Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 10:39 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Japan-Republic of Korea relations
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Republic of Korea President Ms. Park Geun-hye mentioned regarding a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting that a change in the Japanese side’s attitude will be important. To start with, what is your candid view on this?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: As for Japan, The Abe Cabinet upholds the position on the recognition of history outlined by the previous administrations in its entirety. I have spoken about this matter repeatedly in the Diet and elsewhere, and I have also conveyed this to the ROK side. Where ROK-related issues including the comfort women issue are concerned, the Government of Japan has made the utmost effort thus far.
The relationship between Japan and the ROK is a relationship of important neighbors. Japan considers the ROK as its most important neighbor. I by all means intend to engage in promoting a future-oriented bilateral relationship, from a broad perspective.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: So does that mean it will be difficult for the Japanese side to propose new measures concerning the comfort women issue, as is hoped for by the ROK side?
Minister Kishida: Where the comfort women issue is concerned, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also repeatedly expressed that he is deeply pained to think of those who experienced immeasurable pain and suffering. Prime Minister Abe shares the feeling equally with the previous Prime Ministers.
In the past there were many wars, in which the human rights of women were violated. Japan believes strongly that the 21st Century must become a century without such human rights violations, and intends to engage based on such a view.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: As this year marks the 50th year of the normalization of diplomatic relations, this is a milestone year for the Japan-ROK relationship, and within that, June 22 is a key date in particular. Do you think it will be necessary to hold a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting by then?
Minister Kishida: We recognize that Japan-ROK Summit Meetings, an opportunity for dialogue between the two countries’ political leaders, are very important. Presently no schedule has been decided, but we have always pointed out the importance of dialogue, by keeping the door for dialogue always open. I believe we must attach importance to such communication.
Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: The ROK is also serving as the Japan-China-ROK chair country. What is the state of coordination toward a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?
Minister Kishida: Japan has always emphasized that Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and Summit Meetings are important from the perspective of advancing a trilateral relationship in a future-oriented manner. The chair country ROK is coordinating a schedule, but at present I have not been notified that the schedule is settled. Certainly, I strongly hope to have the schedule coordination moved ahead energetically.