Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 14, 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) NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Toward the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), I announce that we are arranging the following two with the aim of sharing the vision toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons beyond generations and borders.

First, this time, we will welcome Dr. Marty Natalegawa, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, which is the Chair Country of the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT; Amb. Enrique Roman-Morey, Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 NPT Review Conference; and Ms. Rose Gottemoeller, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. She will be the first participant from the U.S., where President Barack Obama aims at creating a world without nuclear weapons. At the timing when President Obama’s visit to Japan is just around the corner, it is fruitful to have the attendance of a U.S. guest at the NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima, which suffered the devastation of nuclear bombing.

Second, to convey the inhumanity of nuclear weapons beyond generations and borders, we will launch what is tentatively called the Youth Non-Nuclear Exchange Program, gathering young people from NPDI member countries. I intend to deliver my hope for a world without nuclear weapons directly to Foreign Ministers of NPDI members.

Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks

Imoto, TBS: The Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks are announced to be held next week. It is going to be the second time. Please tell us your thought on the talks this time.

Minister Kishida: Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks were held on March 3. It was announced that the next round will be held on March 19 and 20. I am aware that the talks this time will follow up the previous ones, and that humanitarian concerns such as the remains of Japanese nationals left in North Korea after WWII and visits to graves will be discussed. I expect that the meeting will be thoroughly followed up from the humanitarian aspect and produce a successful outcome.

Imoto, TBS: It was reported that a MOFA director participated in the previous talks and conveyed Japan’s all concerns over the issues such as missiles and abductions. I assume that some response will be given this time. What responses, do you think, will lead to a resumption of inter-governmental talks?

Minister Kishida: Government officials joined in the previous talks, and it turned out that we held informal inter-governmental talks—some kind of contact— for the first time in sixteen months. However, nothing has been decided at this point toward future inter-governmental talks. Accordingly, we haven’t had any outlook for further plans as yet. Japan maintains its policy to bring a comprehensive solution to issues of our concern including nuclear, missile and abductions, while urging North Korea to respond in a concrete and serious manner under the principle of dialogue and pressure, and based on the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration. We should deliver this kind of strong message to the North Korean side, taking every possible opportunity.

Visit to the ROK by Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki

Imoto, TBS: In the meantime, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Akitaka Saiki visited the Republic of Korea this week. It is said that he sought for the possibility of holding a Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral summit meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit meeting. What was briefed on his visit? Do you intend to keep seeking the possibility of a summit meeting going forward?

Minister Kishida: This time, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Saiki visited the ROK and held a meeting with the First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong. I am aware that at the meeting they discussed various challenges lying between the two countries as well as the issue of the DPRK and other issues. I was briefed that the meeting had confirmed the importance of Japan-ROK partnership.

Regarding the schedules of the Nuclear Security Summit, for now the attendance of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has not been confirmed. Nothing has been decided at this stage.

Imoto, TBS: Do you hope that trilateral summit meeting will take place if possible?

Minister Kishida: Japan has been insisting that dialogue is all the more important because we are in a difficult situation. We continually express that our door for dialogue is always open. I would welcome such dialogue to be realized at various opportunities. However, currently, nothing concrete has been decided.

NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima

Fujimura, Chugoku Shimbun: As you will chair the NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, please tell us once again about the significance of the Meeting and your ambition.

Minister Kishida: The NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Hiroshima, where people suffered from the devastation of nuclear bombing. First, the meeting is significant in letting foreign ministers and government officials from around the world learn about the reality of the devastation from nuclear bombing and exchange their thoughts. As for the schedule, the meeting is planned shortly before the Final Preparatory Committee, the third one, of the 2015 NPT Review Conference. As I just mentioned, the Committee Chair will attend the NPDI Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, too.

I do hope to achieve results conducive to the Preparatory Committee, and furthermore, the Review Conference. I expect that the Meeting will contribute to generating a large-scale global debate of pursuing a world without nuclear weapons.

Situation in Ukraine

Hashimoto, Hokkaido Shimbun: Concerning the situation in Ukraine, the referendum in Crimea will take place on the 16th. Depending on Russia’s following reaction, I assume that the Government of Japan will need to take new measures. What basic stance will you take?

Minister Kishida: As for the situation in Ukraine, G7 issued joint statements on March 12 following March 3. As Japan is one of the countries releasing the statements, our views on the situation and the referendum are just as shown in the joint statements. As for the referendum, we are closely monitoring the developments. As for Japan’s response, we intend to address appropriately while steadily confirming the domestic situation in Ukraine and other countries’ moves.

Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks

Okamura, Kyodo Press: Regarding the Japan-DPRK issue, inter-governmental talks had been suspended due to the notice of missile launches. Is there any possibility to hold inter-governmental talks even when the DPRK side will not make any compromises on the missile issue?

Minister Kishida: Holding Japan-North Korea Red Cross Talks is the only thing we have decided at this point of time. All that have been determined is that key humanitarian challenges left after the war will be discussed next time on March 19 and 20. Nothing has been determined on inter-governmental contacts for the next time onward. We must hold fast to Japan’s basic policy, and without missing it, we need to consider inter-governmental talks. For that purpose, we believe that the DPRK’s earnest and positive attitude toward the nuclear, missile and abductions issues in concrete terms is called for.