Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, February 2, 2018, 8:35 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Ms. Mami Mizutori Appointed as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Yesterday, Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations appointed Ms. Mami Mizutori as Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. Japan is extremely delighted with this appointment.

Amid the growing importance of initiatives related to disaster risk reduction in the international community, it is my strong hope that Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Mizutori will utilize her experiences and apply herself earnestly to her work as a representative of the United Nations Secretariat for International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). She is the fourth Japanese person and first Japanese woman to serve as a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General.

I remember being very impressed with Ms. Mizutori’s effective work when she served as a director of the Financial Affairs Division during my involvement in the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) program review. I have high hopes for her future activities.

U. S. Vice President Pence to Visit Japan

Reporter: The White House has announced that Vice President Pence is visiting Japan soon as part of his trip to attend the PyeongChang Olympics. I imagine that there will be discussion of the issue of North Korea, the Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) agreement, and other topics. What meetings does Japan intend to have with Vice President Pence?

Minister Kono: I believe Vice President Pence will meet with Prime Minister Abe. Main topics of discussion are likely to be strengthening Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation in relation to North Korea, and an exchange of views on the economic dialogue between Japan and the United States, which Deputy Prime Minister Aso is in charge of. While it is not clear whether or not the Japan-ROK agreement will be discussed, if the subject is raised, Japan intends to clearly explain its response, which I believe Vice President Pence is already aware of.

Minister Kono’s Twitter Posts

Reporter: I have a question regarding your Twitter. Your tweets have been eliciting considerable reaction. During your recent visit to China, there were some favorable responses, but also some criticism. What are your thoughts about the various reactions? I believe you have long posted comments on Twitter. Do you therefore intend to continue to do so?

Minister Kono: I find it somewhat strange that tweets from my China visit have been reported on in the same way by a number of newspapers this morning. Given the various upheavals that the world is experiencing, I am sure there are many other important issues that newspapers should be devoting their pages to. While I greatly appreciate your coverage of my tweets, I do not think it is necessary for several media outlets to all cover them in the same way on the same day.

Reporter: Do you intend to be even more active on Twitter?

Minister Kono: It is not a matter of getting more active or not. I plan to proceed as normal.

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