Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, May 10, 2013, 9:22 a.m.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Issue of the Abe Administration’s Recognition of History

Kamide, Freelance: I asked this same matter last Tuesday also but I would like to once again ask about the recognition of history. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the U.S. released a severely critical report stating that there are concerns over the future stability of Asia. While my question is similar to the one I asked last time, I would like to ask your views including if this will be an obstacle to future Japan-U.S. relationships, since although unofficial this time, this is a congressional document.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: First of all, I am aware that on May 1, the CRS released its “Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress” research report. Since this is a report by the CRS, I recognize it as representing neither the official view of the U.S. Congress nor that of the U.S. Government. It is also my understanding that this report is updated as needed to report the status of Japan-U.S. relations, and that the latest report includes remarks on the recognition of history. Having said that, as I have just stated, I will refrain from commenting on each and every content of the report by the CRS.

Yet, with regard to the recognition of history, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those in Asian nations in the past. The Abe Cabinet takes the same stance as previous administrations. Japan considers its neighboring countries, such as the ROK and China, to be extremely invaluable partners. Japan will continue to make efforts toward strengthening these ties, as well as actively making contributions toward the peace and prosperity of the region.

Kamide, Freelance: In actuality, not only this time, responses to the Japan-U.S. relationship are quite different from what they had been before. Do you believe that these responses will not actually cause any harm or pose any obstacle to the Japan-U.S. relationship?

Minister Kishida: With regard to Japan-U.S. relationships I just mentioned, the topic this time is a CRS report. I would like to refrain from commenting on individual points of the report. In any case, the position of the Japanese Government is as I mentioned a moment ago. I hope to continue communicating our position in such ways that will gain understanding both domestically and internationally.

Japan-Taiwan Fisheries Agreement

Yamashita, TV Asahi: The Japan-Taiwan Fisheries Agreement will come into force while an agreement on its details has not been reached. With backlashes from Okinawa, troubling matters in relation to fishery are anticipated to occur. What is your response and how should it be dealt with?

Minister Kishida: The first meeting of the Japan-Taiwan fishing commission between the Interchange Association, Japan (IAJ), and the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR) of Taiwan, was held on May 7. I was told that there were exchanges of opinions on matters such as handling of operations within the area of water which the agreement is applied to.

The Government of Japan expects that constructive discussions which take into full account the interest and concerns of Okinawa are conducted as swiftly as possible within the Japan-Taiwan fishing commission so as to achieve the goals of this agreement and secure its smooth operation.

Moving forward, based on the implementation status of this agreement, the Japanese Government hopes to exert every effort toward resolving all issues related to the ways Taiwanese fishing vessels will operate. At the same time, we will listen well to the opinions of those in the fishing industry about the impact of this agreement during the implementation phase, and based on thorough understanding of those views, the relevant ministries will continue to coordinate as well as consider further measures if such necessities arise.

Issue of the Abe Administration’s Recognition of History

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: Regarding the use of the word “aggression,” in response to the question raised earlier, you mentioned that the Abe Administration takes the same stance as previous cabinets. With regard to previous cabinets, basically statements after the Murayama Statement have expressed “apology for aggression and colonial rule.” Is an understanding of the act of “aggression” also included in the Abe administration’s position or not? Please elaborate on the handling of the term “aggression.”

Minister Kishida: As I said a moment ago, Japan caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those in Asian nations. The Abe Cabinet takes the same stance as previous administrations. I believe it all comes down to taking the same stance as previous administrations.

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: In that case, will the Abe Administration continue not to explicitly express whether there was any act of aggression carried out during the last World War?

Minister Kishida: I am saying that the Abe Cabinet takes the same stance as previous administrations.