Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, July 11, 2017, 10:29 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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Japanese

Opening Remarks

Acceptance of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), Human Trafficking Protocol, Migrant Smuggling Protocol, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, the Cabinet decided on Japan's acceptance of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).

Concluding UNTOC, which is an extremely important convention that has already been concluded by 187 countries and regions, has been repeatedly called for in related United Nations (UN) resolutions as well as at G7/G8 Summits.

Japan is increasingly coming under the spotlight of the international community ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In this regard, we view that concluding UNTOC and becoming the 188th party to the convention has considerable significance.

Japan wants to further strengthen cooperation with the international community in countering organized crime, including terrorism.

Furthermore, in addition to accepting this convention, the Cabinet also approved Japan's acceptance of the Human Trafficking Protocol and the Migrant Smuggling Protocol that supplement this convention, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Taking this opportunity to conclude these conventions, Japan will work to further strengthen measures against crimes in close partnership with the international community in dealing with international crimes, including human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, as well as corruption involving public officials and others, which is an international issue.

Adoption of a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

Reporter: A legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons was adopted at the UN on July 7. Can you please share the comments of the Government?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons has been adopted. As a backdrop to this treaty is the dissatisfaction amongst non-nuclear-weapon states concerning the pace of progress made in nuclear disarmament and desire to see substantial progress quickly. We strongly share such hope. As I have noted from before, Japan's fundamental view is to take concrete and practical measures steadily through cooperation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states based on two important recognitions.

We consider that the treaty that was adopted this time differs from our view and approach, which is aimed at "a world free of nuclear weapons." Therefore, given the increasingly serious confrontation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, we think the most important issue is for both sides to rebuild their relationship of trust. We want to take the lead in taking concrete and practical measures based on such thinking.

The Offence of the Preparation of Acts of Terrorism and Other Organized Crimes

Reporter: I have a question regarding the offence of the preparation of acts of terrorism and other organized crimes. During the deliberations on the bill, a question was received from UN Special Rapporteur Cannataci about lack of text that would guarantee privacy rights, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded that there would be a response about Japan's position in due course. Has that response been issued?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the preparations being made for such response, and I will confirm if the response has been issued or not (Note).

(Note) The concerns and points noted by Mr. Cannataci in his open letter are currently being closely examined within the Government and consideration is being given to specific responses.

At any event, in order to accurately explain the initiatives taken by Japan to the international community, the Government will provide a formal response about Japan's position in relation to the matters referred to in this letter in due course.

Adoption of a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons

Reporter: I have a question relating to the legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons. Japan's Ambassador to the UN said that he would not sign the treaty. Would you please tell us the reason for such response and comment on the appropriateness of such stance?

Minister Kishida: As I have just stated, we consider that this treaty differs from our view and approach, which is aimed at "a world free of nuclear weapons." We believe we should not exacerbate the serious situation of the confrontation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states. Specifically, we will patiently and firmly pursue the arrangements we have been striving for to date including frameworks participated by both sides such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBT) and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).

Reporter: So Japan will not sign the treaty?

Minister Kishida: Japan's response has not changed at all. We believe we should not waiver.

Reporter: The treaty also prohibits intimidation by nuclear weapons, and if the number of ratifying countries increases, Japan with a policy that relies on a nuclear deterrence will be seen as contravening the convention, while Japan is a country that has suffered atomic bombings. What is your opinion on this?

Minister Kishida: We have not participated in negotiating the treaty. So, I refrain from commenting on the content of the treaty. The negotiation of this treaty itself had, as I said earlier, aspects that were not in line with Japan's basic view. Based on our view of the importance of cooperation between nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, Japan wants to firmly pursue frameworks in which both sides participate such as NPT.

Comfort Women Issue

Reporter: The Minister of Gender Equality and Family of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has indicated an intent to renegotiate the agreement between Japan and the ROK regarding the comfort women issue. The Minister stated that the ROK Government would contribute financially to have relevant documents inscribed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, and that a comfort women museum would be established. Please share with us your comments and the Government's response to this matter.

Minister Kishida: Firstly, I am aware of the reports. The Japan-ROK agreement of 2015 resolved the comfort women issue "finally and irreversibly" between the two countries. It is important to steadily implement this agreement, which is highly valued by the international community. We have conveyed this point through various channels to date.

With regard to the application for inscription on the Memory of the World Register, we believe such application contravenes the original intent and purpose of establishing UNESCO of promoting friendship and mutual understanding among the member countries. We have repeatedly requested the ROK Government to take appropriate action in view of the Japan-ROK agreement of 2015. In response to the latest comments, we have once again strongly made clear our position to the ROK Government.

You mentioned the museum. In this connection, we will continue to take every opportunity to persistently convey that the Japan-ROK agreement confirmed that the issue was "resolved finally and irreversibly" and our view that it is important to steadily implement the agreement, as well as urge for the steady implementation of the agreement.