Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, December 18, 2015, 9:00 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Ruling on the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul Bureau chief

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Yesterday evening the ruling was issued in the case against the former Sankei Shimbun Seoul Bureau chief. He was declared not guilty, but could I once again ask for your thoughts and views, Minister?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I appreciate that there has been this positive development in one of the major outstanding concerns between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Many challenges still remain between Japan and the ROK, but it is my hope that this will be one opportunity to move Japan-ROK relations forward. That is all I have to say.

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Minister, you mentioned hope of progress on various outstanding concerns, but do you think this ruling will have some influence on those concerns, or do you view this ruling as a ruling that is separate and independent?

Minister Kishida: The ruling is a ruling. However, I intend to keep a close eye on whether or not it affects other issues.  

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: By keeping a close eye, do you mean on moves by the ROK side?

Minister Kishida: I will keep a close eye on developments overall.

Abe, Asahi Shimbun: You mentioned just now that you appreciate this development, but some are of the view that this ruling is only natural from the standpoints of freedom of expression and freedom of speech. What are your thoughts on that point, Minister?

Minister Kishida: All along, Japan has been seeking an appropriate response from the ROK side from the standpoints of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and Japan-ROK relations. I am saying that I appreciate this as a positive development from the standpoint of Japan-ROK relations.

Takita, Sankei Shimbun: The ROK prosecutors have one week to decide whether or not to appeal this ruling. What are your views on that?

Minister Kishida: Japan intends to continue asking for an appropriate response from the ROK side from the standpoints of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and Japan-ROK relations, as I just mentioned.

Odanaka, Mainichi Shimbun: My question relates to this issue. Japan intends to seek an appropriate response, but are you scheduled to make any requests again, through diplomatic channels?

Minister Kishida: In seeking an appropriate response, all along Japan has been utilizing various opportunities to convey its requests to the ROK side over and over again. We continue to hope for an appropriate response.

50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations

Tachimachi, NHK: I am certain today marks the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty on Basic Relations Between Japan and the ROK. In light of this 50-year milestone, there is a goal to promptly resolve issues such as the comfort women issue. On that basis, and based on this milestone in the Japan-ROK relationship, and in light also on those outstandingconcerns, how will Japan build the relationship in the future…?
 
Minister Kishida: I am aware that today, December 18, is the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on Basic Relations Between Japan and the ROK, as you mentioned. Looking back on these 50 years, Japan-ROK relations have developed significantly. For Japan, the relationship with the ROK is one of the most important bilateral relationships, and Japan-ROK relations also have a significant impact on the peace and stability of the region and international community.

Various difficult challenges exist in this Japan-ROK relationship, but I believe the importance of dialogues must be emphasized. This year is the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, and a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting was also held for the first time in three and a half years. And as Minister, I too held Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meetings five times over the year, I believe. Certainly I think we have to continue making efforts to build a future-oriented bilateral relationship that is based on a broad perspective, by continuing to accumulate dialogues. And that conviction is renewed on this day, the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on Basic Relations Between Japan and the ROK.