(* 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, June 8, 2012, 10:32 a.m.
Place: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Opening Remarks
- (1) Selection of the Next CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
- Questions concerning the Japan-China relationship (comments by Japanese Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Niwa)
- Questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa
- Questions concerning PKO
- Questions concerning the murder of a female employee of TEPCO
1. Opening Remarks
(1) Selection of the Next CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba: On Friday, June 8, a meeting of the governing Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was held in Washington D.C., and Dr. Naoko Ishii, Deputy Vice Minister of Finance, the candidate nominated by Japan, was selected as the next CEO of the GEF.
The GEF is a multilateral fund established to implement various projects concerning climate change, biodiversity conservation, and other issues related to various environmental fields in developing countries. It is an important organization for Japan to advance cooperation in the field of the global environment.
The Government of Japan hopes that Vice Minister of Finance Ishii will contribute to the solution of global environmental problems utilizing her rich experience in the field of environment, finance, and development. Japan would like to continue to support the activities of the organization.
2. Questions concerning the Japan-China relationship (comments by Japanese Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China Niwa)
Shimada, NHK: Mr. Uichiro Niwa, Japanese Ambassador to China, had an interview with the Financial Times and remarked that the purchase of the Senkaku Islands by the Tokyo Metropolitan government could spark an extremely grave crisis to Japan-China relations. I would like to ask you whether you were aware of what the ambassador would say before he sat down for the interview. In case what the Ambassador said was not in line with the Japanese Government’s position, the Ambassador’s statement will have a great impact on Japan-China relations. What do you think of the situation and what kind of actions will you take about the Ambassador?
Minister Gemba: Needless to say, the Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan. As such, there are no territorial issues surrounding the Senkaku Islands. It is not an issue involving any external parties, since this is a matter of ownership change within a country. His statement is clearly different from what the Japanese Government holds to be true.
So I sent the Ambassador a warning in my name yesterday and have obtained his reply.
Shimada, NHK: How did the Ambassador respond to you?
Minister, Gemba: The Ambassador apologized. Simply put, he apologized for the trouble he caused.
Shimada, NHK: Do you plan to take any actions about him?
Minister Gemba: I warned him through a Director General. The warning was given in my name and the Ambassador responded to it with a written document. I have the document with me. In a nutshell, the Ambassador says that he is very sorry for what he did and that he will not make any such comments in the future. This is the current situation. I accepted the Ambassador’s apology.
3. Questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa
Shimada, NHK: In relation to Osprey aircraft to be deployed to Okinawa, the Ministry of Defense recently announced that the accident in Morocco was not triggered by mechanical errors.
In relation to the announcement, the Okinawa Prefectural Chapters of the Democratic Party of Japan has harshly criticized Defense Minister Morimoto, who has remarked that not all investigation results may be available by the time the aircrafts are deployed to Okinawa. The Chapters are requesting the Minister’s dismissal. Do you plan to deploy Osprey as planned based on the recent investigation results, despite the current situation? In addition, what do you think of the dismissal request presented by the Okinawa Prefectural Chapters of your party against the minister appointed by your party?
Minister Gemba: When I met the Governor of Okinawa, he told me that he valued data for the decision to allow the deployment of Osprey. As you said, the aircraft accident report published by the United States seems to conclude that the accident was not caused by mechanical issues. I believe that we need to consistently request further information from the United States and explain related information including the obtained data in detail to the people of Okinawa.
Shimada, NHK: What do you think of the criticism expressed by the Okinawa Prefectural Chapters of the Democratic Party of Japan?
Minister Gemba: Minister Morimoto may not have been directly communicating with the prefectural chapters. It may be important for him to directly talk with people in the prefectural chapters.
4. Questions concerning PKO
Umegaki, Jiji Press: I have one question on a law related to peacekeeping operations (PKO). This month marks the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the PKO Cooperation Law. Could you comment on your evaluation about past PKO activities implemented by Japan and how you will present a bill concerning the amendment of the PKO Cooperation Law to the current Diet session as the session is close to its end?
Minister Gemba: Japanese PKO activities are highly appreciated on a global scale. I consider that we need to focus on providing greater contributions in areas Japan excels in among the PKO activities we implement.
In this context, we are considering the amendment of the PKO Cooperation Law, but the Government has not reached a consensus on it. It is still being worked on.
5. Questions concerning the murder of a female employee of TEPCO
Imai, Yomiuri Shimbun: Mr. Govinda Prasad Mainali, a man who was accused of murdering a female Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) employee, was recently released as he was granted a retrial for the murder case. Did the Japanese and Nepalese Government have any diplomatic discussions in relation to this process?
Minister Gemba: The Nepalese government recently requested that the Japanese Government provide him with humanitarian treatment, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicated the request to the Ministry of Justice. Of course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not communicated any other specific requests, including for example, the granting of a retrial, to the Ministry of Justice.
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