Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, May 24, 2013, 8:52 a.m.   Entrance Hall, Prime Minister' s Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Protest against a column in Korea JoongAng Daily regarding the dropping of the atomic bombs

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: On May 20, Korea JoongAng Daily published a column by an editorial writer containing expressions such as those describing the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan as "divine punishment" , which is quite disgraceful. Japan lodges a strong protest against it. Based on my instructions, the Embassy of Japan in the Republic of Korea made strong protests to relevant people at the Korea JoongAng Daily on May 21 and May 23.

As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, Japan never tolerates such views on the atomic bombings. I want Korea JoongAng Daily to seriously recognize that the Japanese Government and Japanese people are shocked and offended by the column.

Situation in North Korea

Yamashita TV Asahi: There have been reports that a North Korean high-ranking official visiting China expressed intentions for talks with relevant countries. What is your response, and as the Japanese Government' s policy is based on dialogue and pressure, how will Japan negotiate going forward?

Minister Kishida: Firstly, I am aware of the news reports. We will further implement our continued policy of comprehensively solving the issues of concern including the nuclear, missile and abductions issues based on dialogue and pressure. In any case, as for dialogue, it is firstly critical for the North Korean side to show their sincere attitude towards a comprehensive resolution of a wide array of issues including denuclearization.

Yamashita, TV Asahi: Some news outlets in the ROK reported that Mr. Isao Iijima, Special Advisor to the Cabinet, received a proposal from the North Korean side during his visit there to return two missing Japanese probably related to North Korea to Japan. Regarding the facts of this proposal, is there something you will deny or something you cannot comment on?

Minister Kishida: I will refrain from commenting on the contents of the meetings. As I just said, the policy of the Japanese Government is unchanged in seeking the comprehensive resolution of various issues of concern based on dialogue and pressure.

Yamashita, TV Asahi: What is the Government' s policy on the handling of missing Japanese probably related to North Korea? Will you once again clarify?

Minister Kishida: Our policy is to seek the safety and return of all Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, including missing Japanese probably related to North Korea.

Watanabe, Kyodo News: In the path toward the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea, how will the Japanese Government address North Korea' s appeal for the settlement of the past?

Minister Kishida: As of now, there are no specific schedules for negotiations between Japan and North Korea. The Japanese Government will continue to seek a comprehensive resolution of various issues of concern based on our continued policy of dialogue and pressure and the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. First and foremost, North Korea must show its sincere and concrete attitude toward a resolution.

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: You mentioned that no specific schedule is set for meetings between the Japanese and North Korean governments. By saying so, do you mean that the schedule has been considered but not set yet, or it is not even considered?

Minister Kishida: Currently, there is nothing specific taking place.