Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, October 18, 2013, 9:38 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Opening Remarks - Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
Foreign Minister Kishida: On October 17 I held a telephone talk with Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Mr. Murray McCully, who compiled the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, which, as I announced last week, Japan would be a party to. I expressed gratitude for the fact that as a result of the leadership of New Zealand and under Minister McCully’s guidance, the content of the statement can be supported from Japan’s standpoint. Minister McCully mentioned that New Zealand fully understood the importance of the statement for Japan, and that with the “strategic cooperative partnership,” New Zealand hoped to continue to communicate the significance of the statement to the international community.
I am aware that this statement is expected to be released soon, and Japan, as the only country that has ever experienced atomic bombings in wartime and as the country that best understands the tragedy of the use of nuclear weapons, has been working tirelessly to date to communicate to the international community the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Going forward, the Government of Japan will continue to cooperate with New Zealand and other relevant countries via initiatives that convey the realities of the use of nuclear weapons across national boundaries and generations, and will play a leading role in the international community’s efforts to realize a World without Nuclear Weapons.
Visit to Yasukuni Shrine on the occasion of the Annual Autumn Festival
Watanabe, NHK: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered a masakaki tree, which is used in Shinto rituals, to the Yasukuni Shrine, and while this is not regarded as a shrine visit by a Cabinet member, I would like to ask what your thoughts are regarding this kind of action.
Minister Kishida: I believe it is only natural to pray for the souls of, and show reverence to, those who sacrificed their precious lives for their country, whether at home or abroad. Where the Prime Minister’s shrine offering is concerned, this was undertaken as a private individual and is not an issue which the Government of Japan should comment on.
Watanabe, NHK: This action is generating similar criticism that surfaced previously, including from the foreign minister of the Republic of Korea. What are your views on that?
Minister Kishida: As I said just now, the offering was undertaken as a private individual and I do not think it is something that the Government of Japan should comment on. At the same time, however, China and the ROK are important neighbors for Japan, and we believe that we should see to it that the issues such as the Yasukuni Shrine does not influence the overall bilateral relations. Based on a broad perspective, I by all means hope to steadily advance and strengthen the bilateral relations.
Proactive contribution to peace
Watanabe, Kyodo News: Prime Minister Abe held out proactive contribution to peace as a fundamental concept of foreign diplomacy, and criticism is being voiced from China and the ROK that this represents a move toward the remilitarization of Japan. Have you explained the specific content and meaning of this concept to China and the ROK?
Minister Kishida: Through various opportunities, I have been continuing explaining Japan’s security policy to China, the ROK, the international community, and a large number of countries.
The term “proactive contribution to peace” refers to the Government of Japan’s wish to proactively contribute to the international community, and regional peace and stability. As for various measures, it is to which extent Japan will response, within the activities taken by other countries in accordance with international law. The foundation of Japan as a peaceful nation remains unchanged. I intend to continue to thoroughly explain this going forward as well.
“Comfort women” issue
Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: The Sankei Shimbun reported the other day that the research on former comfort women was conducted in a sloppy manner and that this might lead to the review of the Kono Statement. Will you explain your opinion and whether or not you will disclose the content of the research?
Minister Kishida: I will refrain from directly commenting on media reports. Regarding the research, I understand that the Government of Japan conducted hearing investigations and a comprehensive investigation of government documents at that time.
In any case, as the Abe Cabinet, Prime Minister is also deeply pained to think of the comfort women who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering. This is a feeling shared by his predecessors. This issue should not be politicized or be turned into a diplomatic issue.
Special intelligence protection bill
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: My question is concerning the special intelligence protection bill to be submitted to this Diet session. I believe this issue was also discussed at the latest 2+2 meeting. What requests were made by the U.S. side and how do you view the importance of this bill? Further, I would also like to know how you consider the importance of this bill within the context of Japan-U.S. cooperation.
Minister Kishida: At the latest 2+2 meeting, the U.S. side expressed its support, in principle, for our security policy and our actions to be taken based on the said security policy. The bill you mentioned is part of the said security policy. I recognize that it is an important bill within the context of establishing relationship of trust with relevant countries, and the promotion of our security policies.