Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 15, 2013, 9:42 a.m.   In the Diet

Opening Remarks

(1) Attendance at the TICAD V Ministerial Preparatory Meeting

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: If conditions allow, I plan to visit Ethiopia from March 15, to March 18, to attend the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) Ministerial Preparatory Meeting.

At the TICAD V Ministerial Preparatory Meeting, in preparation for the TICAD V summit meeting to be held in June, I will explain Japan’s perspectives and participants will discuss the main issues to be included in the outcome document of the meeting.

(2) Submission of the Hague Convention and the implementing bill of the Hague Convention to the Diet

Minister Kishida: A Cabinet decision was made today to submit the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the Hague Convention) and the implementing bills of the Convention. The Hague Convention is a set of international rules which prioritize the good of the children above all other considerations. I hope that the Diet will quickly approve the Convention and its implementing bills.

Terrorist attack on Japanese nationals in Algeria

Kikuchi, Nippon Television: This question was already posed at yesterday’s press conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary. It is reported that the Japanese Government offered a ransom payment in order to save the people abducted in Algeria. As the Minister for Foreign Affairs, could you tell us if you have confirmed any facts or received any reports related to this matter?

Minister Kishida: I know that there are reports stating that the Algerian Minister of Interior and Local Government made a statement in this regard, but I am confident that there are no facts related to ransom.

Kikuchi, Nippon Television: Did you refer to the Algerian minister for this issue?

Minister Kishida: I have not received any report that MOFA has contacted him to confirm the fact.

Japan-China relations

Kikuchi, Nippon Television: China will start a new administration under the leadership of Mr. Xi Jinping. Could you once again explain how you plan to improve Japan-China relations through specific measures?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that Mr. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, was elected as the President of the PRC by the National People's Congress yesterday, on March 14. In the first place, I would like to offer my congratulations to President Xi Jinping and other newly-elected Chinese leaders.

Japan-China relations are among the most important bilateral relations for Japan. I believe that Japan and China are two countries that shoulder great responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Japan is ready to build mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests with new Chinese leaders from a broad perspective. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe often says, our stance is that the door for dialogue with the Chinese side is always open.

Japan-U.S. relations

Nikaido, Asahi Shimbun: The U.S. State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea as early as mid-April. Has the schedule for his visit to Japan already been fixed? What kinds of issues would you like to discuss with him?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the announcement, and the specific schedule has yet to be coordinated. I have not heard that his specific itinerary has been fixed.