Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Friday, February 7, 2014, 8:40 a.m. Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the U.S.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: I will visit the U.S. today. I am scheduled to have meetings with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel, National Security Advisor Suzan Rice and others to discuss issues such as challenges lying between Japan and the U.S., the Asia-Pacific regional situation and so on. Specifically, I will explain “proactive contribution to peace” in the hope of bring about concrete bilateral cooperation on the basis of our National Security Strategy. In addition, bearing in mind the possibility that North Korea would raise its tension at the occasion of U.S.-ROK joint military exercises, I will coordinate our views on the situation in the DPRK with the U.S. and confirm our partnership toward denuclearization.

Foreign Minister’s visit to the U.S.

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: As you said that you intend to discuss the issue of the DPRK, what is the reason for this particular timing of your flying to the U.S. by a chartered plane amid the very tightly-scheduled Diet session for budget and other deliberations?

Minister Kishida: To begin with, this visit to the U.S. will realize the first Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting after the establishment of the National Security Council and the release of the National Security Strategy. I hope to thoroughly confirm the Japan-U.S. alliance and two countries’ cooperation in line with the National Security Strategy while providing an explanation of Japan’s “proactive contribution to peace.” In addition, regarding the situation in the DPRK, U.S.-ROK joint exercises are scheduled between the end of February and the beginning of March. In my view, we cannot eliminate the possibility that the DPRK will raise tension at that time. I think it is important to coordinate our views with the U.S, beforehand. Considering such various points, I recognise the importance of holding a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at this time.

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Secretary of State Kerry seems to plan to go to China and the ROK this month. Is your timing set with that in mind?

Minister Kishida: I am aware no official announcement has been made on which countries the Secretary of State will visit. Even if such visits will be made, it is important to confirm Japan-U.S. partnership through close communication prior to them.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attendance at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics (Japan-Russia Summit Meeting)

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Prime Minister Abe will leave for Sochi today after the Diet session. A Japan-Russia Summit Meeting will be held just after the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Munich that you have attended. What conversation do you expect between the two leaders, especially on negotiations to conclude a peace treaty as well as the territorial issue?

Minister Kishida: Between Japan and Russia, summits and political dialogues have been under way at a desirable pace since last year. Four summits were held and so was the first “2+2” meeting in history. As you have pointed out, the Japan-Russia Foreign Minsters’ Meeting was also held during the recent Munich Security Conference. This time, Prime Minister Abe will visit Sochi and have the fifth summit. These efforts will build further trust between the leaders, thereby advancing political dialogue. With this trust-based relationship, we hope to boost our partnership and cooperation in all the areas including security and economy. At the same time, I would like to promote negotiations on the Northern Territories issue and the issue of concluding a peace treaty.

Capture of a Chinese fishing boat

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Yesterday, it was reported that a Chinese fishing boat was captured off the shore of the Goto Islands, Nagasaki Prefecture. Please tell us the fact and responses of the Government of Japan.

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the incident. However, I understand that this is addressed accordingly by the relevant ministries. Please refer to these ministries for details.

Foreign Minister’s visit to the U.S.

Watanabe, NHK: As for the significance of your visit to the U.S., you said you would coordinate views as the DPRK’s response at the occasion of the U.S.-ROK joint exercises is unclear. Does your coordination in specific terms presuppose a tense Korean Peninsula situation?

Minister Kishida: In my book, we cannot eliminate the possibility of increased tensions. In addition, for the DPRK to take concrete move or actions toward denuclearization is of utmost importance. I hope to communicate steadily on the entire DPRK issue as well as other matters.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attendance at the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Olympics (Japan-Russia Summit Meeting)

Torinari, Kyodo Press: Once again, the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting. Russian President Vladimir Putin has used the term “draw” regarding the Northern Territories issue. Please tell us once again how you evaluate this President Putin’s stance and what you expect?

Minister Kishida: Through four summit meetings last year, the entire Japan-Russia relationship was reinforced. At the same time, the two leaders were able to confirm the future direction of the Northern Territories issue. This confirmation of the two leaders’ will to steadily address the issues of the Northern Territories and the conclusion of a peace treaty would give fresh impetus to talks between Foreign Ministers as well as at the working level. I do hope to diligently continue our talks on various levels.

Foreign Minister’s visit to the U.S.

Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun: I assume that the actual dates of President Obama’s visit to Japan will be discussed during the upcoming Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. What is your stance on engaging in the Meeting?

Minister Kishida: It is true that Prime Minister Abe has invited President Obama to Japan. However, in the current situation, I am not aware that any concrete schedules have been set. I will not comment further at this stage, for now nothing is set, though that topic may come out during the Meeting.

Sochi Olympics

Yamazaki, Fuji TV: The Sochi Olympics are about to celebrate the Opening Ceremony and some events have already started. Please tell us your expectations of Japanese Olympians.

Minister Kishida: It is pointed out that Japan has become energetic in economic and other areas since last year. I consider performances of Japanese Olympians at the sport festival vital and meaningful so as to reinvigorate Japanese people’s spirits. I sincerely express my best of luck to them.

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