Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 8:45 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Bombardment in the Demilitarized Zone: Contact and agreement between North Korea and the Republic of Korea (ROK)

Toba, Nippon TV: My question concerns the Korean Peninsula. North Korea and the ROK held talks and reached an agreement early this morning. How do you view this agreement?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have been paying attention with strong interest to developments involving North Korea and the contact between North Korea and the ROK, and to start with, I welcome that an agreement was reached in the recent contact between the two sides.

I also hope that North Korea will exercise self-restraint in provocative acts, and that this agreement will lead to an easing of tensions in the region and the resolution of issues of concern. In any event, the Government of Japan intends to continue to respond with a sense of urgency while closely coordinating with the United States, the ROK, and others.

Comments by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister

Toba, Nippon TV: With regard to Russia, the Japanese side is lodging a protest against Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Etorofu, and in response to this, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister posted on his personal Twitter account that they should commit ritual suicide (hara-kiri). What are your views on this?

Minister Kishida: I will refrain from commenting on unconstructive remarks such as that. In any event, this visit to Etorofu by Prime Minister Medvedev is incompatible with Japan’s position, and is also harmful to public sentiment in Japan, and I think it is extremely regrettable. I summoned Mr. Evgeny Afanasiev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia, and lodged a protest directly.

It is concerned that the Russian side continues its unilateral actions in connection with the Northern Territories, and I intend to continue to firmly seek constructive actions from the Russian side in the Japan-Russia relationship, including the issue of concluding a peace treaty.

Matsui, Asahi Shimbun: With regard to Russia, will the various developments in the international situations, including the ritual suicide (hara-kiri) remark, have an impact on your visit to Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan, or the summit meeting at the international conference this fall?

Minister Kishida: Nothing has been decided regarding my visit to Russia or President Putin’s visit to Japan. We will continue to take a variety of elements into account in a comprehensive manner.

In any event, the important thing is to resolve the issue of the attribution of the Northern Territories and conclude a peace treaty with Russia. Resolving such fundamental issues is what matters, I believe.

Based on that perspective, I think we must engage in negotiations tenaciously, and I believe we must continue to attach importance to political dialogue.