm the close relationship between Japan and the ROK. I would also like to exchange opinions on the further enhancement of the bilateral relationship between Japan and the ROK. 

(2) G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Minister Gemba: The G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Washington D.C. in the United States from April 11 to 12. I will visit the United States to attend the meeting if I obtain the Diet’s approval.

Making use of this occasion, I plan to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Every year, in the G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the urgent regional and international issues of the time are discussed. This year, too, I would like to discuss issues related to North Korea, Iran, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, Afghanistan, and other matters.

In particular, this meeting will take place right before or during the period of the missile launch announced by North Korea. I would like to cooperate closely with each G8 country to demonstrate the strong resolve of the G8 toward urging North Korea to exercise self-restraint.

I am now on familiar terms with most of the foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, so I look forward to having a frank and active exchange of views with them. 

(3) Diplomatic Bluebook 2012

Minister Gemba: I distributed the summary of the Diplomatic Bluebook 2012 at the Cabinet meeting. This Diplomatic Bluebook explains the international situations in 2011 and its implications, as well as Japan’s diplomatic efforts following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The Bluebook also includes the policies which I have been promoting since my assumption as Foreign Minister in September last year, such as network diplomacy, full-cast diplomacy, and the dissemination of Japanese values beyond Cool Japan.

I hope that this Diplomatic Bluebook will serve as a foothold for contemplating Japan’s future paths, in addition to deepening readers’ understanding of the events in 2011, thereby leading to the realization of powerful diplomacy backed by public support.

2. Questions concerning the North Korean Situation (Launch of “Satellites”)

Shimada, NHK: What is Japan’s plan to bring forth the launch of missile purported to be “Satellite” by North Korea at the Trilateral Meeting and G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting?

Minister Gemba: Needless to say, I will confirm with each nation about our strong will to urge North Korea to refrain from the launch, and we will send the message to North Korea. At the same time, Japan will coordinate with China and South Korea on how we deal with the situation in case a missile should be launched. In particular, Japan should take a leadership role in responding to this issue at the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting.

Noguchi, Nippon Television: Tomorrow, the Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers will have a meeting. You told reporters the other day that if China has a different view on this issue from those of Japan and Korea, that should be rectified. Could you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Minister Gemba: What I meant was China is an important player, if I use the term I did a while ago. China’s actions are very important in various issues including the abduction issue. China plays a critical role in urging North Korea to refrain from the launch and responding to the situations after the launch if there is one. So I will make sure Japan will coordinate closely with China on this issue. We need to share our views.

Reporter: Based on tomorrow’s ministerial meeting, are you planning to coordinate the actions to be taken by the two countries after the launch?

Minister Gemba: That is a possibility. Our first priority is to urge North Korea to refrain from the launch. I also believe we have to be ready for our actions after the launch.

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