Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, May 31, 2013, 9:20 a.m.   Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Attendance at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V)

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: From June 1 to June 3, I will attend the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V). Leaders from 39 African countries will attend TICAD V, and Prime Minister Abe will have meetings with all of the leaders.
I will have 20 bilateral meetings with representatives of international organizations and countries except heads of states. I will participate in a working lunch with 16 representatives of international organizations, and chair a ministerial-level preparatory meeting, Special Conference on Somalia, and Symposium on Human Security. I am also scheduled to address at thematic sessions of TICAD V.

We see Africa’s growing presence as a future global growth center. We will offer many opportunities for African leaders and Japanese business leaders to have dialogues at TICAD V. We will advance initiatives that further enhance our comprehensive and mutually beneficial relationship with Africa while upholding the virtue of Japanese character.

(2) Government initiatives and three main pillars of our foreign policy following the incident in Algeria

Minister Kishida: In the wake ofthe terrorism incident in January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled specific policies to protect the safety of Japanese nationals and companies operating overseas as well as the strengthening of countermeasures against international terrorism. I would like to make an announcement about them.
Regarding measures to protect the safety of Japanese nationals and companies operating overseas, the Ministry will first strengthen public-private sector collaboration through intensive public-private seminars. Second, we will enhance the dissemination of information by improving the operation of the residence reporting system and by utilizing short message services. Third, we will proceed with the formation of an emergency response team that will be swiftly dispatched to the areas where incidents are taking place in time of emergency. In regard to mid- to long-term issues, such as the enhancement of information gathering and analysis systems, we will continue to discuss these matters in the response team to strengthen safety measures for Japanese companies and citizens overseas which is under my auspice.
On the specific policies to strengthen the countermeasures against international terrorism, we will firstly undertake a joint project with the United States in Libya through the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Second, we have agreed to open a conference with Algeria on countermeasures against terrorism in the near future. Third, with the cooperation of organizations in the United Nations, we have decided to carry out drills and trainings to improve policing and border control capabilities in countries of the Sahel region and Northern Africa, and we will also implement efforts to enhance legal systems of these countries. We plan to materialize this through implementing trainings and drills as well as providing equipment.

Crash of a U.S. Forces Japan F-15

Shodo, Ryukyu Shimpo: An F-15 fighter jet affiliated with the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa crashed, but the U.S. military has resumed flights without clarifying the cause of the accident. I understand that Okinawa Prefecture has made a request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense for the suspension of training until the cause of the crash could be identified. Will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs make a request to the U.S. military to halt their training until the cause of the accident is found?
Minister Kishida: As for the F-15 crash that you mentioned, my understanding is that the U.S. Forces Japan grounded similar aircraft all day on May 29 and conducted a safety check. According to the briefing by the U.S. side, safety inspections were carried out with regard to all F-15s at the Kadena Air Base, and they were confirmed to be safe. It is my understanding that operations thus resumed on May 30. Concerning the U.S. aircraft that was involved, I understand that efforts to identify the cause of the crash continue.

The basic premise for the operations of USFJ aircraft is that public safety must be given good consideration. We have already expressed this to the U.S. side, and looking at the press releases and so forth from the U.S. side, there are statements that say the protection of the safety of the base residents and the local community is always their top priority. We must thoroughly encourage the U.S. to identify the cause of the crash and continue to take safety measures. In any case, we intend to thoroughly call on the U.S. side to make all the possible efforts with regard to safety checks and the identification of the cause of the crash so that such accidents do not happen again in the future.

