Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 5:24 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening remarks

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: In the morning, I already spoke about the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Meeting, so now I would like to talk about the Japan- ROK Foreign Minister's Meeting as well as the Japan-China Foreign Minister's Meeting, both of which took place this afternoon. 

At the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting, I informed Mr. Yun Byung Se, Foreign Minister of the ROK that Japan decided at today's Cabinet Meeting to provide one billion yen from the reserve budget as the Japanese side's contribution based on the Japan-ROK agreement from the end of last year. Additionally, I requested the ROK of steady implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement, including efforts for solve the issue of the statue of a girl in an appropriate manner, and both sides agreed to make sincere efforts to carry through with the agreement. Furthermore, I expressed my disappointment with the recent landing on Takeshima by a group of ROK parliamentary members, and I made a protest. Regarding the North Korea issue, we confirmed that North Korea's provocative actions, including the launch of a ballistic missile this morning, which was thought to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), was totally unacceptable, and we would continue to closely work between Japan and the ROK or among Japan, the US and the ROK to resolve issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear weapons, and missile issues through measures including applying pressure to North Korea.   

In the Japan-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting, I again clearly and directly communicated Japan's views of the recent situation related to the Senkaku Islands to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and strongly urged China to calm the situation, prevent recurrence, and improve overall conditions regarding the East China Sea. In response, Foreign Minister Wang Yi explained China's views of the Senkaku Islands situation and commented that it is important to prevent worsening of the situation in the East China Sea and to avoid unexpected events and that China hopes to improve Japan-China relations by accumulating communications between Japan and China. I subsequently commented that, when conditions in the East China Sea improve, Japan hopes to move forward with improvements in the Japan-China relationship from a broad perspective through dialogue, including a possible meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit. Additionally, regarding the North Korea issue, we exchanged opinions, including in light of this morning's ballistic missile launch, I requested China's further actions, and we agreed to continue to maintain close contact. Japan continues to pay close attention to China's actions, while maintaining communications with the Chinese side from the standpoint of keeping the door open for dialogue.


Reporter: In the Japan-China bilateral meeting with Minister Wang, in your opening remarks, you mentioned that you touched on the Senkaku Islands. In what actual way did you state your concerns about the matter? 

Minister Kishida: First, regarding the situation in the East China Sea and the Senkaku Islands and the surrounding waters, Japan has repeatedly and at various levels made protests and sought explanations from the Chinese side. In addition to restating Japan's position to the Chinese side, I strongly urged China to calm the situation, prevent recurrence, and improve overall conditions regarding the East China Sea.

Reporter: Can the Japanese government accept statements made by Minister Wang in response?  

Minister Kishida: I stated that it is first important to calm the situation. Japan will be closely monitoring conditions.

Reporter: You mentioned interest in considering a high-level meeting at the G20 or other occasions and dialogue after seeing how the situation develops. How did Minister Wang reply to this? 

Minister Kishida: When conditions in the East China Sea improve, at the G20….

Reporter: Is that what you said? 

Minister Kishida: Yes, I said so, and Minister Wang indicated an intention to control the situation through dialogue in essence. I also stated the importance of first calming down the situation. This was the exchange. I would like to refrain from providing further details.   

Reporter: I understand you requested improvement in the overall situation in the East China Sea. Specifically, what would constitute an improvement to the Japanese government?

Minister Kishida: The overall situation in the East China Sea refers to not only the Senkaku Islands, but also to all the matters related to the East China Sea including resource development in the East China Sea. Japan has already been requesting improvements in the overall situation and intends to continue to do so.

Reporter: Was there discussion of a communication mechanism between Japan and China? 

Minister Kishida: We agreed on the importance of communications between Japan and China. I mentioned the importance of a maritime and aerial communication mechanism. In any case, I believe it is important to conduct this type of discussion after the situation has calmed down. 

Reporter: I understand you said that when conditions in the East China Sea improve, you hope to improve the Japan-China relations including a possible Japan-China Summit Meeting at the G20. Will it be difficult to hold a Japan-China Summit Meeting if the situation in the East China Sea does not calm down? 

Minister Kishida: I firmly communicated the importance of calming down the situation in the East China Sea. The Chinese side also expressed a desire to control the situation. Japan intends to closely monitor conditions.  

Reporter: Japan-China relations are running into trouble over the Senkaku Islands. Do you think today's meeting will serve as a catalyst for improvement of the relationship? 

Minister Kishida: I believe it is always important to maintain communications between diplomatic authorities and at the level of Foreign Minister. I hope that these communications will lead to improvement in the situation and, as a result, to improvement in the relationship between our countries. Today's discussion involved significant progress in communications, and hopefully it will lead to future improvements.
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