Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 10:18 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Handling of the South China Sea issue in the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings

Tachimachi, NHK: The series of summit meetings at the ASEAN have finished, and Minister you also previously attended the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and in these meetings Japan seemed to strengthen its efforts toward the South China Sea issue. The EAS Chairman's statement has not yet been released, but I would like to ask what Japan thinks about the coordination situation and the results?
Minister Kishida: In the EAS also, as has been touched upon by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Japan has clearly presented its thinking on ''the three principles of the rule of law at sea'' and that freedom of navigation and freedom of flight over the seas are fundamental rights that must be resolutely protected in the future.
In terms of the results, in the summit meetings with each of the participating countries, my understanding is that a strong consensus was achieved in that each country shall act responsibly based on international law and strictly refrain from actions that will heighten tensions in order to protect the peace and security of the seas and to ensure the freedom of navigation. I think this was a significant outcome.
I believe that trust can be created precisely through the continual holding of dialogues between the relevant countries based on shared rules. I consider that Japan will continue to firmly cooperate with the relevant countries, including the United States, to resolutely ensure ''the rule of law'' and ''the freedom of navigation'' at sea.

International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit

Tachimachi, NHK: I would next like to ask about counter-terrorism measures. The Prime Minister indicated that he wanted the International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit to have been established by early December, although initially the talk was of April of next year. So as the schedule has been significantly pushed forward, may I ask about the state of preparations and in what form will the unit be progressing in the future?

Minister Kishida: First, in May this year, the headquarters for countering international organized crime and international terrorism made a decision to improve Japan's capability to collect intelligence on international terrorism. Based on this decision, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is going to newly establish the International Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit and also appoint to Japanese embassies and consulates abroad suitable persons who are well versed in international terrorism conditions, local conditions, and languages, and thereby strengthen Japan's intelligence-collection capabilities. Toward this, a preparation office was established within the Minister's Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So the coordination was being made, but then on seeing the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, I think that there is little doubt there is an urgent need to firmly strengthen our capability to gather intelligence on international terrorism.
Currently, the details on this new unit are that the final coordination is being made for the new appointment of staff to diplomatic missions abroad, such as on the number of appointees, the methods for the prescribed number of staff, their specific duties, and also their relations with other agencies, toward the official launch of the unit in early December.

Reports of the postponement of the ruling on the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul Bureau chief

Odanaka, Mainichi Shimbun: In relation to the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul Bureau chief, the ROK judicial authority has decided to postpone the ruling from the initial date of November 26 to next month. Can I ask once again what is the opinion and position of the Government of Japan on the trial and its reaction to this postponement?
Minister Kishida: First, I am aware of the reports on the postponement. The Government of Japan has expressed its concerns on this matter to the ROK side from the viewpoints of the freedom of the press, the freedom of expression, and also the Japan-ROK relations. I consider that we will continue to express our concerns to the ROK and request that it would deal with this matter appropriately.
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