Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 10:19 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Japan-North Korea government-level consultations

Hashizume, TV Tokyo: Discussions between Japan and North Korea will be held today. What sort of approach will Japan adopt?

Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida: Today’s Japan-North Korea government-level consultations will be held in order to follow-up a recent agreement between Japan and North Korea. Japan is scheduled to receive an explanation from the North Korean side regarding the organization, composition and person in charge of the Special Investigation Committee that North Korea has agreed to establish.
To begin with the Government of Japan will listen carefully to the explanation. We think that it will be important for the Special Investigation Committee to be fully authorized to carry out an investigation covering all organizations, and to commence a thorough investigation.
The Government by all means intends to listen carefully to the explanation from the North Korean side, and examine the details of that explanation.

Meeting between Director-General Junichi Ihara and Special Representative Wu Dawei

Hashizume, TV Tokyo: Yesterday a meeting was held with Special Representative Wu Dawei, but what sort of discussion was there between Japan and China?

Minister Kishida: On June 30, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Junichi Ihara, who is visiting Beijing for the Japan-North Korea government-level consultations, held a meeting with Wu Dawei, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Korean Peninsula Affairs. Regarding the content of that meeting, I would like to refrain from commenting on the diplomatic exchanges and the details.
We are conscious of the importance of communication at various levels with Chinese side about the North Korea issue.
China obviously has a deep historical relationship with North Korea, and it acts as the chair-country of the Six-Party Talks and is also a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We are aware that China plays an important role in the North Korea issue.

Right of collective self-defense

Muramatsu, Asahi Shimbun: As early as this afternoon, a Cabinet decision, which enables the government to exercise the right of collective self-defense is scheduled to be made. For 60 years after the war, the Liberal Democratic Party has consistently interpreted the Constitution that the government cannot exercise the right of collective self-defense, but as a result of a change in the interpretation of the Constitution by the Cabinet, it will become possible to exercise the right of collective self-defense. What are your thoughts on this process?

Minister Kishida: Recently discussion has been taking place from the perspective of what the legal basis for national security should be in order to protect citizens’ livelihood and their lives. And today an agreement was reached in ruling party discussions, and I am aware that each party will move their own procedures forward. I would like to express my respect for their efforts.
As far as the process is concerned, I understand that in order to fulfill the Government’s important responsibility of protecting citizens’ livelihood and their lives, various discussions have been carried out from the perspective of what response should be taken. And based on that, the process will move forward.
I expect that it will produce an outcome, in order to achieve this major goal and to fulfil the Government’s responsibility.

Watanabe, NHK: In this case, for the current discussions on the right of collective self-defense, when we look at the various opinion polls then we can see that there are still people who feel the explanation provided is insufficient and who are not satisfied, but even so there are aspects that it is being pushed forward by a Cabinet. After a decision by the Cabinet, as the Minister can you tell us your thinking on what efforts will be needed in the future to further achieve this major goal?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that the various respective procedures will be advanced and completed within the ruling parties, and if necessary, the Cabinet will make a decision. I think discussions will continue to take place in the Diet. Therefore above all, through the discussions on the legal basis for Japan’s national security, we must create and approve the various laws that are needed to materialize it. I think that from now onwards, whenever necessary discussions will be held in the Diet on a variety of laws. Within these discussions, we must specifically be fully accountable to the general public, and also that within the work we are carrying out for this issue, we must continue to strive to obtain the understanding of many of Japanese citizens through holding thorough discussions.

Miyasaka, Nikkei Shimbun: As the Minister for Foreign Affairs, what kind of explanations about these processes or discussions will you provide to other countries, such as the United States or neighboring countries?

Minister Kishida: Up to the present, we have been holding discussions based on our nation’s approach of proactive contribution to peace and also from the perspective of what legal basis for national security we need to create in order to protect citizens’ livelihood and their lives.
Going forward, we have been explaining this approach and our position at bilateral meetings, such as at the various foreign ministers’ meetings, and also at international conferences. We have already obtained the understanding and support of many countries for our approach. We will continue to obtain further understanding of international society.
We would like to thoroughly explain how the discussions are taking place in Japan. At the same time, we also would like to continue to respectfully explain our basic position in which our country’s course taken as a peace-loving nation will not change at all.

Japan-China Director-General Level Consultations

Watanabe, NHK: Today, Junichi Ihara, Director-General of Japan's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, is scheduled to meet his Chinese counterpart. What specifically are they planning to discuss?

Minister Kishida: Today, July 1, Director General Ihara is schedule to visit Beijing for Japan-North Korea government-level consultations. I understand that his itinerary other than these Japan-North Korea consultations is yet to be finalized.