Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Friday, January 27, 2017, 8:38 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-Level Meeting

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Akiba will be dispatched to Moscow to hold a Japan-Russia vice-ministerial-level meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Vladimirovich Morgulov of Russia on February 1 as a follow-up to the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting in December 2016. 

At this meeting, I expect that constructive exchanges of views will take place for realizing the instructions given by the leaders of Japan and Russia regarding the bilateral relationship, as well as joint economic activities on the four islands and free visit to the four islands by their former residents, in order to make progress toward the conclusion of a peace treaty.

Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-Level Meeting

Reporter: I have a question about the Japan-Russia vice-ministerial-level meeting. Does this mean that the negotiations for concluding a peace treaty that had been conducted under Ambassador Chikahito Harada will also be conducted under these two officials? 

Minister Kishida: The two sides confirmed that the joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands agreed to by the two leaders at the end of last year would be discussed between Deputy Minister Akiba and Deputy Minister Morgulov, and in line with this, it was decided that the upcoming meeting would be held. The discussion on joint economic activities will be held by Deputy Minister Akiba. 

Reporter: Is it correct to understand that there will no longer be the framework of peace treaty negotiations between Ambassador Harada and Deputy Minister Morgulov? 

Minister Kishida: It is not decided whether any changes would be made regarding the framework. We intend to utilize various routes as needed. Regarding the joint economic activities on the four islands that I just mentioned, Deputy Minister Akiba will be in charge of the discussions.

G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Reporter: The G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting will be held in Bonn, Germany on February 16 and 17. Will you be attending? 

Minister Kishida: As the Diet is in session, I will consider attendance at the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting based on the circumstances. I may attend if it is possible. However, this is currently under consideration because it is also necessary to take into account the Diet situation and other matters. 

Reporter: I believe this meeting will be the first multilateral forum following the inauguration of the Trump administration. What type of approach will Japan be taking for this meeting? 

Minister Kishida: First of all, there has never been a G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. This is the first one. I expect this may affect the G20 format. We would like to give consideration to the nature of the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. We are currently confirming attendance by the Foreign Ministers of various countries, and it appears that some will be attending. I see an opportunity to utilize this also as a forum for bilateral meetings if I can make it. 

Some countries saw changes in foreign ministers recently. I intend to utilize this type of opportunity to maintain communications with new counterparts and steadily engage in meetings. 

Reporter: You mentioned bilateral meetings. The Japan-Russia vice-ministerial-level meeting between Deputy Minister Akiba and Deputy Minister Morgulov will occur prior to the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Will you pursue arrangements also with a view to holding a Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting? 

Minister Kishida: We need to check whether a decision has been made on the attendance of Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov of Russia. If I can make it, there is naturally a possibility of a Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Yet it would still be necessary to coordinate a schedule even if I attend. Nothing has been decided yet. 

Reporter: Will you consider a Japan-US Foreign Ministers' Meeting if US Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson attends? 

Minister Kishida: Mr. Tillerson received approval from the committee and is awaiting approval by Congress. I intend to conduct a telephone talk or have a meeting as soon as possible if he is confirmed. I will consider the G20 forum as a possible venue if it can be utilized. However, there are still numerous uncertainties.

Japan-US Summit Meeting

Reporter: A Japan-US Summit Meeting has not been decided?

Minister Kishida: My understanding is that this is still in the final stage of coordination.
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