Press Conferences

Press Conference by Deputy Press Secretary Koichi Mizushima

Thursday, July 18, 2013, 1:30 p.m. Briefing Room No. 381 Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Deputy Press Secretary Mr. Koichi Mizushima: Good afternoon. Thank you for coming. My name is Koichi Mizushima. I was newly appointed as Deputy Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I will be as open and accountable as possible as my predecessors were in order for you to understand better the positions and diplomatic policies of the Japanese Government. So do not hesitate to contact me whenever you need to. I would like to maintain and even enhance good working relationship with you and I look forward to working with you all.
Today I have several announcements to make before taking questions.

Official logo for the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014

Mr. Mizushima: The first is the official logo for the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014. The official logo for the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014 was chosen at the Japan-CARICOM Consultations held in Guyana on July 16. This logo was chosen out of 98 entries from Japan, CARICOM member states and other countries. It will be used for various commemorative events as well as in related printed materials throughout the year 2014.
The creator is Mr. Ganesh Somrah living in Guyana. The logo portrays harmony and partnership between the origami crane that is iconic to Japan, and the heliconia flower, which is as colorful as the territories of CARICOM. Various commemorative events will be planned by the governments as well as private sectors both in Japan and CARICOM member states next year. It is expected that relationship between Japan and CARICOM region in diverse fields such as culture, trade, and tourism will be enhanced through the Japan-CARICOM Friendship Year 2014.

Second Japan-Indonesia Politico-Military Talks

Mr. Mizushima: The second announcement is of the Second Japan-Indonesia Politico-Military Talks. The Second Japan-Indonesia Politico-Military Talks is held today in Jakarta. From the Japanese side, Mr. Kenji Kanasugi, Deputy Director-General, Asian Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Jota Yamamoto, Deputy Director General, Defense Policy Bureau of the Defense Ministry, and other officials from both ministries; from the Indonesian side, His Excellency Ambassador Yuri Octavian Thamrin, Director-General for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Major General Sonny E.S. Prasetyo, Director-General for Defence Strategy, Ministry of Defence, and other officials from both ministries will take part in the talks.
In these talks, it is expected to exchange views on such issues as security policies of the respective governments, regional security situation and cooperation between the two countries in the defense-related fields.

Second Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue between Japan and the Philippines

Mr. Mizushima: Third, on the Second Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue between Japan and the Philippines. The Second Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue between Japan and the Philippines was held in Tokyo on July 16. From the Japanese side, Mr. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and other MOFA officials, and from the Philippine side Mr. Evan Garcia, Undersecretary for Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs, and other DFA officials participated. Both sides exchanged views on a wide range of subjects, including bilateral relations, as well as regional and global issues.

Third batch of the group of Chinese college students’ visit to Japan

Mr. Mizushima: Fourth, on the third batch of the group of Chinese college students’ visit to Japan. The third batch of the group of Chinese college students will visit Japan from July 21 to July 28 as part of the JENESYS 2.0 program. They will visit various places including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japanese companies, and the Tsukuba Space Center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. They are expected to learn and enhance their understanding of the real Japan.
In Kyoto, they will visit the Kyoto Prefecture Head Office and historical heritage sites and will have the opportunity to exchange views with Japanese college students. We expect that the participating Chinese college students will deepen their understanding of and interest in Japanese society and culture, and will then share their experiences with their friends once they go back to China.

Those are the announcements. I’d be happy to take questions now.

Questions concerning the Japan-Indonesia Politico-Military Talks

Q: Thank you very much, I would like to know a little bit more about the Japan-Indonesia security talks. Specifically, how does this fit into the ARF framework?
Mr. Mizushima: Well, these are bilateral talks. This is the second round. The first round of talks was held in November year before last in Tokyo. This is the second one. These are bilateral talks in order to enhance relationship between the two countries.
Q: Are we talking about maritime security? What kind of security? Can you be more specific about what they are talking about?
Mr. Mizushima: This is just general. They will consult and exchange views about various security-related issues, mainly defense-related issues.
Q: This is quite separate from the ARF? The ASEAN Regional Forum talks which ...[inaudible]?
Mr. Mizushima: These are bilateral talks. The ARF covers many other countries in Asia and other areas, but these are bilateral talks.

Questions concerning President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Sakhalin

Q: When Putin visited Sakhalin a short while ago and stressed the need to develop this region, including the four islands that are claimed by Japan, is there any official reaction? In general, there should be talks soon between the two foreign ministers. Is there already a schedule fixed? I guess we are coming closer. It was said it would be close to autumn or something like that.
Mr. Mizushima: We have agreed to have a dialogue but we don’t have any fixed dates yet. We expect to have the talks as soon as possible.
Q: And regarding the announcement of President Putin to develop this region. Is this in the same interest as Japan thinks?
Mr. Mizushima: Generally speaking, if it means the development in the eastern part of Siberia, then if that leads to the development of that area, it will be good for Japan as well. But if it means the development in the Northern Territories and if it is contrary to our positions, we cannot accept that.

Questions concerning Prime Mister Abe’s visit to Southeast Asia

Q: My question is regarding Prime Mister Abe’s visit to Southeast Asia next week. I don’t know to what extent the details are confirmed, but I have been hearing that he will be visiting the Philippines, Malaysia, and the country I represent — Singapore. So I would like to confirm that. And if there are any dates you can release or other details please do?
Mr. Mizushima: As for the Prime Minister’s visit to foreign countries this summer, the dates are not decided yet. So I don’t have any readout to share with you.
Q: I’d like to follow up on that. Presumably shortly before the trip, probably the Press Club here will be given a handout announcement in Japanese about where he is going and when he is going. You might like to get a copy of that once it is released.
Mr. Mizushima: Of course once it is decided and the information is out, I would be happy to share it with you.
Q: Any possibility that the details will be released by the end of this week?
Mr. Mizushima: That’s what I don’t know. I will let you know as soon as it is finalized.
Q: ...[Inaudible] AfterPrime Minister Abe recently visited Ishigaki, was there any kind of a reaction from the Chinese side or rather from the Chinese Government?
Mr. Mizushima: I am not aware of any reaction from China. But the visit to Ishigaki Island by the Prime Minister is not a strange thing. He visits all parts of Japan.
Q: Can you tell us something about the visit the First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea? It’s said he visited Foreign Minister Kishida and I hear he’ll be having a meeting with Vice Minister Saiki?
Mr. Mizushima: Mr. Kim Kyou-hyun, the First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, is now visiting Japanand he paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Kishida this morning. Mr. Kim is scheduled to meet with his counterpart, Vice Minister Saiki this afternoon. In the meeting with Foreign Minister Kishida, Foreign Minister Kishida welcomed Mr. Kim’s visit, and said that it is very pleasant to see the series of communications since the Foreign Minister Kishida met his counterpart, Foreign Minister Yoon in Brunei at the beginning of this month. Our position is that Japan and the Republic of Korea are neighboring countries who share the fundamental values and interests so that we can enhance the relationship from a broader perspective. The First Vice Minister Kim also shared the same view. That is the outline of that meeting.
Are there more questions? Thank you very much.
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