Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 9:17 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

The release of the final report from the UN Commissions of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the DPRK

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Regarding the release of the final report from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK, we welcome the report released last night on Japan time.
From now on, we will coordinate with relevant countries and the UN, and work to ensure that the recommendations, including the establishment of hubs in Asia and other places, will be properly followed up and be included into a resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK that Japan, the EU and other countries will submit to the Human Rights Council.

So-called “Secret Agreement”

Kamiide, Freelance: A question on the exchange with Former Foreign Minister of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Katsuya Okada in the Diet on the 14th. Regarding the introduction of nuclear weapons to Japan, at that time, I assume the DPJ administration did not make a decision to tie up a future administrations’ hand. I understand you have responded that the government  continues the policy of the DPJ administration, which means, in concrete terms, that “the introduction of nuclear weapons to Japan will be permitted in case of emergency.” I hope to hear your views on this in relation to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.
Minister Kishida: Japan considers the Three Non-Nuclear Principles very important and will maintain this policy.. This is explicitly written in the National Security Strategy which was released late last year for the first time in Japan. In addition, as for the discussion in the budgetary committee, I am aware the question was on the debate of the introduction of nuclear weapons to Japan in general terms in the time the former Foreign Minister Okada was in the office. While this is not to deny the remarks of the then Foreign Minister Okada and the response of the then Government, in the current situation, Japan keeps the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. My point was that our policy is just as I mentioned and remains unchanged.

Remarks of Chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Yesterday, Chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce had a meeting with members of the Japan-U.S. Parliamentarians’ League and conveyed his concern that Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine will benefit China. Please tell us your view on this remark.
Minister Kishida: I had a meeting with Chairperson Royce and his party as well and I am aware various debates were held between other relevant people. I am aware wide-ranging issues were discussed, such as Japan-U.S. cooperation, regional situation and the situation of each diet member’s constituency.
When I met him, we did not talk about the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. As for Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, it is as expressed in the statement and others by the prime minister. I believe we must continue to make efforts to provide explanations on these intentions of the prime minister to earn proper understanding of the international community. My view on the visit of Chairperson Royce and his party to our country is that it was a meaningful visit to confirm that the Japan-U.S. alliance is, on the whole, robust.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: I understand MOFA had worked hard to give explanations to the U.S. side to earn their understanding on Prime Minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine throughout late last year and the beginning of this year. What do you think about such a concern being expressed by the U.S. even at this point? 
Minister Kishida: I understand it is a fact that various opinions exist in the U.S. and in the international community. However, when I recently visited the U.S., for instance, the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine itself was not raised at the occasion of the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ meeting. 
I will continue to make efforts to earn the general understanding of such  historical issues and other matters. 

Japan-ROK relations

Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun: I have heard that Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Junichiro Ihara will visit South Korea to have a meeting with their Director-General of Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau. Regarding this, for example, when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry went to South Korea before, he expressed at a joint press conference that he cannot wait for the mending of Japan-ROK relations until President Barack Obama visits Japan and South Korea. Do you hope to turn Director-General Ihara’s visit into a clue to improve the bilateral relations? In addition, does the Japanese Government intend to gain some achievement on the two countries’ relationship by the time President Obama comes to Japan in April?
Minister Kishida: First of all, regarding Director-General Ihara’s visit to South Korea, its objective of the visit to Seoul is to attend the Annual Meeting of the Ambassador and Consuls General in Republic of Korea. In addition, I have heard that he is scheduled to have discussion with his counterparts, such as ROK’s Director-General of the Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs.  
It is important to communicate on various levels through a range of opportunities, such as this. Needless to say, South Korea is our important neighbor. When considering the East Asian situation, including North Korea’s situation, I regard the trilateral collaboration between Japan, the U.S. and ROK vital. 
I will work hard to advance our important bilateral relations by continuously accumulating concrete communication and cooperation.
Imoto, TBS: A related question. Is a Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ meeting included to the communication you just mentioned? In addition, what kind of efforts do you think are needed to hold the Foreign Ministers’ meeting?
Minister Kishida: I believe the Foreign Ministers’ meeting will naturally be included in various communications. We held it twice last year. We do hope to create such an opportunity going forward.
I understand accumulating various kinds of cooperation  is important, to begin with. We do hope to realize a Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ meeting as part of communication on various levels while hoping that the ROK side will accept such  views of ours.

So-called “Secret Agreement”

Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: I have an additional question on “secret agreement” on the introduction of nuclear weapons. You have just said that the exchange in the budgetary committee was an exchange in the general sense. In the same budgetary committee, Prime Minister Abe expressed his view that the denial of the existence of “secret agreement” was a mistake and would present in the near future the Government’s view.  Was your remark in the budgetary coommittee a presentation of the Government’s view in response to Prime Minister Abe’s remark or did you make it simply as a general opinion?
Minister Kishida: In respect of the exchange regarding the question from Okada in the budgetary committee, my view is that the question was on my stance on the then Foreign Minister Okada’s remark, not on the entire issue of “secret agreement”.
Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: Does that mean, regarding Prime Minister Abe’s remark of his hope to show the Government’s view, that it will be put forward at some point in the future?
Minister Kishida: As for the so-called “secret agreement” issue, MOFA had conducted various research and released a report. In addition to the report, an experts’ report was released, which includes the content meaning: some secrets exist in diplomacy and this needs to be judged with considered national interest, and the safety and peace of mind of Japanese citizens among other matters. Therefore, regarding how we treat the so-called “secret agreement” issue, it has been reported in the experts’ meeting that making judgment is not that easy. 
However, I believe the basic stance of the Government on this issue is that it is regrettable that the fact has not been disclosed for such a long time. When the Government’s view is asked, it is just as I said now.

Japan-ROK relations

Hayashi, Kyodo Press: I have a further question on the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Regarding Director-General Ihara’s visit to South Korea today, when he talks with his counterpart there, is there a possibility that planning the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ meeting, including the time, will become an agenda, or that we will make a request in that regard?
Minister Kishida: I have not heard that such individual agendas will be on the table. However, I would imagine discussion will be held on a various issues – on every issue.
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