Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 6, 2015, 8:33 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening remarks

The Second Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Second Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled to be held in Tokyo on Friday, March 13. The meeting is scheduled to be attended on the Japanese side by Minister of Defense Nakatani and myself and on the French side by Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, and Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defense.

In order for Japan to advance its policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace,” France is an important partner. At this meeting we intend to discuss both countries’ security environments, and policies for strengthening the two countries’ security and defense cooperation, including counter-terrorism measures. I hope to further strengthen the “exceptional partnership” between Japan and France.

On the following day, Saturday March 14, I will hold the Fifth Japan-France Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue in Sendai with Minister Fabius, who will attend the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Reduction. I intend to discuss issues facing the international community, including disaster prevention and climate change, and deepen cooperation between Japan and France.

Injury suffered by Mr. Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea

Kurihara, NHK: The relationship between the U.S. and the ROK appears to be souring, because there was an incident in which U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Lippert was attacked by a man. Although this is an issue of U.S.-ROK relations, how do you think it will affect the relationship between Japan and the ROK and the relationship between Japan and the U.S.? Additionally, in terms of the diplomatic position Japan should adopt, what position do you intend to take?

Minister Kishida: First of all, in regards to the incident in which Ambassador Lippert was attacked by an assailant and injured, such actions cannot be tolerated. I strongly condemn it. I also intend to offer my sympathies to Ambassador Lippert and pray for his speedy recovery.

I expect a rigorous investigation will be carried out in the ROK, including the background to the incident. I would like to refrain from commenting further, from my position.

Kurihara, NHK: The Japan-U.S.-ROK framework is a framework to which the Government of Japan has always attached importance. Will this framework be affected?

Minister Kishida: As I said earlier, regarding this incident I expect that a rigorous investigation will be carried out in the ROK from here on. I would like to refrain from commenting further. It goes without saying that the relationship between Japan, the U.S. and the ROK is important.

Convening of China’s National People’s Congress: Announcement of the National Defense Expenditure

Kurihara, NHK: The National People’s Congress is underway in China, and my question concerns the national defense expenditure, which continues to grow at a high rate, a more than 10% increase compared to last year. How do you view this growth in China’s national defense expenditure?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that the Government of China has made such an announcement. Regarding the national defense expenditure, it has been growing at an approximately double-digit rate for 27 years in succession, and is a figure that is 3.6 times larger than Japan’s defense-related spending. I intend to keep a close eye on future developments while bearing these points in mind.

In any case, I believe it is to be desired that China’s defense policy including its national defense expenditure or its military capability increase transparency. The Government of Japan certainly intends to work on China to improve transparency.

Former Prime Minister Hatoyama’s Plan to Visit Crimea

Kurihara, NHK: There were some reports that former Prime Minister Hatoyama is considering visiting Ukraine’s Crimea region. How does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs view it, and what will the Ministry’s response be?

Minister Kishida: If former Prime Minister Hatoyama visits Crimea, I think it would be regrettable because it will be incompatible with the Government of Japan’s position that it absolutely does not accept Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea. The Government is working on former Prime Minister Hatoyama not to visit Crimea.

Kurihara, NHK: Is the Government working on based on the assumption that former Prime Minister Hatoyama will go?

Minister Kishida: We received information about the possibility of this visit on March 5, and the Director of MOFA’s Russian Division made a strong request immediately via former Prime Minister Hatoyama’s secretary to reconsider the former Prime Minister’s plan to visit Crimea.

UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction

Kurihara, NHK: The UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction will be held at the end of next week. I hear leaders and foreign ministers from more than 100 countries will join the conference. I think many bilateral meetings and multilateral meetings will be held there. What does the Government of Japan intend to appeal to the international arena?

Minister Kishida: Regarding the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction scheduled to be held in Sendai, it will be a large-scale conference with an expected attendance of between 30,000 to 40,000 from both Japan and abroad, with the participation of many leaders and ministers.

I think we need to proceed development of a new international framework concerning disaster reduction in this conference. Moreover, it is also expected that the conference will enhance movements that mainstream the disaster reduction in various discussions at the United Nations and also in the field of development.

In addition, the Government of Japan would like to lead the discussion at the conference by utilizing our various experiences and knowledge in the field of disaster reduction.

Former Prime Minister Hatoyama’s Plan to Visit Crimea

Matsumoto, Jiji Press: In terms of the request to Former Prime Minister Hatoyama, how did Mr. Hatoyama respond or reply?

Minister Kishida: I received information that such a request has been made, but I have not received anything concerning a specific response to the request.

The Senkaku Islands

Nanjo, Sankei Shimbun: It was reported that in the joint conference of departments of foreign affairs and economy of the Liberal Democratic Party held yesterday, a map published in China in 1969 showing that the Senkaku Islands are Japanese territory seemed to be copied by MOFA to publish it on the website and others. I would like to know when you plan to publish it.

Minister Kishida: Concerning the map you mentioned, it was also presented at the budget committee the other day. We are planning to stage strategic dialogues and transmission of information through utilization of various materials like this.

However, I do not know when it will be published as for now.

Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Nakagawa, Yomiuri Shimbun: Could you let us know how coordination of schedules for the Japan-China-ROK trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting are being made?

Minister Kishida: Concerning the Japan-China-ROK foreign ministers’ meeting, we are still coordinating, the meeting would be held by late March.

The Second Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting

Makita, Kyodo Press: My question is related to the Japan-France 2+2 meeting that you have mentioned at the beginning and a bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France. What does the Government of Japan plan to discuss in these meetings in particular?

Minister Kishida: Needless to say, we will deepen our discussion on the bilateral relations between Japan and France. Moreover, I think it is important to share recognition on international situations.

In addition, I learned that Foreign Minister Fabius will attend the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction as a chairperson of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). Therefore, I assume that we will exchange opinions on issues such as environment or disaster reduction.

Anyway, since it is also a matter of the French side, we cannot predict what we will discuss. I think there are many issues to discuss between Japan and France, an important bilateral relationship.

The Third UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction

Suzuki, Mainichi Shimbun: Can I ask you one more question? Concerning the bilateral meetings at the conference on disaster reduction, you have just mentioned the Japan-France foreign ministers’ meeting. How are coordination for scheduled summit meetings or foreign ministers’ meetings other than the one between Japan and France being made?

Minister Kishida: Since many leaders, foreign ministers and other ministers on the level of deputy-prime minister will participate in the conference, both Prime Minister Abe and I expect that we should vigorously hold bilateral meetings. However, since participants from many countries are expected and schedules have not been fixed sufficiently, we are currently coordinating for specific meetings.