Press Conference, 9 July 2009
- Update on the G8 Summit
- Japan-US foreign minister telephone talk
- Questions concerning the Fifth Japan-China Human Rights Dialogue
- Questions concerning the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China
- Questions concerning non-proliferation and disarmament
- Questions concerning Japanese inspection of foreign ships
- Questions concerning the visit of Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Da Wei to Japan
- Questions concerning the G8 Summit Meeting
- Questions concerning issues related to Pakistan at the G8 Summit
Deputy Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura: Good afternoon.
First, Prime Minister Taro Aso has been attending the G8 Summit Meeting, and at the end of yesterday's sessions, the G8 leaders issued a series of documents, which I have just distributed. They are: "the G8 Leaders Declaration: Responsible Leadership for a Sustainable Future and Annex: G8 Preliminary Accountability Report"; and three other documents, namely "Political Issues", "L'Aquila Statement on Non-Proliferation", and "G8 Declaration on Counter Terrorism".
Second, this morning, Foreign Minister Nakasone held a talk over the telephone with US Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
On the topic of North Korea, Foreign Minister Nakasone stated that the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions is a grave and provocative act that threatens the security of Japan, and it is unacceptable. Secretary of State Clinton agreed on this point. The two ministers also agreed on the importance of the full-scale enforcement of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874. They also affirmed the continuation of close collaboration between Japan and the US bilaterally as well as trilaterally, namely, Japan, the US, and South Korea, in order to deal with this issue.
With respect to the situation in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, the two ministers shared their concerns over the large number of casualties. They also agreed to carefully monitor the developments.
The two ministers also agreed to continue proactively supporting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in light of Ambassador Yukiya Amano's election to the position of IAEA Director General for the upcoming term.
That's all from me, now I will invite your questions.
Q: Just one question, is the Japan-China Human Rights Dialogue being held today?
Mr. Kawamura: Yes, a one day talk and it was held this morning, but I have not received what discussions were made. The outcome of the talk will be briefed later.
Q: In the Ministry?
Mr. Kawamura: Yes, in the Ministry. The dialogue was the fifth round. Both sides discussed the policies and practice in the area of basic human rights, and went on with collaborations in the context of the United Nations in the area of human rights.
The bilateral human rights dialogue started from 1997. The second time in 1998, the third time in 2000, the fourth round in 2008, and today was the fifth round.
Q: Do you know what level the meeting was held at?
Mr. Kawamura: The level was on the deputy director-general level from Japan, Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki of the Foreign Policy Bureau.
Q: You do not know whether they discussed about Xinjiang?
Mr. Kawamura: Sorry, I cannot confirm at this point.
Q: This is about the Chinese Government recently. One piece of information here is that there is some Muslim area in which some other communities...it was developing more than expected. So, some other communities wanted to grow in that area, it is written in today's paper. So, is it an economic problem, or some regional or religious issue? Has the Japanese Government made a note of it? Because in today's newspaper it is written that it was some Muslim area that was involved and some communities from other regions came in. What kind of relief efforts...
Mr. Kawamura: There are some press reports about some long-term background behind this incident. But I do not have anything to comment on it. As I said in the beginning, we are concerned over the large number of causalities caused by the disorder in the region and will monitor closely the developments.
Q: The other thing is, the US and Russia have good news since both countries have agreed to reduce their arsenals. At the same time ? it is about South Korea ? that the US is asking to increase the range of missiles by separate parts on boosting South Korean missiles' range. So, at one place they are looking to reduce their arsenal...
Mr. Kawamura: And on the other...
Q: Yes, asking to boost the range. I do not know what that means.
Mr. Kawamura: We are very pleased, first of all, that yesterday in Italy, the G8 leaders agreed that they should make continuous efforts toward a world without nuclear weapons. I understand that that was the first time in history that the G8 leaders agreed to that particular term. In addition, we welcome the mutual understanding reached between the United States and Russia on the post-START-I negotiations.
As you mentioned, on the other hand, there are movements of concern in the regional context over the provocative actions by North Korea, and the reactions and so forth. The goal for nuclear disarmament is set and agreed among the top leaders, but we need to be realistically pragmatic towards that goal. In the context of the security in Northeast Asia, while keeping the supreme goal as set in the G8 Leaders Meeting, we need to address the imminent issue of national and regional security in a very realistic way. We need to consult with South Korea and the United States to cope with the challenges very effectively. But I think those two goals could be compatible.
Q: This is, again, about North Korean issue. It says, "The statement of the United Nations Security Council in attention to...The fifteen-member council also called on all parties to refrain from any action that would aggravate the security situation in Korea." So, given these statements from the United Nations, it is a very, very weak resolution that was passed.
Mr. Kawamura: Excuse me, are you referring to the statement by the United Nations?
Q: Yes. They said "refrain from." On one side they are passing resolutions, and at the same time they are saying "refrain from any action that would aggravate" the North Korean situation in the region.
Mr. Kawamura: Are you referring to the press statement by the Chair of the United Nations Security Council?
Q: Yes. And again, Japan is thinking to inspect North Korean ships in the sea.
Mr. Kawamura: That is a matter of the bill which will enable cargo inspections by the Japanese authorities in the public seas and so on. The bill was just introduced to the Diet for its deliberation.
Q: Was it not done before, this kind of inspection of North Korean ships by the Japanese?
Mr. Kawamura: As far as I remember correctly, several years ago, there was an incident of an unidentified ship that approached the Japanese territorial waters across the west coastline in the Japan Sea and there were some interactions between the Japanese Coast Guard and the crew members of the unidentified ship. They were done in accordance with the relevant Japanese laws and regulations. That legal regime did not see major changes up until today.
