Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, November 28, 2014, 9:21 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Japan-Republic of Korea relations
Matsumoto, TBS: Yesterday Japan-ROK Director-General level talks took place in Seoul and the first hearing over the issue of the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul bureau chief. What sorts of things were discussed in the talks, and what sort of response was there? Someone threw eggs yesterday. I would like to ask your views on it.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: To begin with, regarding the Director-General level talks, on November 27, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director-General Junichi Ihara held a discussion with Director-General of the Northeast Asian Affairs Lee Sang-deuk on various issues between Japan and the ROK. A wide range of topics was discussed, including the comfort women issue, the issue surrounding the indictment of the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul bureau chief, the issue of the trial over the “requisition of labor during the war,” and the Government of the ROK’s tightening of regulations on Japanese marine product imports.
Both sides shared the view that talks between director-generals will continue in the future and that discussions on various issues will continue. It was decided that from here on coordination will take place toward holding the next talks in Japan in December.
Now in regards to the conduct during the preparatory process for the trial of the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul bureau chief that you mentioned, to begin with we have explained that this indictment itself is extremely regrettable from the standpoints of freedom of the press, freedom of expression and relations between Japan and the ROK, and once again requested the ROK side to respond appropriately. Furthermore, we also expressed our regret regarding the acts carried out on the former bureau chief’s vehicle in the process of commencing the trial preparations on November 27. From the standpoint of protecting Japanese citizens, we strongly requested appropriate action to be taken. Such exchanges took place during the Director-General level talks.
Matsumoto, TBS: I assume that a Japan-China-ROK trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting and summit meeting are also being considered. Could you please explain what the specific circumstances of those considerations are, and how the matter was discussed during yesterday’s talks?
Minister Kishida: From the outset the Government of Japan’s position has been that achieving a Japan-China-ROK trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting at an early date is important based on the standpoint of attaching importance to dialogue, and we once again communicated this standpoint in the Director-General level talks. I will refrain from commenting in any more detail than that.