Japan-India Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

Kamide, Freelance: I did not attend the latest press conference on May 28, but looking at the record, I have some questions. On the Japan-India Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, when answering the questions of a reporter, you said that coordination is actually being done for the agreement. The point is, there are many criticisms that can be made about this, including those from the perspective of nuclear nonproliferation or considering the issue of the safety of nuclear energy. Those issues included, did you use the phrase “coordination is being done” to mean that it has not been decided completely yet? If there is still room for consideration about this matter, about what points are you considering?
Minister Kishida: Concerning the Japan-India Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, at the last summit meeting between Japan and India, it was confirmed that we would continue consultations on the matter. About the content of the agreement, we will continue to thoroughly discuss and consider it. That’s the current situation. That’s why I remember using the phrase “under consideration” at that press conference. 
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: As to the agreement on the restart of negotiations on a Japan-India Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, some have pointed out that the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) regime would lose its substance by this agreement.Given your stance of being actively involved in nuclear disarmament as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, what is your opinion on the point?
Minister Kishida: In cooperating on the nuclear energy matter with India, our precondition to the cooperation would not change. India must maintain the promises it has made, such as the moratorium on nuclear explosive testing, and the separation of civilian nuclear facilities. India is not a signatory to the NPT yet, but Japan recognizes that this agreement gives India the opportunity to engage and actually become involved in the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. In any case, in proceeding with this negotiations, I believe we must pay due attention to the issues of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: Do you mean that the Japanese Government will request India to join the NPT? Or will you not?
Minister Kishida: On that point, our Prime Minister has stated to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the position of Japan, emphasizing the importance of the universality of the NPT, would not change. I believe the position of Japan has been stated and communicated to the Prime Minister of India.
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: If so, is it correct to understand that the agreement was reached based on the comprehensive judgment that Japan can maintain its policy direction regarding non-proliferation even in the negotiation with India, or rather, that Japan has confidence in proceeding forward with that policy?

Minister Kishida: There has been absolutely no change in Japan’s position to attach importance to the universality of the NPT. Concerning the Japan-India Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, as I have been saying, Japan believes that by having India stick to the promises it has made in the past, we can gain an opportunity to actually involve the country in the NPT regime. I would like to bear practical and substantive fruits in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Issue of the recognition of history

Kamide, Freelance: I have inquired about this matter a number of times, but I would like to once again ask about the issue of the recognition of history. You have clearly noted that you will give very thorough explanations regarding the various issues concerning Japan’s past. However, the Mayor of Osaka City Toru Hashimoto and others have made different remarks on the issues, unfortunately. At the Osaka City Council, a censure motion was voted down. These actions, however, are understood in accordance with the actions of the national government abroad. This was pointed out at the previous press conference. I would like to know whether this issue has caused any actual disruptions with regard to negotiations with other countries, and what specifically you think the Cabinet should be careful about. It seems that there still exist those who make comments frankly. What are your views on the way that the Cabinet as a whole should handle the issue?
Minister Kishida: Regarding Osaka City Mayor Hashimoto’s remarks, I would like to refrain from making any comments as a member of the Cabinet since he is a co-leader of another party. However, his remarks are different from the recognition and standpoint of the Government, as I have said again and again. I acknowledged that various comments have been made and discussions are taking place outside of Japan. I believe that the Government needs to give a thorough explanation regarding its recognition and standpoint. Not only in the communication with the governments of other countries but also through a variety of channels such as lawmakers and the media, I believe that Japan must make efforts to convey its recognition and standpoint thoroughly and accurately. As for your question about whether this matter has had any type of actual impact, the diplomatic position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Japan is that we must work not to allow such diplomatic or political impact to appear, by continuing efforts that I have mentioned.

Situation in North Korea

Yoshinaga, Mainichi Shimbun: Yesterday, several media outlets of the Republic of Korea reported that an individual who may have some connection with Japanese abduction victims is among the North Korean defectors forcibly repatriated from Laos. Could you please tell me what facts connected to this matter have been verified at this point in time?
Minister Kishida: First of all, I am aware of various reports. As for information related to the safety of abduction victims, we are making efforts to collect related information. We have immediately contacted the relevant parties concerning this matter, and are doing our utmost effort to verify the facts. Due to the nature of this issue, I would like to refrain from making any specific comments at this time.
Yoshinaga, Mainichi Shimbun: If verification is successful, will the Government of Japan issue any type of statement or something of this kind?
Minister Kishida: This matter is currently being verified, so I would like to refrain from making any specific statements. In any case, the Government is carrying out information gathering, analysis and other initiatives based on the premise that all the victims of abduction are alive. We continue to make every possible effort to return all of them to Japan.