Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, June 4, 2013, 8:45 a.m.   Entrance Hall, Prime Minister's Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Achievements of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V)

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Concerning TICAD V that was held last week, the largest number of participants in the history of TICAD, over 4,500 people, attended, and we were able to close the meeting in success.
During the conference, I myself signed an investment agreement with Mozambique, which is Japan’s first ever investment agreement with a country located in Sub-Saharan Africa. I also had 23 meetings with ministers from various countries and representatives of international organizations. I heard high praise from the people I met for the “Japanese style” assistance, which respects self-help and self-reliance Africa and places emphasis on closeness to the local people and human-resource development, as well as for the smooth management of the conference in a manner one would expect for a meeting held in Japan.
Japan keeps its promises. As a person responsible for the diplomacy of Japan, I will make efforts to ensure that the public and private sectors work as one to implement steady assistance for Africa using the up to 3.2 trillion yen pledged at TICAD V.

(2) Signing of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Minister Kishida: Japan signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on June 3 at the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York. This treaty establishes common international standards regulating the transfer of conventional arms. Japan has been advocating its creation for a long time.
It is extremely significant that Japan, as a country that played a leading role for the adoption of this treaty, was among the first to sign it. Japan will continue to take a leading role in international initiatives in this area.

Senkaku Islands

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: Yesterday former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) Hiromu Nonaka visited China and said to a Chinese official that there had been an agreement to shelve the issue of the attribution of the Senkaku Islands on the occasion of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. I would like to hear your frank opinion about this.
Minister Kishida: I am aware of such reports. However, I refrain from commenting on those, as that was a remark in his personal capacity. In addition, the basic position of Japan is that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. There exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. It is absolutely not true that there has been any kind of agreement up until now about “shelving.” There is no issue of territorial sovereignty to be shelved in the first place. That is the position of Japan.
Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: You said just now that it is not true that there was an agreement about shelving. Mr. Nonaka stated that he had heard directly from late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka that an agreement had been made. Do you have any intention of directly asking Mr. Nonaka about this, including the sequence of events?
Minister Kishida: At the very least, I can say that our diplomatic archives indicate that there is no such fact. There is no change in Japan’s position.

Accepting Osprey flight training

Toiyama, Ryukyu Shimpo: The Governor of Osaka has made a statement suggesting that he might give permission to Osprey fight training in Yao Airport in Osaka. How do you take this statement? Additionally, I believe that there is an ongoing discussion about transferring flight training that was agreed at the time of the Osprey safety declaration, and I would like to ask if you currently know the prospect of such transfer, if you have a schedule related to this, or if you know when the trainings taking place in Okinawa Prefecture will be transferred in other prefectures.
Minister Kishida: First of all, the Government has not received anything concerning the proposal of Osaka Mayor Hashimoto. I cannot make a comment on that. It was agreed at the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee in September last year that the Osprey flight training would be conducted in Japan other than in Okinawa. Based on that agreement, we must move forward with the work to shift the locations of flight training. In doing so, we must reduce the impact on Okinawa. This is an extremely important issue. Work is now steadily proceeding under that policy. I do not have any materials at hand with regard to its details. I believe that we must make further efforts under that policy.

Senkaku Islands

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: Related to the statement by Mr. Nonaka about the shelving of the Senkaku Islands, one of the Chinese military’s top brass made a similar remark during the Shangri-La Dialogue, saying that the matter should be shelved. Setting aside the question of whether or not all of this is true, in light of the continuing tension between Japan and China, would it be appropriate to regard the fact that people of a certain position in both countries made a remark about shelving as a sign of improving relations? Or is this out of the question because their statements are incorrect? How do you evaluate them?
Minister Kishida: It is just as I stated a moment ago. We have absolutely no intention of compromising on our basic position or our way of thinking. Beyond that, I think it is also very important to ensure that an individual issue like this does not impact the entire Japan-China relationship. I think it is important to return to the starting point of Japan-China relations, i.e. our mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, and take a broad perspective, and to consider how we will manage our important bilateral relationship. In doing so, holding dialogue is crucial. I want to continue to make sure that Japan’s door is always open for dialogue in order to facilitate our communication.
Inomoto, TBS: Former LDP Secretary-General Makoto Koga accompanied Mr. Nonaka on his trip to China. Have you heard anything from Mr. Koga, and do you intend to ask Mr. Koga on what the situation was like when Mr. Nonaka made his remark?
Minister Kishida: I did not ask him anything about it after the trip. We have not talked about that.
Inomoto, TBS: Don’t you have any particular intention of asking him about that?
Minister Kishida:Right now, I do not have any specific intention to do so. I may have some opportunities to meet Mr. Koga personally, but I have no specific intention of having an exchange of opinions or listen to his report about the issue for the time being.