Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 9:12 a.m.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Visit to Japan by H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: At today’s Cabinet Meeting, it has been approved to invite H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur to Japan from May 27, to May 30, on an official working visit.
Based on Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership, Japan and India pays mutual visits by our prime ministers and foreign ministers. In March of this year, H.E. Mr. Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of India paid a visit to Japan, during which the Minister and I held a Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue.
Through this visit by Prime Minister Singh, we aim to further deepen and expand strategic relations with India in a wide variety of fields, including politics and the economy.

(2) The Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction

Minister Kishida: It was also approved at today’s Cabinet Meeting that the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction will be held in Sendai City in March 2015.
The holding of the conference in Sendai City will be a valuable opportunity to communicate to the world the reconstruction of the disaster-affected region, share the experience and knowledge on disaster reduction with the international community, and make international contributions. We will exert every possible effort for the conference’s success.

(3) The Second East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue

Minister Kishida: This weekend (May 18), we will open the Second East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue. H.E. Dr Mok Mareth, Senior Minister, Minister of Environment of the Kingdom of Cambodia and I will co-chair the Dialogue.
At this dialogue, approaches and regional cooperation toward achieving low carbon growth in the East Asia region will be discussed by the ministerial level representatives from the East Asia Summit (EAS) countries. We hope to make the best of this opportunity to widely promote Japan’s cutting-edge environmental technologies.

Cruising of an unidentified submarine in the contiguous zone

Yamashita, TV Asahi: There is talk thatan unidentified submarine of unknown cruised in the contiguous zone around Kume Island. I would like to ask you about the response of the Government, including how you take this, and whether or not you intend to announce the identity of the submarine if you could confirm it.
Minister Kishida: I acknowledge that there has been an announcement about that matter by the Ministry of Defense (MOD). For details, please refer to the MOD. In any case, I acknowledge that the submarine in question did not enter the territorial waters of Japan.

Recognition of history

Kamide, Freelance:As is being reported in some newspapers, Mayor of Osaka City Toru Hashimoto has made some fairly controversial comments, saying that comfort women were necessary or that the U.S. forces could make use of the sex industry. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea has issued comments criticizing the issue of comfort women. It seems that you also said in a speech yesterday that many problematic things being said recently are making you anxious. I want to ask how you take Mayor Hashimoto’s statements. You have a position as a member of the Cabinet, and I would like to hear about that including your own personal opinion.
Minister Kishida: First of all,I acknowledge that there have been reports about the remarks made by Mayor Hashimoto. However, those statements were made in his personal capacity. The position and the views of the Japanese Government are just as I have been saying. Women’s rights have been so often infringed upon during many wars in the past. It is thus of paramount importance to make the 21st century a century committed to preventing any further violations of women’s rights. Japan is determined to do its utmost in this regard. I am deeply pained when thinking of the comfort women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering. I understand that that feeling has been shared by cabinet members of the past administrations.
Kamide, Freelance: With a critical opinion having been actually released from the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, do you think that this will have an impact on or pose an obstacle to the Japan-ROK or Japan-China relations?
Minister Kishida: The Japan-ROK relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships for Japan. I recognize that the ROK is an important neighboring country which shares various fundamental values. I will exercise control from a broad perspective so that individual issues do not have an impact on overall bilateral relations.
Nikaido, Asahi Shimbun: The U.S. has also expressed discontent about this issue. What sort of explanation do you think the Japanese Government will make about the comfort women issue, not only to the ROK but also to the U.S.?
Minister Kishida: First, Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks were of his own. Furthermore, I have been repeatedly explaining our views and position of the Japanese Government. Lastly, I think it is very important that we thoroughly explain our way of thinking to the international community including the U.S. We will continue our efforts toward this.