Press Conference, 30 June 2006
- Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on situation in Israel and the Palestinian region
- Statement by the Press Secretary on the national referendum in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to amend the draft constitution
- Visit by Mr. Katsutoshi Kaneda, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, to China and Mongolia
- Visit by Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, to South Africa and Hong Kong
- Visit by Dr. Kiyohiko Toyama, Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs, to Laos and Sri Lanka
- Visit to Japan by Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
- Ceremony to start project for construction of diesel power station in Samawah, Iraq
- 6th Japan-China Consultation Concerning the East China Sea and Other Matters
- Selection of member states of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
- Signing of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Zambia
- The Third Negotiations for the Conclusion of the Social Security Agreement (tentative translation) between Japan and Australia
- Decision by Brazil to adopt Japanese version for high-definition TV
- Questions concerning maritime survey
- Questions concerning Tokyo Conference II: Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan
- Questions concerning abduction issue
I. Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations on situation in Israel and the Palestinian region
Deputy Press Secretary Tomohiko Taniguchi: Good afternoon. First, a statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations has just been issued about the situation in Israel and the Palestinian region. It is about the exchange of violence between both sides. It is to strongly condemn any act of violence being conducted by both sides. As soon as the English version is available, it is going to be uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
II. Statement by the Press Secretary on the national referendum in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to amend the draft constitution
Mr. Taniguchi: Bear with me five, six or ten minutes while I read out some of the announcements.
The next one is also a statement by the Press Secretary and it is about the national referendum in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to amend the draft constitution. This will also be available on our website soon so I will not go into the details.
III. Visit by Mr. Katsutoshi Kaneda, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, to China and Mongolia
Mr. Taniguchi: A couple of announcements about the visits of dignitaries.
First, Mr. Katsutoshi Kaneda, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, is going to visit the People's Republic of China and Mongolia from 1 to 4 July. The purpose is to attend a commemorative event for the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Sino-Japan Friendship Center for Environmental Protection. He is going to meet Mr. Zhou Sheng-xian, who is Minister for State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). In Mongolia, Senior Vice-Minister Kaneda is going to meet President Nambaryn Enkhbayar and is going to make a visit to the Mongolia-Japan Center, which has been created by the official development assistance (ODA) of the Government of Japan.
IV. Visit by Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, to South Africa and Hong Kong
Mr. Taniguchi: Similarly, Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, is scheduled to visit the Republic of South Africa to join the 8th Japan-South Africa Partnership Forum taking place in Pretoria in South Africa. He is going to be in South Africa from 5 to 7 July. On his way to South Africa, he is also visiting Hong Kong to meet the representatives of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
V. Visit by Dr. Kiyohiko Toyama, Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs, to Laos and Sri Lanka
Mr. Taniguchi: Also, there is another announcement about the visit of Dr. Kiyohiko Toyama, Vice-Minister (Parliamentary) for Foreign Affairs. He will visit the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka from 1 to 8 July.
As you know the diplomatic schedule has been very much hectic after the end of the Diet session. Those are the announcements about the visits of the senior members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Taniguchi: The next one is about Mr. Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), who is going to come to Japan on the invitation of the Japanese Government on 5 and 6 July. During his stay, the Director-General is going to meet Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso and others. The purpose needless to say is to exchange views on the Doha Round negotiations.
Mr. Taniguchi: There was a ceremony to start a project for the construction of a diesel power station in Samawah, Iraq on 28 June. This is or will shortly be available on the website so I will skip this as well.
Mr. Taniguchi: Regarding the Japan-China Consultation Concerning the East China Sea and Other Matters, the sixth meeting is going to take place on 8 and 9 July in Beijing. From the Japanese side, Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Nobuyori Kodaira, Director-General of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, will be attending. From the Chinese side, Mr. Hu-Zheng yue, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, plus other officials, are going to join. This is a follow-up of the past consultations that have taken place five times so far.
IX. Selection of member states of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage
Mr. Taniguchi: Let me also make an announcement that on 29 June, in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, there was the first session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. This is an initiative that the Japanese Government has been keenly pushing to make it happen. As an instrumental member, the Japanese Government has been chosen as one of the members of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
X. Signing of the Agreement on Technical Cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Zambia
Mr. Taniguchi: There was a signing of the agreement on technical assistance toward the Government of the Republic of Zambia by the Japanese Government. The signing is about having a framework whereby Japanese aid specialists such as people from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) can smoothly enter Zambia. In order for Japan to provide technical assistance, this sort of agreement has been signed with aid recipient countries and this is part of that. With this agreement, it will be made easier for the Japanese Government to send specialists in technical assistance to Zambia.
XI. The Third Negotiations for the Conclusion of the Social Security Agreement (tentative translation) between Japan and Australia
Mr. Taniguchi: Two other items. There is going to be the Third Negotiations for the Conclusion of the Social Security Agreement (tentative translation) between Japan and Australia, and that is going to be held here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 3 to 7 July.
