Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, August 30, 2013, 10:18 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
(1) Visit to Brazil and Argentina
Situation in Syria
Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: Regarding the tense situation in Syria, countries such as the U.S., U.K. and France are considering measures including military actions. However, the U.K. Parliament voted against that. As moves by each country are gaining attention, how do you view the current situation as the Foreign Minister, and if military actions are to be carried out, at what timing do you believe Japan should express its position?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Firstly, on the situation in Syria, as the Prime Minister has explained at press conferences and other opportunities, we recognize that it is highly possible that chemical weapons have been used. The use of chemical weapons is an extremely serious issue on humanitarian grounds that shall not be condoned. As I have mentioned before, the Assad regime bears a huge responsibility for causing these deteriorations of the situation in Syria.
Based on this recognition, Japan will continue to work to steadily and firstly collect information. On top of that, we must continue our diplomatic efforts to improve the situation through steady collaboration with relevant countries. We are seeing various moves by each country. We must monitor the circumstance closely, and deepen our collaboration steadily. But I will refrain from commenting on what measures will be taken in presumptive conditions.
Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun: I understand there was a meeting session by the related Ministers prior to the cabinet meeting today. What specific directions were given from the Prime Minister?
Foreign Minister Kishida: At the related Ministers’ meeting, we firstly shared information and recognition on the situation in Syria. There were also directions from the Prime Minister, but since it has been decided that the details will be explained from the Chief Cabinet Secretary, I hope you will address your question to him.
Watanabe, NHK News: You mentioned that you would be gathering information in relation to this issue. During that process of information gathering, are there any plans at this time to have communication with the Foreign Ministers of the U.S., U.K., France and other relevant countries?
Foreign Minister Kishida: We obviously place great importance on collaboration and information sharing with relevant countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. They are actually conducted on various levels and we hope to continue our efforts.
Requisition of civilians from the Korean Peninsula
Foreign Minister Kishida: I am aware that such reports have been made. However, since the case is still pending, I think it would be best if I refrain from commenting on this issue as a representative of the Government. Generally speaking, however, I would note that the Japanese Government has maintained a consistent stance on this issue. I believe that Japanese society as a whole, including both the private and public sectors, should approach this issue based on the Government’s stance.
Foreign Minister Kishida: As for the bidding of Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo, there are various points to be appealed, but from the diplomatic perspective and in my capacity as Foreign Minister, in holding Olympic Games in Tokyo, I hope to explain that it would be an excellent opportunity to express our appreciation for the support which were given from various countries at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and show how sports have played a major role in our reconstruction efforts. These are the points which I have appealed to Foreign Ministers and my meeting counterparts. From my position, I hope to put exceptional emphasis on those points and stress Tokyo’s strong points.