Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 9:20 a.m. Prime Minister’s Office

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

Japan-ROK relations

Watanabe, NHK: It has been one year since ROK President Park Geun-hye took office. Looking back on the past year as well as Japan-ROK relations and ROK’s policy on Japan during that time, please tell us what you would like to do going forward?

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Needless to say, Japan-ROK relations are our important ties of neighbors. Our relations’ stability leads to the peace and stability of the region and international community, and so our relationship is essential. Based on these ideas, as for our bilateral ties, of course including exchanges on private levels and among lawmakers, we have continued to make efforts to further build various working-level cooperative relations between the two Governments in the hope of achieving high-level bilateral political dialogue. However, it is regretful that our Governments have not been able to realize to this date any top-level talks or summit meetings. In light of the important bilateral relationship, I will continue to work hard with perseverance.

Watanabe, NHK: Do you have any ideas regarding ROK’s stance on Japan? What position would you like them to take?

Minister Kishida: I consider communication and dialogue specifically important. I regard high-level political dialogue vital while communication at various levels is also important. It is a fact that we have individual issues and we are in a difficult situation. That is why steady communication through dialogue between the two national leaders is all the more important. I hope the ROK will accept such a view.

Imoto, TBS: I understand that you would like to work hard toward a Foreign Ministers’ meeting and that the current situation is they would not respond even though we say that the door for dialogue is open. What are your specific efforts toward a Foreign Ministers’ meeting?

Minister Kishida: I believe that MOFA, and further the Government as a whole, as well as myself, must stress the importance of such dialogue while preparing the environment. For that purpose, it is important to build up a range of further cooperative relations at the working level, and with that in mind, we are working hard. I believe we must tenaciously continue such efforts.

Imoto, TBS: As for specific schedules, by when do you hope to have a Foreign Ministers’ meeting?

Minister Kishida: For now, no concrete schedules have been set, but I believe deciding them is a result of continued efforts. I intend to continue our efforts going forward.

Japan-China-ROK trilateral FTA negotiations

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Regarding Japan-China-ROK trilateral negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), there are some reports that negotiations will resume next month. What do you think about such a move?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that discussion on the Japan-China-ROK trilateral FTA is ongoing. My view is that necessary dates will be determined after thorough discussion on the content of the FTA.

Arms Trade Treaty

Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: I have a question on the Arms Trade Treaty among the treaties and agreements decided in the Cabinet today. Japan played the leading role in adopting the treaty. As such, my first question is on Japan’s efforts so far and the significance of the Treaty. In addition, while prospects for ratification by the U.S., China and Russia are unclear, please tell us about your thoughts and how Japan will address that.

Minister Kishida: With respect to the treaty you pointed out, I recognize it as highly significant, because it includes such contents as setting the standard for the international trade of conventional arms and preventing unauthorized arms trade. To this date, the Government of Japan has played the leading role in the conclusion of the treaty. Japan intends to continue to play that role in the future. Besides, as you pointed out, signing and conclusion by a large number of countries are required for the treaty to come into force. Japan will sign it and will work hard to obtain a Diet approval after the Cabinet decision today. Japan needs to steadily advance such procedures. At the same time, I believe, in light of the fact that Japan has played the leading role up to today, Japan is required, for its stance, to make approaches to relevant countries to accelerate such procedures.

Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: What do you think about the current situation in which the outlook is unclear in major arms exporters, namely the U.S., China and Russia?

Minister Kishida: Each country has its own situation now. However, I have a sense that more understanding of the significance of the treaty has been gained in the international community. In this context, I intend to continue our approaches to relevant countries so that they follow necessary procedures in stages.

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