Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 10:50 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan-India Summit Meeting
Kurihara, NHK: My question concerns the Japan-India discussions held yesterday. The holding of the Japan-India 2+2 dialogue that the Government of Japan had initially been aiming for has been put off, and I would like to ask your reaction to that, and also, what sort of Japan-India relationship are you aiming for in the future? Could I ask for your thoughts and views on that?
Minister Kishida: Firstly, India shares fundamental values with Japan, including liberal democracy, and I recognize that Japan and India are two major democracies in Asia. And in regard to various fields such as economy, India is a very important country to Japan. I recognize that India is an important country that Japan must also solidly strengthen its Strategic and Global Partnership with from here forward.
This time Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan, and he selected Japan as his first country to visit, outside India’s neighboring countries. From that, I perceive that Prime Minister Modi and the Indian side are placing an emphasis on relations with Japan. As Minister responsible for diplomacy I also intend to advance those relations with India.
In your question you pointed out that the 2+2 dialogue has been put off. However, both sides agreed on strengthening bilateral relations in various fields, beginning with the economy, and in the security field also a memorandum of cooperation in the field of defense was signed, and Prime Minister Modi himself stated that cooperation in the security field was an accomplishment.
Within that, concerning your point regarding the 2+2, currently vice-ministerial-level 2+2 dialogues are being held between Japan and India. From the Indian perspective, although Japan is holding ministerial-level 2+2 dialogues with various countries, India is currently not holding any ministerial-level 2+2 dialogues. India is holding vice-ministerial-level 2+2 dialogues only with Japan. That is the reality.
The extreme importance of those vice-ministerial-level 2+2 dialogues that are being held only with Japan was confirmed this time, and measures for further intensifying them will be explored. Both agreed on these points, and in the security field, this so-called 2+2 framework between Japan and India was valued and confirmed to move forward. This should be seen as significant progress, I think.
In this way, via the recent Summit Meeting and other events, both parties confirmed the importance of bilateral relations in various fields and agreed to advance further. I recognize that very important exchanges took place between the two countries, including at the Summit Meeting, toward advancing the Strategic and Global Partnership.
Saito, Kyodo Press: I’d like to ask about Japan-China relations. I think that it has been nearly 20 days since you held a meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Myanmar. Based on the subsequent informal foreign-ministers’ meeting, is the environment being prepared for a high level dialogue between Japan and China, for example, at the level of foreign ministers or heads of state? Also, what is the response of China at the current time? I would like to hear your feelings on this matter.
Minister Kishida: I feel that I was able to have a frank exchange of opinions with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Myanmar. As I said at that time, I hope that a dialogue between foreign ministers will lead to an improvement in Japan-China relations. Based on this belief, I consider that we must think about how to develop our two countries’ relations.
We are currently accumulating communication with China on a number of levels, including on the working level. While continuing with this communication on various levels, I want it to result in communication at the high political levels. I will continue to work hard.
Saito, Kyodo Press: I have a follow-up question about Japan-China relations. Recently China has been advocating the concept of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a new international financial institution. According to reports from China, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently visiting Japan, has also indicated his intention to participate in the AIIB.
How does Japan view China’s AIIB concept? And will there be room for its participation in the future? I would like to ask your opinion on these points.
Minister Kishida: You are asking about the AIIB concept. For Japan, the first point is whether there will be added value from creating a new international institution in addition to the existing international development financial institutions, such as the ADB. The next point is whether an institution for which one country has an extremely large shareholding can achieve fair governance worthy of being called an international institution. Another point is whether it will ensure that it does not damage other creditors by providing lending that disregards debt sustainability.
I think a careful consideration, including for these points, is needed. This is Japan’s position and thinking on the AIIB concept.
Japan-India Summit Meeting
Ichinose, Kyodo News: At the Summit Meeting yesterday discussions on the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy were held in a separate small meeting, and I understand that in that meeting it was confirmed that significant progress has been made over the last few months, and that the pace of the discussions will be picked up. The nuclear energy agreement has been under discussion for some time and while significant progress may have been made, a conclusion is yet to be reached. I would like to ask what the prospects are for concluding the agreement, in terms of what the outlook is in the future and what sort of progress there will be and by when, and while I assume the small meeting was held because the topic is quite sensitive, I would like to ask what areas significant progress has been seen in.
Minister Kishida: Up to now discussions on the nuclear energy agreement with India have taken place as working-level discussions and so on. And the status of the discussions thus far and the views exchanged in the recent Summit Meeting and so on are as stated at Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Modi’s joint press conference yesterday. Regarding the outlook in the future, as was also stated in yesterday’s joint press conference, instructions were made to accelerate the discussions. We hope to continue discussions energetically.
However, as discussion involves another party, it must be done carefully. At the present point in time I think I should refrain from making specific forecasts, such as when the agreement will be concluded.
Kamide, Freelance: I believe the reason this is a sensitive issue is probably because India is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Nuclear power plants lead to the production of plutonium, and in various ways that is indeed a sensitive issue. Where this is concerned, to what extent does the Government of Japan have standards to manage those sorts of issues? As you know various situations exist, including India’s relationship with Pakistan, and a peace which creates a basis such as this, in some ways contradicts your regular advocacy concerning the nuclear issue. Could I ask you to explain these matters, such as the surrounding standards on what will be permitted? This may be difficult, but if you could, please?
Minister Kishida: Where India is concerned, the Government of Japan has repeatedly conveyed to the Indian side that Japan is the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in war and places a great deal of importance on nuclear non-proliferation and strict controls, and that it places emphasis on the NPT framework.
I believe that this fundamental standpoint and way of thinking of Japan is something that we can have the Indian side to understand. I believe that concrete discussions must move forward once this fundamental way of thinking has been solidly understood, and it is based on that belief that the discussions have been continuing.
I intend to proceed with the discussions while adhering closely to this fundamental standpoint.
Outcome of Kishida Diplomacy
Nakagawa, Yomiuri Shimbun: It is Tuesday today and usually your next press conference following a Cabinet meeting will be on Friday. Therefore, this is the last regular press conference before the inauguration of a new Abe Cabinet.
You have served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs for one year and eight months since the inauguration of the second Abe Cabinet. Could you tell us about any memorable events or results of your job if any?
Minister Kishida: Since I was appointed the Minister for Foreign Affairs in December 2012, I have engaged in diplomacy with the importance of emphasizing dialogues and building a relationship of trust in mind over the past one year and eight months.
I have travelled the distance of circling the Earth 13.4 times to visit 33 countries and territories to meet ministers of 77 countries and territories. I have worked to expand such a network and to increase the presence of Japan.
As a result, in terms of the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance, for example, I have talked with Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, 20 times, including teleconference. Moreover, I also advanced economic diplomacy for the promotion of Abenomics.
In addition, I also think I can list up specific progress of the proactive contribution to peace as part of the results. A personally memorable event was hosting the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) Ministerial Meeting in Hiroshima, which I chaired, in April this year.
That was the eighth NPDI Ministerial Meeting and was the first-ever meeting hosted in Japan, particularly in a city hit by atomic bomb, which concluded in the release of the Hiroshima Declaration.
It was a very impressive event in terms of strengthening the efforts to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. I think that is all I can recall now.
Japan-North Korea relations
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Some media reported that Mr. Junichi Ihara, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, held a meeting with a top senior official of the State Security Department of North Korea. Could you tell us facts about this report?
Minister Kishida: There are various reports but I refrain from making comments on each and every one of such reports. Concerning the relationship with North Korea, the first report is scheduled to be made from the Special Investigation Committee that was just established. I would like to cautiously assess the first report and progress of investigation by North Korea.