Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, September 4, 2015, 8:44 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Commemorative event for the ‘‘70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression’’ hosted by China

Fujita, Fuji TV: Yesterday, a grand military parade took place under the banner of resistance against Japanese aggression. I would like to ask for your view on this, if you have one. At the reception held afterward, Mr. Xi Jinping, President of People's Republic of China, stated that even people born after the war of aggression must bear the lessons of history in mind. This seems somewhat far apart from the future-oriented position Japan has been seeking; but what is your view?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Regarding the ceremony that you mentioned, I would like to refrain from commenting on each specific issue, such as my views on a certain comment or a certain section. However, the Government of Japan's perspective is that 70 years have passed since the end of World War II, and rather than focusing excessively on the misfortunes of the past, it is important to adopt an attitude of tackling the shared issues facing the international community in a future-oriented manner. We also observed the ceremony closely based on such perspective.

There is also a history of Japan-China friendship that has existed between Japan and China since the normalization of diplomatic relations, and I believe there have been improvements in Japan-China relations, including the two Summit Meetings held by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping. With that in mind, we were conveying to the Chinese side that we wanted this event to include an element of reconciliation between Japan and China, rather than so-called anti-Japanese sentiment. However, looking at the event overall, I was unable to detect such an element.

Fujita, Fuji TV: I imagine that in some respects, it was not possible to secure understanding for Japan's request; but do such improvements toward friendly relations   mean that the way Japan responds will not change in the future?

Minister Kishida: The Government of Japan views the Japan-China relationship as an important neighbor-country relationship, and we intend to continue to hold dialogue.

Fujita, Fuji TV: In the parade which attracted a great deal of attention, it was announced that the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s troop levels will be reduced by 300,000 personnel. How do you view this?

Minister Kishida: The Government of Japan has long been asking China to improve the transparency of its military capabilities. From such standpoint, we hope this reduction of the PLA's regular personnel which was announced this time will also proceed with a high degree of transparency.

Indonesia’s high-speed railway project

Fujita, Fuji TV: Japan and China have been competing for the order for a high-speed railway in Indonesia, but it has been announced that the plan itself will be reviewed. How will Japan respond to this in the future? Also, what is your view on the overheated competition between Japan and China to secure such orders in Southeast Asia?
Minister Kishida: A variety of information has been reported regarding the issue of Indonesia that you mention, and there seems to be variations in the content of these reports.

To begin with, I have heard there will be an official explanation from the Government of Indonesia, possibly today. I think the Government of Japan's response should be considered after listening carefully to the Government of Indonesia's official explanation.

Fujita, Fuji TV: Does that mean Japan still has a chance?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the reports, and there is a variety of information appearing from many news agencies. I think we will have to comment and consider a response once we have actually received an official explanation from the Government of Indonesia.

Remarks by Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Igor Morgulov, on the Northern Territories

Watanabe, NHK: My question concerns Japan-Russia relations. Mr. Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov, Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is also  a counterpart of Mr. Shinsuke Sugiyama, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Japan-Russia Deputy-Ministerial Meeting, remarked in an interview with Interfax that they do not intend to hold dialogue with Japanon the Northern Territories issue. How do you view these remarks, and how will Japan make a breakthrough in its relations with Russia in the future based on these remarks? How do you seize opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting New York?
Minister Kishida: I think that the remarks of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Morgulov you referred to are not constructive, and not only is it  contrary to the facts, but it is also contrary to the agreement between Prime Minister Abe and President Putin. I think we cannot accept them and I (the Minister) have instructed to lodge a protest against the Russian side.

After the war, the Soviet Union nor Russia participated in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Therefore, in Japan's relations with Russia, even after 70 years have passed, the Northern Territories issue has still not been resolved. For this reason, Japan has been negotiating with Russia on a peace treaty. I consider these are the historical facts.

My understanding is that in the joint statement of Prime Minister Abe and President Putin on April 2013, based on all of the various documents and agreements that had been adopted up to that time, they agreed to the point of accelerating negotiations in order to create a solution acceptable to both sides. I consider the remarks that there is no dialogue taking place on the territorial issue to clearly contradict the facts, in light of the agreement between the two leaders and the negotiations up to the present time.

This is the Government of Japan's opinion. At the same time, we value the political dialogue with Russia. In order to resolve the Northern Territories issue, we desire a constructive dialogue, not a public war of words. I believe we must strongly urge the Russian side to hold a constructive dialogue in order to advance Japan-Russia relations in the future.
Watanabe, NHK: May I ask a related question? Specifically, given that you stated that you have issued instructions to lodge a protest, has it been decided at the current time at what level and via what route this protest will be lodged?
Minister Kishida: We plan for Mr. Hajime Hayashi, Director-General of the European Affairs Bureau, to lodge the protest with Mr. Evgeny Vladimirovich Afanasiev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Japan.

Commemorative event for the ‘‘70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression’’ hosted by China

Lee, Phoenix TV: Do you think that China's military parade in the event will lead to deterioration in Japan-China relations?

Minister Kishida: Japan considers its relations with China to be very important. As I previously mentioned, I believe that there have been improvements in Japan-China relations, but that we must continue to firmly engage in a political dialogue with China.
Lee, Phoenix TV: So you think it won't be resulted in deterioration?
Minister Kishida: We will continue to strive to engage in a political dialogue with China.