(* 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: Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 9:23 a.m.
Place: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Main topics:

  1. Opening Remarks
    • (1) Acceptance of the Convention on Cybercrime
  2. Questions concerning domestic political affairs (omitted)
  3. Questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa
  4. Questions concerning the Atomic Energy Basic Law
  5. Questions concerning Japan-Russia relations
  6. 6. Additional questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa
  7. Additional questions concerning domestic political affairs (omitted)

1. Opening Remarks

(1) Acceptance of the Convention on Cybercrime

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba: A Cabinet Decision has been made on the acceptance of the Convention on Cybercrime.
Internet use and electronic commerce are now a part of our daily lives. The strengthening of international cooperation for cybercrime countermeasures is an urgent issue in order to allow the public to safely use the internet.
This Convention is to promote international cooperation for investigation and prosecution of computer-related crimes by establishing criminal procedures on search and seizure of data.
Taking the opportunity of conclusion of this Convention, Japan would like  to further strengthen cybercrime countermeasures in cooperation with international community, in order to protect sound economic activities and public benefits in cyberspace.

2. Questions concerning domestic political affairs (omitted)

3. Questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa

Kikuchi, Nippon Television: I have heard that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) explained the cause of the accidents involving Osprey aircraft to the relevant officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense. Have you received any detailed report on this issue?

Minister Gemba: Yes, I have received the reports. I understand that Defense Minister Morimoto is going to announce the details, probably this afternoon, so I don't think it is appropriate for me to make a comment on this issue. Defense Minister Morimoto will explain what we know at present later today.

4. Questions concerning the Atomic Energy Basic Law

Kamide, Freelance: This is not a matter you are directly in charge of, but this could become a diplomatic issue. On June 20, the draft amendment to the Atomic Energy Basic Law, which had been proposed by Diet members was approved in conjunction with the bill for a nuclear regulatory commission for the regulatory agency being talked about, and the phrase of “contributing to security” was included in the Act. This has drawn strong criticism from the Republic of Korea, especially from newspapers and such, as being a strategic move toward eventually using nuclear power for military purposes. I would like to ask you whether this is something that you had expected, and whether there has been any reaction on the government level from the Republic of Korea or China at the present stage – perhaps not from China, but from countries like the Republic of Korea.

Minister Gemba: I have not received any reports about such a reaction.

Japan has no intention of possessing nuclear weapons. This is the major premise.

Kamide, Freelance: Were you expecting criticism from newspapers and such?

Minister Gemba: I did not take part in the discussion on the legislation for the regulatory agency. As I just mentioned, Japan’s policy of not possessing nuclear weapons is unwavering.

5. Questions concerning Japan-Russia relations

 Tosa, Asahi Shimbun: There have been news reports that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is planning to visit Etorofu Island.  What do you think about this?

Minister Gemba: That is being reported, and I come in contact with all kinds of information. Having said that, if I speak in general terms, the visit to the four northern islands by a Russian high official conflicts with Japan’s stance on the territorial issue. I believe the Chief Cabinet Secretary also made such a comment yesterday, and I do not intend to say any more about this issue at the moment.

6. 6. Additional questions concerning the deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa

Toiyama, Ryuku Shimpo: Regarding the issue of Osprey aircraft, although I understand that Defense Minister Morimoto will explain the details later today, I would like to ask you two questions now. Firstly, judging by the information from the Unites States, do you recognize that Osprey aircraft are safe? Secondly, following the receipt of the report from the United States, are you planning to re-start explanations on the deployment of Osprey to the people of Okinawa, which are currently on hold?

Minister Gemba: At least, following our request, the United States issued a briefing to the Government of Japan and the investigation team, albeit it is unusual. The investigation team was sent voluntarily based on Japan's own decision, not by invitation. It is an unusual step for the United States to take, and it shows how seriously they take this issue.

Under the circumstances, I think the United States is doing its best to provide currently available explanations to the fullest extent. Some parts of the report make sense to me, other parts need more explanation. As I said earlier, Defense Minister Morimoto is going to make an announcement today, so I don't think it is appropriate for me to make further comments on this issue at this stage. The Minister of Defense is primarily responsible for this issue.

In addition, the future schedule has not been decided at the moment.

7. Additional questions concerning domestic political affairs (omitted)


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