Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 9:43 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Situation in Egypt

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: It is truly regrettable that the conflict which occurred in front of the military facility in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo on July 8 resulted in a large number of casualties. Japan once again strongly calls on all relevant parties to desist from acts of violence and behave with the greatest extent of self-restraint and responsibility.

Japan recognizes that there continues to be an unpredictable situation in Egypt, and will continue to monitor the developing situation with strong interest and concern. At the same time, Japan expects that the situation will be stabilized quickly, and that, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law, a government elected through democratic procedures will be promptly established.

On July 6, we raised the level of Travel Information in Egypt to "recommendation to defer all travel". The Government of Japan will continue to do its utmost for the protection of Japanese nationals.

Visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Four Northern Islands

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: There have been reports that President Putin will visit the Four Northern Islands on July 15. Although it seems the Russian side is denying this, if there is any information that the Government of Japan has, will you please share it?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the media reports and also of the remarks by the Russian spokesperson denying them. In any case, I intend to continue our efforts to get all the facts.

The Senkaku Islands

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: Regarding the Senkaku Islands, according to some news reports, Special Advisor to the Cabinet Shotaro Yachi, during his visit to China last month, told the Chinese side that Japan would treat the issue of the attribution of the Senkaku Islands not as a territorial dispute but as a diplomatic issue, and would not prevent China from asserting its territorial claims. Will you confirm the facts? And as talks between the two countries have stalled, will you once again explain how you will address the matter in order to achieve a breakthrough?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the news reports. However, there is no truth to that. Our relationship with China is one of the important bilateral relationships. There is no change in our existing policy of pursuing a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests from a broad perspective, and keeping the door for dialogue open.

Release of Defense of Japan 2013

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: I believe that Defense of Japan 2013, the annual white paper of the Ministry of Defense, was released today after being approved by the Cabinet Meeting. The content is very harsh to China, and the paper states that the territorial dispute with the Republic of Korea (ROK) regarding Takeshima is still unresolved. There will likely be a backlash from China and the ROK respectively in response to this. What are your thoughts on the impact that the white paper will have on diplomacy?

Minister Kishida: As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I will refrain from commenting whether the content and the wordings are harsh. I would firstly say that the Defense of Japan is based on Japan's basic stance and point of view. I ask that you refer to the Minister of Defense with regard to the details.

The Senkaku Islands

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: In your response to the earlier question on the Senkaku Islands, you stated that there was no truth to the reports. However, in relation to there being a diplomatic issue over the Senkaku Islands, I recall that in May, then-Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Shinsuke Sugiyama answered in line at the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, and so I believe the Japanese Government is not denying the remark as a whole. Were you implying that Special Advisor Yachi had not made such a remark, or were you denying that this is the position of the Japanese Government?

Minister Kishida: Japan's position and view regarding the Senkaku Islands remain completely unchanged. I understand that the article suggests some exchanges took place with China. However, no such exchanges have taken place whatsoever. Our position remains absolutely unchanged.

Yamagishi, Asahi Shimbun: Does that mean that you understand that there is a diplomatic issue over the Senkaku Islands?

Minister Kishida: Nothing has changed.

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

Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: Nagasaki City held a meeting of the drafting committee for this year's Peace Declaration the other day. During the meeting, the committee decided to draft a declaration which denounces the Government for resuming nuclear agreement negotiations with India, stating that Japan should return to the starting point as a country that suffered atomic bombings. What are your thoughts on this?

Minister Kishida: I believe the Government must fully accept the variety of opinions raised by people from the areas which suffered atomic bombing as well as all people concerned, and present a clear policy on where Japan should stand on this matter.

Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: Don't you feel it to be contradictory for Japan which is leading the way for an elimination of nuclear weapons to provide nuclear technologies for India, a country which is not allowed to possess nuclear capability under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) framework?

Minister Kishida: As has always been, Japan must address this matter based on a thorough review of India's stance on nuclear non-proliferation and the NPT framework. Since Japan's consultations with India are now ongoing, I believe our view and policy of making careful judgments based on a thorough review of India's measures remain unchanged. The policy I have just mentioned is the policy we will be following.
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