Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, October 29, 2013, 8:38 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
(1) Visit to Iran and attendance at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
Foreign Minister Kishida: If circumstances allow, I will visit Iran from on November 9 and 10, and then India on the following 11th and 12th, where I will attend the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
In Iran, I intend to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and pay a courtesy call on President Hassan Rouhani. On our relationship with Iran, since the inauguration of President Rouhani, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Masahiko Komura visited Iran in the beginning of September, and in the latter half of September, Japan and Iran held foreign ministers’ and summit meetings in New York. As such, we have been approaching Iran on the nuclear issue and other matters. This time, based on the talks between Iran and the EU 3+3 as well as those between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), I hope to have candid exchange of views on the nuclear issue, bilateral relations, regional situation and other topics, bearing in mind the strategic and geopolitical importance of Iran.
I intend to discuss at the ASEM meeting economic growth and regional situation among others. I will also introduce Japan’s efforts toward our economic revival through Abenomics and “proactive contribution to peace.” Furthermore, I hope to actively participate in discussion on the situation in East Asia and other issues. In addition, I hope to take this opportunity to strengthen Japan’s relationships with European countries on a regional basis. Those relations are significant for sharing values and realizing economic growth. In specific terms, we are scheduled to hold a V4+Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, and for the first time, a meeting with the Foreign Ministers and other delegates of eight North Europe and Baltic States will be held.
Situation in Iran
Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: As for the situation in Iran, I understand that you held a meeting with Ms. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. What did you discuss? And specifically, what is the significance of your visit to Iran at this timing? What will be Japan’s approaches to Iran’s efforts to improve its relationship with the international community?
Minister Kishida: During yesterday’s meeting with Ms. Ashton, High Representative of the EU, I listened to her views on the country among others as she has been playing a pivotal role in the issues of Iran.
Moving on to Japan’s approaches to, and relations with, Iran, the new Rouhani Cabinet has started in Iran. Currently, discussions are under way between Iran and relevant countries and organizations, such as the EU 3+3 and the IAEA. Japan will firmly seize these opportunities to urge Iran to show flexibility and take concrete actions. Japan has traditional friendly relations with Iran for a long time. While making good use of such ties, I hope to continue our approaches to Iran.
Information collection by the National Security Agency (NSA)
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Regarding the wiretapping by the U.S. Government, some foreign media reported that Japan had also been targeted. What is your response to this issue?
Minister Kishida: On the issue of the NSA’s collection of communication records, Japan has continuously been conducting various communications with the U.S. I would like to refrain from touching on the content, but I will keep a close eye on the developments.
Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: Has MOFA asked the U.S. about the fact, although you said you could not make any concrete comments?
Minister Kishida: We have been conducting communications with the U.S. through various routes. I will refrain from going into details, but I will continue to closely monitor this issue with interest.
Visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea by Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj
Fukuoka, Mainichi Shimbun: Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and the leader of the DPRK are holding a summit meeting. What are your views, including what you anticipate on the abductions issue and other matters that are going forward?
Minister Kishida: I am aware that Mongolia and the DPRK have friendly relations. Japan will pay close attention to discussions at the summit meeting with interest. I have not learned anything about the details yet, but I will keep close attention.