Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 8:43 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Meeting of Japan-US-ROK Leading Officials to the Six-Party Talks

Reporter: I have a question about the meeting of senior officials from Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the US. I believe it was expected that they would exchange  opinions on the response to North Korea's provocative behavior and the murder of Kim Jong-nam. What was covered? Also, please indicate your assessment. 

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: A meeting of Japan-US-ROK leading officials to the Six-Party Talks took place in Washington D.C. on February 27 local time and a  joint statement was issued. 

The meeting involved discussion of the format of cooperation by participating countries in light of results from the recent Japan-US-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting. Participants exchanged views on the recent situation in North Korea, and they agreed to strongly call for North Korea to refrain from provocative behavior and comply with UN Security Council resolutions while Japan, the US and the ROK continue close cooperation. Japan also re-obtained understanding and support from the US and the ROK regarding the abductions issue. 

Reporter: What is your assessment of the meeting? 

Minister Kishida: I think North Korea's provocations have reached a new level since last year, and I believe the importance of cooperation among Japan, the US, and the ROK is further growing. We recently held a Japan-US-ROK Foreign Ministers' Meeting right after the launch of the new US administration. It is required to firmly respond to North Korea's actions, while thoroughly confirming the importance of trilateral cooperation with the new US administration. In this context, collaboration and discussion among our leading officials to the Six-Party Talks are important. I believe it was a meaningful meeting.

North Korea Situation

Reporter: ROK intelligence authorities are suggesting that the murder of Kim Jong-nam was an act of state terrorism. What is the Japanese Government's view of this incident? Also, there is some talk in the US about re-designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Please explain the Government's response to this development. 

Minister Kishida: I believe the incident you mentioned currently remains under investigation by the Malaysian police so I would like to refrain from making specific comments at this stage. 

However, there is mention of the use of VX. VX is a chemical weapon that is banned from production and use under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Japan is collecting and analyzing information on this situation with serious interest. We will continue to gather and analyze information, thoroughly review our future response, and be ready to respond to any situation. 

Regarding discussion on re-designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism in the US, this is a development in the US and I would like to refrain from making any comments.

Maritime Scientific Survey by a Chinese Maritime Research Vessel

Reporter: Some media sources report that there were 63 cases of survey activity by China in the past five years on the ocean floor in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Please explain facts known by the Japanese Government regarding this, as well as the Government's view. 

Minister Kishida: I think it is very regrettable that maritime scientific surveys by Chinese vessels took place without working through the framework of mutual advance notification. When Japan confirms such activity, it demands that the activities stop by sending a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat to the ocean area concerned or protests through the diplomatic channel. We intend to continue to take a resolute and calm approach. 

As to what is happening and what we know, I would like to refrain from discussing details because such clarification would expose Japan's information gathering capabilities and operation due to the nature of this matter.

Reemployment of a Former Diplomat

Reporter: You instructed to investigate the reemployment arranged for a former diplomat by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. What is the current status of the investigation and have you discovered anything new? 

Minister Kishida: The investigation is still taking place. I believe necessary steps are being taken, such as hearing from the related parties. I will continue to have the Ministry proceed with a thorough review.
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