Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, June 21, 2013, 8:51 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Attendance at the Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the 68th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Okinawa

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: I am scheduled to attend the Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the 68th Anniversary of the End of the Battle of Okinawa on Sunday, June 23.
I attended this ceremony in the past as Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs. This time, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, I hope to offer my condolences to the souls of the fallen on the Memorial Day for the War Dead, with the hope for an everlasting peace such that the tragedy of war will never happen again.

Japan-China relations

Inomoto, TBS: With reports such as the visit to china by Special Advisor to the Cabinet Shotaro Yachi, it seems there have been moves to seek improvement in Japan-China relations. I believe that means the windows and doors for dialogue are always open, but what is the Japanese Government’s approach going forward and how do you hope to approach the issue as Minister for Foreign Affairs?
Minister Kishida: I am aware of the media reports on the visit to China by Special Advisor to the Cabinet Yachi. I will refrain from commenting on or confirming the matter at this time. In any case, our bilateral relationship with China is an extremely important relationship. I believe it is extremely important to have thorough communication, and currently a variety of dialogue and communication are taking place on various issues at the working level among others. By continuously accumulating these steady efforts, we hope to also realize political-level dialogues.

Court hearings on research whaling

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: I would like to ask about whaling. Next week, oral argument against Japan will begin in the case which Australia has brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Japan’s research whaling. How will Japan argue, and what kind of judgment does Japan aim to achieve? I won’t ask a question related to the judgment, since it would be hypothetical, but I would like to know if Japan will abide by the court’s judgment no matter how it may come out. Can we have your outlook please?
Minister Kishida: Japan must thoroughly present our position and point of view regarding whaling. Japan has sent a powerful delegation in preparation for the case at the ICJ. We hope to thoroughly make our claims, and of course, it is a matter of course that we will abide by various rules in the court.

Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy of the United States

Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: U.S. PresidentBarack Obama proposed an additional reduction of strategic nuclear weapons. The Russian side has responded negatively, stating that the proposal cannot be taken seriously. What is your view on these reactions?
Minister Kishida:With regard to the proposal by President Obama, it is my expectation that these proposals will lead to international disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. Japan takes these sorts of proposals and movements seriously, and we believe that we must take our own realistic and specific steps toward disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan hopes to lead a variety of initiatives, based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regime including the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), and play a leading role in international public opinions.
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: What is your view on the reaction from Russia?
Minister Kishida: I believethat the international community including ourselves shares the same ultimate goal of working for a “world without nuclear weapons”. We hope the Russian side will take in this fundamental concept and we hope to collaborate with them going forward.

Postponement of a visit to Japan by the President of Brazil

Ohtani, NHK: There are reports that Ms. Dilma Vana Rousseff, President of Brazil, will postpone her trip to Japan. It may have been canceled. What is the Japanese Government’s understanding of the facts, and what are the outlooks going forward?
Minister Kishida: I am aware that the Brazilian side has announced that due to the domestic situation including the ongoing demonstration activities in Brazil, it would be difficult for the President to leave the country for a period of one week. I have been very much looking forward to her visit to Japan. It has been announced that the visit must be postponed, but we will observe future developments carefully.

Japan-Russia relations

Watanabe, Hokkaido Shimbun: During the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting at the G8, it has been agreed upon that Mr. Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Russia, will visit Japan in the fall. Please give us your assessment of the summit meeting, as well as how negotiations will be conducted going forward.
Minister Kishida: At the summit meeting, the two leadersagreed on Minister Lavrov’s visit to Japan this fall, and prior to this, we will hold Vice-Ministerial-level talks and hope to advance various Japan-Russia dialogues.