Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 8:35 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Politics and money issue

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: According to reports from some news agencies, suspicions have once again surfaced about the Prime Minister and the Democratic Party’s Katsuya Okada in connection with politics and money. What is your candid view of this situation?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I am aware of the reports. I am not fully aware of the contents of those reports respectively, and I think those two themselves will each fulfill their accountability.

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: These suspicions have been going on for some time. How do you feel about this current situation?

Minister Kishida: Again, I believe each politician should properly deal with the issue of political funds and that of politics and money, administer it in line with the laws, and fulfill their accountability.

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: I would like to ask, just to be sure, do you yourself believe there are no suspicions about politics and money relating to you, personally?

Minister Kishida: Yes. I believe I deal with these matters according to the laws.

Report on the holding of a Japan-China-ROK trilateral vice-ministers’ level meeting

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: This questions concerns Japan, China and the Republic of Korea. What stage is the coordination for a foreign ministers’ meeting at, and what stage is coordination for the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) that is the precursor to that at, including whether or not the SOM will be held, and the schedule and so on?

Minister Kishida: To begin with, currently schedule has not been decided for a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Japan has always put importance on the framework for dialogue between Japan, China and the ROK, and so hopes strongly that coordination will move ahead, centering on the chair country ROK, and that the schedule will be confirmed.

And regarding the SOM you mentioned, I have heard that coordination for the process leading up to a foreign ministers’ meeting is currently underway.

Deadline for reporting the findings of the investigation into the abductions

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: This question concerns Japan-North Korea relations. Next month is the time limit of Japan’s independent sanctions against North Korea. As a preceding step, a factor for determining whether or not the time limit is extended is the interim report, which I understand has not been received from North Korea yet. Will it be possible to use it as a factor for making the decision? And if it can be used as a deciding factor, the deadline for an extension is just over one month away, so will the North Korean side be asked to present the interim report during that period of just over a month? Could you comment on these issues, please?

Minister Kishida: No schedule has been decided regarding future exchanges with North Korea. I intend to continue to urge North Korea to report the findings of the investigation by the Special Investigation Committee honestly and promptly. I believe North Korea should make a report early.

Yamaguchi, TV Tokyo: Will the interim report be a factor when deciding whether or not to extend the independent sanctions?

Minister Kishida: First, I intend to continue firmly requesting a report. Discussion about extending the sanction measures will take place next month, and I expect that an extension will be considered based on a comprehensive decision of the circumstances up to that time.

Makita, Kyodo Press: Regarding Japan-North Korea talks, the first report is taking a long time to appear, but from the start there was a deadline for the report of one year, supposedly. Could you comment on whether this is a definite commitment, and whether or not it is clear?

Minister Kishida: I understand that there was mention of one year by the parties concerned, but currently, Japan is continuing to ask for the report to be made honestly and promptly, as quickly as possible. I certainly intend to seek a response from the North Korean side.