Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Friday, February 28, 2014, 8:08 a.m. Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) 2nd Ministerial Meeting of CEAPAD

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida:

I will participate in the 2nd ministerial meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD) as a co-chair, which will be held in Jakarta on March 1, tomorrow.

Peace negotiations for the Middle East come to a climax. Under the principle of “proactive contribution to peace,” we will support the realization of peace in the Middle East through the measure such as CEAPAD that will mobilize Asian countries for assistance to the Palestine under Japan’s leadership. I intend to pledge a new assistance at the Conference.

In addition, taking this opportunity, I will have meetings with Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Rami Hamdallah and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and others.

(2) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Visit to Japan

Minister Kishida: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Japan from March 5th and we will hold a Japan-Iran Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

The Government of Japan has been approaching Iran on its nuclear issue, while discussing with EU 3+3 countries. I have been to Iran to discuss as well. I consider the negotiation will enter the important phase from now onwards. We would like to make contribution through appealing to Iran and playing certain role in reaching a final agreement and its implementation.

Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks

Yamazaki, Fuji TV: It was announced yesterday that the Japanese Red Cross and the North Korean Red Cross will have a meeting from 3rd March, in Shenyang. As delegates from the Government of Japan will attend it, please tell us your opinion frankly, as well as your expectation and outlook.

Minister Kishida: As for the talks between the Japanese Red Cross and the North Korean Red Cross that you have pointed out, I am aware that this meeting was realized by North Korea Red Cross’s call to discuss humanitarian issues such as the issue of the human remains of the Japanese who were left in North Korea after the war, and the issue of visits to graves.

I regard both issues, the human remains and visits to graves, as human rights related issue left after the war. I would like to take this kind of talks positively.

Yamazaki, Fuji TV: During Red Cross Talks in the past, some cases led to inter-governmental negotiations. What is your view on the expectations and outlook of inter-governmental negotiations?

Minister Kishida: I heard that as government officials from North Korea will attend this time, a director in charge from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also participate from the Japanese side. However, at this stage, nothing beyond it has been decided.

The Launch of Missiles by DPRK

Yamazaki, Fuji TV: Regarding the DPRK, South Korea has announced yesterday that North Korea launched four short-range missiles. How do you evaluate the situation?

Minister Kishida: As for such an action taken by DPRK, we have worked for gathering information and are carefully monitoring the development. As for individual matters, I will refrain from providing explanations due to issues involving intelligence. However, I am aware that the current situation has not reached where it will directly influence Japan’s security. When we face such a situation, I intend to try to immediately provide explanations to Japanese citizens.

Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks

Mizuuchi, Sankei Shimbun: As for North Korea, official inter-government dialogue between Japan and the DPRK has not been held since November 2012. What is your recognition of expectations for resuming it while Japan has the abductions issue?

Minister Kishida: Japan has, as in the past, held the same policy. We have fully maintained the policy to approach North Korea under the principle of dialogue and pressure in order to resolve comprehensively nuclear, missile and abduction issues as well as other matters of our concerns. I hope for concrete and positive responses from North Korea, including denuclearization and, at the same time, we must continue to firmly urge them.

Watanabe, NHK: I understand, after the purge of Jang Sung-taek in North Korea, other countries have been paying attention to its moves. In that sense, it has certain meanings that officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and DPRK have contacts this time. How do you evaluate that officials will meet each other in the situation where access to information is limited?

Minister Kishida: As I have just explained, a MOFA director in charge will join the talks this time. It has been decided that this time, Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks will be conducted with the aim of discussing humanitarian issues, and that, because the official in charge from the North Korean side will attend them, MOFA’s counterpart will do as well. Nothing else has been determined for now. I will closely monitor how the talks will turn out, among other matters.

Watanabe, NHK: How do you evaluate such a contact, with rare visits each other?

Minister Kishida: As for such talks to be held, I regard humanitarian issues that will be raised in the talks very important. Accordingly, I would like to take the talks in a positive manner. However, anything beyond has yet to be decided.

Construction of a comfort women memorial park (Adoption of a resolution in the ROK National Assembly)

Kikuchi, Asahi Shimbun: The ROK National Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to create a comfort women memorial park. Does the Government of Japan intend to give some responses? Please tell us your views on that.

Minister Kishida: The Government of Japan has continued to explain our stance on so-called historical issues including comfort women, as well as its hitherto responses to and efforts toward them. We have made every effort to gain ROK’s understanding. As for the resolution and others this time, part of the content contradicts what we have done up to today, including no reference to Japan’s official apologies. I am regretful about it.

Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit

Takagi, Kyodo Press: The prospect of a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit is still unclear. Do you intend to make some concrete actions in order to change the current situation?

Minister Kishida: As you said, nothing has been decided yet on a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. Yet I view that our ties with such countries as China and the ROK are important neighboring relations. We will continue to make efforts to have communications in various specific areas such as working-level cooperation and to realize high-level political dialogue based on those accumulated efforts. We will continue our approaches as such.

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