Mr. Taniguchi: Also, there was an announcement made by the Brazilian Government that the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil is going to adopt the Japanese version for high-definition TV, which is called ISDB-T. The announcement was made on Thursday, 29 June in Brazil. With this announcement, the Brazilian Government is going to adopt the Japanese standard for high-definition TV.
Q: I heard in the news yesterday that Senior Vice-Minister Shiozaki has said that he has conveyed to the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to exercise self-restraint in conducting maritime surveys in the disputed area. I was wondering if you can elaborate on this and whether the ROK Government has responded to Japan's message.
Mr. Taniguchi: There has been a general agreement that the heightened tension that both nations had to experience in the last occasion should not be repeated. There has been an agreement between both governments that a better communication channel should be created and maintained well so that any unnecessary tension with regard to the events such as that would not be repeated. That is the overall situation. You said that it was Senior Vice-Minister Shiozaki?
Q: Yes, I saw him speak on TV yesterday.
Mr. Taniguchi: It is the position of the Japanese Government that both governments should be self-constrained, if I can borrow what you said, so that neither party would unnecessarily escalate the tension surrounding the maritime survey, the issues of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the like. I understand Senior Vice-Minister Shiozaki has mentioned that in general terms. It is to be hoped that this principle is very much well-respected on the side of the ROK Government as well.
Q: So has the Foreign Ministry actually conveyed this message to the ROK and have they responded?
Mr. Taniguchi: It is my understanding that the Japanese Government has continued to say that to the ROK Government.
Q: What does the Foreign Ministry see as the most desirable outcome--the creation of a so-called advanced notification system?
Mr. Taniguchi: Well that is one way to do that. We are discussing that both with the ROK Government and with the Chinese Government. This is all in accordance with the longtime cherished principle of the Japanese Government that the surrounding sea of the Japanese archipelago has to be the sea for peace and cooperation.
Q: As a follow-up to that, the creation of an advanced notification system, do you have a timeframe in which to implement this system?
Mr. Taniguchi: I do not think there is any fixed timeframe in order for the relevant governments to create this. I understand this is an ongoing process.
Q: I believe the Tokyo Conference II: Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan is going to be held in Tokyo next week. Japan is hosting this conference for the second time. Japan as I understand is the top donor nation to Afghanistan. What is the Japanese Government's aim with respect to this conference?
Mr. Taniguchi: Afghanistan is a fledgling nation. It can hardly be said that democracy has taken deep root. The group of people who used to be members of a militant group or army, not all of them has made a successful transition to civilians. So there has got to be continued support to smooth the process in which those former armed personnel can transform themselves peacefully and effectively into civilian citizens. In this respect, the Japanese Government has been playing a leading role to make the process a smooth one. That is still on top of our agendas.
In terms of the status as a top donor to Afghanistan, the Japanese Government has taken that status very much in a responsible fashion. We view that we are going to hold this session as part of our important mission. So this is, in sum, part of Japan's effort to once again create steam with which the international community can possibly enhance their effort to help create sound social infrastructure, sound economy and sound democracy in Afghanistan.
Q: Regarding this conference, who will be the participants? Will there be representatives of various nations in the world including the US? Will there be international organizations taking part as well?
Mr. Taniguchi: The list of participants is still being finalized.
Q: My question is about the family members from the ROK who were in North Korea. I am sure everybody watched the press conference and paid attention to what Kim Young Nam mentioned. How does the Japanese Government intend to handle the situation? It seems like there has been no change in North Korea's stance toward the abduction issue, saying that Ms. Megumi Yokota was dead. How do you intend to pursue this?
Mr. Taniguchi: In view of the press conference held by Kim Young Nam, there is nothing new that I can say as to Japan's stance toward the abduction issue. In other words, nothing has changed so far as our continued intention is concerned, and that intention is that North Korea has to return all of the abductees to Japan without exception.
As far as Ms. Megumi Yokota is concerned, North Korea has yet to come back to the Japanese Government with a reliable set of evidence about her whereabouts, about her health, and so on. The Japanese Government is still sticking to its principle that those abductees have to be returned to Japan as soon as possible.
So long as the press conference that we saw yesterday is concerned, I am not so sure that Kim Young Nam expressed his opinions and will freely, without any instruction from the North Korean government. So it will be safe to say that there is a degree of intervention from the Pyongyang government in the conduct of the press conference itself.
Q: I was watching the joint press conference by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi last night. President Bush referred to the abduction case very clearly and even mentioned Ms. Yokota's name. Do you think his concern, the way he spoke out to the world, would help resolve this issue?
Mr. Taniguchi: Well that is a huge boost. There is no question about it because it was voiced in such a personal fashion. It conveyed what President George W. Bush really believes in. So I think the observers of the press conference were convinced that there was no diplomatic spin of any kind. He did speak his heart genuinely. I think the Japanese Government and Mr. and Mrs. Yokota and other family members of the abductees have gotten a huge amount of moral support from the United States (US).
Back to Index