The point is that in order to implement the actions required or expected by the recent United Nations Security Council Resolution, Japan has taken action so that the resolutions are implemented effectively and the new legislation draft is now at the Diet. We hope the enactment is done in a timely fashion.
Q: I was of the opinion that after World War II, the Japanese Constitution prohibits use of ships on the seas. So, it was already in the Constitution that you have to refuse, yourself. It may enter the courts regarding the Sea of Japan.
Mr. Kawamura: I am not a lawyer, but I understand that the details of those actions are specified in the bill .We need to very carefully read the verdict on the role of the Coast Guard and the Self-Defense Forces, but I am certain that it is within the order of the Japanese Constitution.
Q: Because in the past also, I have seen some demonstrations happening for organizations of anti-atomic people in regards to the American ships. They said that port calling in the ports...it is already in the constitution.
Mr. Kawamura: On that particular point, if you mean the series of press reports about Japan-US secret deal, my answer is very clear: there is no such secret deal or agreement between Japan and the United States.
This was frequently referred to and not admitted, but denied by the Japanese Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers in the past during the Diet debates.
Q: It is only a question because I was of the opinion that the Constitution of Japan does not allow those to inspect such ships.
Mr. Kawamura: OK, from that position.
Q: In my opinion, it is already in the Constitution.
Mr. Kawamura: OK, can I get back to clarify that point whether the bill of the cargo inspection regime would be in accordance with the existing three non-nuclear principles under the current Constitution. That is the point of your question? I understand. I will come back to you later.
Q: About the Chinese diplomatic envoy, Mr. Wu Da Wei's visit to Japan, I heard that he is going to meet Foreign Minister Nakasone on Friday in the afternoon. Do you have a more specific schedule?
Mr. Kawamura: Yes, Mr. Wu Da Wei, the Deputy Foreign Minister of China is visiting Japan from today, the 9th, through Sunday the 12th. As you said, he will pay a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Nakasone on Friday afternoon. But prior to that, today, he will see Mr. Yabunaka, the Vice Foreign Minister, at 18:00, and then will meet with Mr. Saiki, Director-General for Asian and Oceanic affairs from 18:20.
Q: Is the meeting with Foreign Minister Nakasone in the afternoon going to be the late afternoon or early afternoon?
Mr. Kawamura: Let me find out.
Q: Are there other Foreign Ministry officials he will meet or...no, he will not meet Aso because he is on...
Mr. Kawamura: He is unfortunately in Italy.
Q: Any other comment regarding his trip?
Mr. Kawamura: As far as I understand, those three meetings are in the plan.
Q: He is not going to leave Tokyo?
Mr. Kawamura: Yes, you are right. He is staying over Saturday and Sunday. I am not certain about what his agenda is on the weekend.
Q: Please detail the positions on the world economy and climate change at the G8 L'Aquila Summit meeting.
Mr. Kawamura: This is summarized in the paper "Climate Change and the Environment," paragraphs 60, and 63-66, with a special focus on paragraphs 64 and 65. A couple of elements are included in those few paragraphs. I reiterate these statements and agree with the G8 leaders.
Q: What would be your overall comment on the quality of the agreement reached by the G8 leaders on this specific issue?
Mr. Kawamura: It is a bit too early to make a final assessment of this round of the summit meeting because today, in L'Aquila will be a scheduled meeting, the Major Economic Forum, or MEF meeting, which is comprised of the G8 plus other emerging economies and will discuss climate change.
On top the G8 Agreement on Climate Change, I would like to review, probably sometime tomorrow, the final outcome of the G8 and MEF summit meetings.
Q: What leadership role is Japan taking in regards to climate change?
Mr. Kawamura: In terms of meeting the long-term goal of Japan's commitment to a 50% or more reduction by 2050, I would like to underline Prime Minister Aso's midterm goal: a 15% reduction compared to the figure of 2005 with the help of Japan's technological advances. Japan should also take advantage of the technological leading edge as one of the most efficient economies in terms of CO2 emissions.
Regarding disseminating technological systems towards developing partners, the Cool Earth Partnership is an initiative which has been promoted since last year. With those efforts combined, I believe Japan should take the lead in the upcoming discussions so we can reach a meaningful achievement by the time of COP15, which is planned for the end of this year.
Q: This, I think, is the last. This is the political issues...It says about Pakistan.
Mr. Kawamura: Right, Pakistan.
Q: It talks about "the situation of reconstruction assistance for populations displaced by fighting." But, we are very far from there. I think the international community should do more to build confidence here and put more concrete efforts, because in the world, I can see many more very encouraging monies for the internally displaced persons, but if we get a lot of views on that...I think Japan should stress more assistance particularly in this situation for us at least. I do not see that place in the news.
Mr. Kawamura: Well, I believe in this round of the G8 Summit Leaders Meeting, the Pakistan as well as the Afghanistan issues are apart of the main focus of the leaders' attention. They spent time discussing this issue. I am very pleased, if you read the document carefully, that the G8 leaders clearly agreed on the assessment of the current situation and what steps should be taken with the keen monitoring of developments. I think they are very clear on the need for joint work and coordinated work to help alleviate the uncertainty in the region.
Having said that, I have taken note of your points and I promise I will pass it on the people in charge.
Q: Because if, at this time, we leave it 50% done, the people in those areas will not be set right.
Mr. Kawamura: The comments that are from a journalist who has actually seen the frontline situation are the most precise and advisable elements, and we appreciate it.
Q: Because the governments are saying everything is alright, it is OK. But, the people who look like intellectuals and policymakers know what is happening. The government of every country is saying the same thing: it is OK, it is very good.
Mr. Kawamura: Thank you for your comments. We will continue to discuss this. Thank you very much.
Back to Index