Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 7:47 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Grant Aid for Jordan, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: On March 10, the Government of Japan decided to extend grant aid totaling 2 billion yen to Jordan, and in addition, grant aid totaling 1.75 billion yen to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
The aid for Jordan materializes the expansion in humanitarian aid to the Middle East that the Prime Minister announced in January. This aid is to reduce the burden on the Government of Jordan that has increased following its acceptance of a large number of Syrian refugees, and it will be used to procure medical equipment made in Japan and other items.
The deterioration of the economic and fiscal conditions in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has become increasingly serious since the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease last year. The aid is for these three countries to procure the necessary resources and equipment so that they can advance measures for economic and social development.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments at joint press conference, and the Ukraine situation
Arita, Nippon TV: During the meeting between Prime Minister Abe and German Chancellor Merkel, it is said that Chancellor Merkel talked about Germany’s example of reconciliation with its neighboring countries following World War II. What is your recognition and evaluation of Japan’s post-war reconciliation with neighboring countries?
Another question I have relates to an agreement that was reached to hold regular discussions on the situation in Ukraine between the foreign affairs authorities of Japan and Germany. Could you explain what is envisaged precisely, in terms of what level these discussions will be held at, for example, and how frequently?
Minister Kishida: I am aware that at yesterday’s press conference, in the context of explaining Germany’s experiences and while noting that she was not attempting to send Japan a hint of some kind, Chancellor Merkel explained the idea that part of Germany’s post-war reconciliation involved Germany itself overcoming its own past.
At the same time, she also emphasized the importance of a concessionary stance by neighboring countries, and said that “France made concessions to Germany after World War II.” Comments such as that were made, I understand. The experiences of Japan and Germany differ in regards to what happened during the last World War, the circumstances under which they engaged in dealing with the war after it ended, and the countries that are their neighbors, and so I do not think it is appropriate to make a simple comparison of the two countries. Moreover, in Europe, in addition to Germany’s own effort, based on the grand political goal of integration, Europe overall moved ahead with creating a community, and reconciliation progressed also. I would like to express Japan’s respect for that. And regarding your question about Japan’s own response, the recognition that Japan caused great damage and pain to a relatively large number of countries, and particularly to people in Asian countries, is the same for the Abe Cabinet and for previous cabinets. The Abe Cabinet has repeatedly stated that it will uphold the position on the recognition of history outlined by the previous cabinets in its entirety.
Regarding Ukraine, I want to firmly work on the specific framework and initiatives from here forward. In any event, where Japan and Germany are concerned, in light of Germany’s presence within the EU and international community, I recognize that communication between the two countries, Japan and Germany, is very important. Certainly I think that we must think about a suitable communication framework for this Japan-Germany relationship.
Planned visit of former Prime Minister Hatoyama to Crimea
Arita, Nippon TV: Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has gone to Russia and has again announced his intention to visit Crimea. What is your reaction to this and what can the Government of Japan do at the current stage?
Minister Kishida: I think it would be very regrettable if former Prime Minister Hatoyama visits Crimea, as this would not be compatible with the Government of Japan's position of absolutely not recognizing the unilateral annexation of Crimea by Russia. I think that we must continue to work on to former Prime Minister Hatoyama on this matter.
Arita and Nippon TV: Are you simply aware of the relevant facts?
Minister Kishida: I am aware that former Prime Minister Hatoyama has left for Russia. We will continue to work on to him.