Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, January 24, 2014, 9:25 a.m. Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
(1) The decision for the signing, acceptance and promulgation of the Hague Convention
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: The Cabinet meeting just before has decided the signing, acceptance and promulgation of the Hague Convention. On this basis, we will deposit a letter of signing and acceptance at The Hague, Holland, by the end of the day. The Convention is expected to come into force on April 1 this year.
With the increased cases of international marriage and divorce, the conclusion of the Hague Convention, a set of international rules addressing unlawful child abduction and other issues, is vital for Japan. MOFA will work to appropriately implement the Convention.
Opening of the regular Diet session
Nakamura, Nippon TV : The Diet will be in session today. As the Foreign Minister, especially what kindof challenges do you perceive and what messages would you like to deliver?
Minister Kishida : Firstly, I am aware that the upcoming Diet session is positioned as a Diet realizing a “virtuous cycle” and centering on economic issues. Properly confirming Japan’s vitality primarily of our economy is important so as to display presence in diplomacy.
MOFA regards discussion in this Diet session crucial in developing economic and other diplomacy. In addition, we are at the stage of final adjustments to, and reviews on, bills and treaties to be submitted to the Diet. Upon appropriate examination and requesting deliberations to the Diet, I intend to earn understanding by providing thorough explanations.
Visit to Japan by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns
Nakamura, Nippon TV : Today, I understand you are scheduled to meet with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Burns. What would you like to discuss with him? In addition, please clarify the facts on media reports that you will be visiting U.S. next month to hold a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Minister Kishida : I am looking forward to seeing Deputy Secretary of State Burns as he visits Japan today. We regard visits by key officials, such as this, and communications vital in placing further importance on Japan-U.S. relationship and for its further development.
With the unclear diplomatic and security environment in the Asia Pacific region, we recognize that the Japan-U.S. alliance will continue to become more important. I attach importance to today’s meeting to confirm the stable and firm Japan-U.S. alliance.
Nakamura, Nippon TV : On your visit to the U.S. next month?
Minister Kishida : As for my visit to the U.S., I believe to have been there four times last year. Accordingly, while I understand visiting the U.S. itself is very important, nothing has been determined for this year’s specific visit at this time.
Nakamura, Nippon TV : I understand it involves the schedules of the Diet. Would you like to go if circumstances allow?
Minister Kishida : I perceive visits of key officials between Japan and the U.S. crucial.
Policy address on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun : Regarding the response to your address in Nagasaki this Monday, I would like to hear your understanding. You elaborated on the need to declare that the use of nuclear weapons should be limited and that 'extreme circumstances' should be limited. Afterwards, it seems that some participants asked you not to make such remarks or sent letters to MOFA lodging protests from cities that suffered atomic bombing. How do you view them?
Minister Kishida : Regarding my speech this Monday in Nagasaki, I believe it was unprecedented, at least in recent times, for a Foreign Minister to elucidate Japan’s policy on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in such a systematical manner. It was also the first time for me to speak comprehensively as Foreign Minister on Japan’s nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. As for discussions in this field, NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled in April in Japan. In this situation, I believe it is important as a way to contribute to fundamental discussion.
I am aware of various opinions on wide-ranging specific points of Japan’s foreign policy. However, in this field, for Japan to be at the forefront of global opinions and to lead discussion as the only country to have experienced the devastation of atomic bombing, clearly presenting our policies in this field is extremely important. On this basis, we will stay humble in accepting various opinions from different positions and making full use of them for further discussion.
Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun : Your word “Extreme circumstances” is a highly abstract wording. Do you intend to develop it into concrete measures, for instance no first use of nuclear weapons?
Minister Kishida : As I have just mentioned, I spoke widely on Japan’s policy in this area and the current situation. Various contentions exist. In addition, as for Japan’s measures, I proposed three preventative measures, three measures for disarmament and various others. We have no time to explain them one by one but what is important is to raise global opinion through pressing on with the measures as a whole. While each measure is important, I hope to lead international opinion through scaling up the entire efforts of Japan.
Kurita, Hokkaido Shimbun : Recently, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated at a press conference that the first step of concession for the mutually acceptable resolution of the Northern Territories issue is to accept and recognize the results of World War II. A vice-ministerial meeting is scheduled at the end of the month. What are your views on Foreign Minister Lavrov’s remark and how you will address it?
Minister Kishida : In respect of the Northern Territories issue, it is a fact that Japan and Russia have gaps between our stances and views. However, as for our mutual relationship, along with the four summit meetings and other opportunities since last year, we have communicated with each other and confirmed our views to give momentum to the Northern Territories issue and the issue of a peace treaty through reinforcing the entire relationship. A vice-ministerial meeting is scheduled for the near future. In addition, as we confirmed at last year’s “2+2” meeting, I will be visiting Russia in spring.
This year, I hope to further strengthen the entire bilateral relationship on various occasions as well as advance the process of the Northern Territories issue. Regarding details, I intend to work hard at such meetings and on other occasions.
Kurita, Hokkaido Shimbun : How do you perceive the comment that Japan should accept the results of World War II?
Minister Kishida : As I said, regarding the Northern Territories issue, I am aware of the gaps between our stances and views. We will confirm and discuss the details at such meetings and on other occasions.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Visit to Yasukuni Shrine
Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun : I was told that you had explained the intent of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine when you recently met with Ms. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. I assume that such an issue will also be discussed during your meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Burns today.
Minister Kishida : I have no recollection of the topic raised between Ms. Catherin Ashton and me.
Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun : Do you view that Prime Minister Abe’s intention of his visit to Yasukuni has been recognized more widely in the international community?
Minister Kishida : With regard to Prime Minister’s intention, Prime Minister and those relevant, including myself, have provided explanations in a careful manner at each opportunity. We intend to make continued efforts on providing explanations. I will continue to work steadily to earn understanding.