Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 9:38 a.m.   Entrance Hall, Prime Minister's Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Outcomes of the Minister for Foreign Affair’s Visit to New Zealand

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: On June 8 and June 9, I paid my first visit to New Zealand since assuming the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs. It was also the first visit by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs to the country in four years. I held meetings with the Honorable Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Right Honorable John Key, Prime Minister; and the Honorable Tim Groser, Minister of Trade.

We shared our strategic understanding of regional situations, and confirmed that our countries will collaborate toward the establishment of regional order based on rules, in areas such as maritime affairs and also the economic field including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In addition, we agreed to cooperate moving forward for a joint statement on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.

As a result of this visit, we released the Auckland Statement, which enhances our bilateral relations to a “strategic cooperative partnership” level.

(2) Humanitarian Assistance to Syria

Minister Kishida: The humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening. Japan has already provided approximately 80 million U.S. dollars in humanitarian assistance through collaborations with international organizations and NGOs. In addition to this, we have decided to offer new support to the regions that have not been reached by the support of the Syrian Government and international organizations.

Specifically, we will coordinate and cooperate with the support units of the opposition groups actually controlling these regions, NGOs, and local people, and actively carry out assistance in healthcare and other fields.

(3) Ministerial Council on the Promotion of Japan as a Tourism-Oriented Country

Minister Kishida: Toward our aim of promoting Japan as a tourism-oriented country and further for contributing to our growth strategy, by taking the opportunity of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, we will offer visa exemptions for the citizens of Thailand and Malaysia, introduce multiple-entry visas for the citizens of Viet Nam and the Philippines, and extend the period of stay for Indonesian citizens with multiple-entry visas, by this summer.
With regard to other ASEAN member states, we will consider them as well with the goal of reaching a conclusion by the ASEAN-Japan Commemorating Summit Meeting at the end of the year.

Situation in North Korea

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: My question is on the situation in North Korea. A meeting between the authorities of the Republic of Korea and North Korea is scheduled to begin tomorrow. I would like to ask how you view the current situation where although not at the ministerial level, dialogues are maintained. In addition, it will soon be one month since Special Advisor to the Cabinet Isao Iijima made an unannounced visit to North Korea. Will you explain any communication that may have taken place between Japan and North Korea or rather, if there are any moves toward dialogue on the North Korean side?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that a meeting between the authorities of North and South Koreas will be held on June 12 and 13. I have been told that the agenda and participants are still under coordination. In any case, Japan will be watching the situation with great interest. We believe that these moves must lead to the resolution of outstanding issues including denuclearization. Japan will monitor these moves closely, take keen interest in various moves, and continue our efforts to maintain our close coordination with relevant countries.

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: Have there been any moves toward intergovernmental consultations between Japan and North Korea?

Minister Kishida: By closely monitoring the various moves by relevant countries, we will collect information thoroughly and consider our specific policies. I will refrain from commenting on the details of exchanges.

Humanitarian assistance to Syria

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: According to some reports, the Prime Minister is set to announce the provision of various assistance including automobiles to the Syrian opposition groups at the G8 meeting. Is the assistance you just announced referring to this, or is the Prime Minister prepared to announce a whole new package?

Minister Kishida: I will have to confirm the content of the news reports, but with regard to Japan’s assistance to Syria, we have been providing our assistance through the Syrian Government and international organizations. There are still those who cannot be reached by the support of the international community, however. The essence of what I announced earlier is that we will make a fresh attempt to offer support, mainly in the field of health care. In terms of Japan’s policy on assistance to Syria, since there is likely to be a big debate on the issue of Syria at the G8, I believe we will be thoroughly communicating our policies and our point of view on this matter as well.