Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, August 21, 2015, 9:40 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Bombardment in the Demilitarized Zone

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Yesterday North Korea fired at the Republic of Korea side, and the ROK returned fire. North Korea is warning that unless the ROK removes the loudspeakers and ceases the broadcasts within 48 hours, it will commence a military operation. What is the Government of Japan's position and how will it respond to that?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: First, regarding the point you raised, to begin with I intend to firmly urge the North Korean side to exercise self-restraint, while coordinating with the United States and the ROK. I intend to request self-restraint. I will continue to respond appropriately with a sense of urgency. Above all else I intend to strive to gather information and analyze it solidly.

ROK President to attend the commemorative event for ‘‘70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression’’ being hosted by China.

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Also yesterday, ROK President Ms. Park Geun-hye announced her participation in the commemorative event for the ''70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression'' in Beijing on September 3. There are some issues that are of concern for Japan of course, but also for the United States, such as her participation in the military parade. Firstly, how does the Government of Japan view this? And also, Prime Minister Abe will visit China at that time. How will the Government of Japan, including you, Minister Kishida, respond?

Minister Kishida: First, with regard to President Park's attendance at the China's commemorative event, because it involves a diplomatic exchange between two third-party countries, the Government of Japan is not in a position to comment, I believe. And regarding the Government of Japan's response, at the moment nothing whatsoever has been decided.

Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to visit Etorofu

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is hinting he will visit the Northern Territories in the near future. Once again, what is the Government of Japan's position, and if this is carried out, what impact will it have on issues such as your own visit to Russia?

Minister Kishida: Where the Japan-Russia relationship is concerned, the Government of Japan intends to build up political dialogue and advance the Japan-Russia relationship, including with regard to territorial issues.

In the course of that, the recent visits to the Northern Territories and comments concerning the Northern Territories by Russian dignitaries do not conform with the view shared between the two countries' leaders, which is that the two countries' political dialogue will move ahead in a quiet environment.

If Prime Minister Medvedev's visit to the Northern Territories is carried out, the Government of Japan believes it will be incompatible with Japan's position, and is expressing those concerns and lodging protests to the Russian side.

On the other hand, where a visit to Russia by Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs is concerned, at present nothing has been decided. However, if I do visit Russia, I intend to discuss the Northern Territories issue and issues relating to the Northern Territories, in other words issues relating to the conclusion of a peace treaty, as important challenges.

I certainly intend to seek a constructive response from the Russian side, including this issue and the Japan-Russia relationship.

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: If Prime Minister Medvedev's actions are actually carried out, what impact will it have on the visit to Russia that you mentioned?

Minister Kishida: To begin with, at present nothing has been decided about the visit to Russia itself, including any specific schedule. We will decide a specific schedule going forward while taking into account a variety of elements, including the circumstances that you mentioned, in a comprehensive manner.

The response to the investigation into the abductions

Makita, Kyodo Press: According to some reports, when a Japanese non-government organization visited North Korea, a high ranking official of the North Korean government told them to the effect that the re-investigation of the abductions has already been completed and the Government of Japan does not want to receive the report. Can I ask about the relevant facts with regards to this, and also how does the Government of Japan intend to make headway in this situation in which there has been little progress?
Minister Kishida: First, I have seen these reports, but they are not correct. The policy of Japan has not changed at all, that we want all of the abductees to be returned to Japan through the investigation. We will continue to make efforts toward resolving the various pending issues with North Korea, including the abduction issue, based on the principles of action for action and dialogue and pressure.

Russian Prime Minister Medvedev to visit Etorofu

Kurihara, NHK: To return to the previous discussion of Prime Minister Medvedev, it is reported that he will visit this weekend, that is to say, tomorrow. Can I ask what in particular does the Government of Japan think is the outlook for this situation and what does it specifically intend to do?
Minister Kishida: First, we have been working resolutely to collect and analyze information Prime Minister Medvedev's visit to the Northern Territories is not compatible with the Government of Japan's position, and we have been lodging protests on this matter to the Russian side. We will continue to watch the situation closely.
Kurihara, NHK: Can we assume that the Government is currently lodging protests through the diplomatic route?

Minister Kishida: We are lodging protests regarding the position and concerns of Japan to the Russian side through a variety of levels.