Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 13, 2015, 8:36 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

Announcement of Official Development Assistance (ODA) White Paper 2014

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have reported the announcement of “Official Development Assistance (ODA) White Paper 2014” in the Cabinet Meeting today.

In this year’s White Paper, results of Japan’s ODA which marks the 60th anniversary and future policies are addressed in its special features section to look back at ODA that Japan has provided so far and focus on development assistance that Japan should aim for in the future under the new Development Assistance Charter.

I expect that Japanese people’s’ interests and understanding of the ODA will be further deepened and more support will be gained from them through the White Paper.

Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): Participation of U.K. into Negotiations for Agreement

Arita, Nippon TV: The United Kingdom expressed its intention to participate in the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. While the Government of Japan has taken cautious approaches to it, how does the government consider the current condition and does the government have any intention to participate in the bank?

Minister Kishida: First of all, I am aware that the U.K. said that it would participate in the negotiations for the establishment agreement of the AIIB and request high standards in the negotiations. I think Japan is not in a position to comment on a third country’s position.

Concerning the stance of Japan, as the Government of Japan has already stated clearly, we consider that careful consideration and discussion are necessary for the AIIB, such as whether or not fair governance can be achieved and whether it will ensure that it does not damage other creditors by providing a loan that disregards debt sustainability. Therefore, the Government of Japan takes cautious approaches to t its participation into the AIIB. That is the stance of the Government of Japan.

Extension of Sanctions against North Korea

Arita, Nippon TV: My second question is on the extension of Japan’s independent sanctions against North Korea. I would like to know the grounds and reasons for negotiations on the extension of sanctions. There are opinions demanding reintroduction of sanctions against North Korea. What do you think about it? Also, could you tell us about the current condition of Japan-North Korea negotiations?

Minister Kishida: Current measures that ban export and import to/from North Korea and ban the entry of all the North Korean vessels into Japanese ports will run out in April this year. Concerning our response to them, discussions are still being made among concerned parties and therefore I will refrain from predicting anything at this point in time. We will take various conditions comprehensively into account to make a decision. Then, we will continue our consideration on our response against North Korea from a viewpoint of what kind of response is most effective to generate positive actions from North Korea.

Regarding the Japan-North Korea negotiations, nothing specific has been determined yet. We will continue to request the North Korean side to swiftly and honestly notify us of a report by the Special Investigation Committee.

Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Arita, Nippon TV: Do you have any news about the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?

Minister Kishida: Regarding the relationship between Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, a Senior Foreign Affairs Officials’ Consultation was held on March 11. Regarding the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we are still coordinating so that the meeting would be held in late March. That is all for now.

Remarks by Dr. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: You stated the other day that Japan cannot simply be compared with Germany. Do you mean you cannot agree with Federal Chancellor Merkel’s statement that the precondition of reconciliation is to face the past squarely? Please let us know your ideas on this issue.

Minister Kishida: I remember that Federal Chancellor Merkel stressed the importance of willingness to make concessions by the neighboring countries in her statement, as she stated, “France was prepared to make concessions with Germany after World War II.” Thus, since there are differences in processes such as what happened during the World War II in Japan and Germany, under what condition the two countries coped with the aftermath of the war, and what neighboring countries the two countries respectively have, it is not appropriate to simply compare Japan with Germany. That is what I meant.

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: Do you mean the Chinese side needs to make concessions more?

Minister Kishida: No, as I have just stated, I meant that it is not appropriate to simply compare the two countries.

Response to the “Austria pledge” document released at the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons

Fujimura, Chunichi Shimbun: I would like to ask about the document on the banning of nuclear weapons that Austria is seeking approval for. There were some reports that in response to a request from the United States, the Government of Japan decided not to approve it. I would like to confirm the facts related to the report. Was there such a request from the U.S. to Japan? Has the Government of Japan decided not to approve it?

Minister Kishida: Concerning the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and disarmament, the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT Review Conference), which is convened once every five years, is scheduled to be held this year. Austria is making efforts to contribute to this conference by submitting a document. Japan is also making contributions such as already submitting 18 documents within the framework of the NPDI as part of its efforts for the success of the NPT Review Conference. Each country is making efforts for the success of the NPT Review Conference. The Government of Japan will cooperate with many countries including Austria for the success of the conference and advancement toward a world without nuclear weapons.

Fujimura, Chunichi Shimbun: Did the U.S. make the request?

Minister Kishida: Everyone is making efforts and there are various actions.

Japan-ROK Eminent Persons Group

Nakagawa, Yomiuri Shimbun: According to a report from the Republic of Korea, former prime ministers and former high-ranking Government officials of the ROK are discussing a conference called the Japan-ROK Senate’s conference to begin their efforts to develop Japan-ROK relations which have been cooled down currently. What do you think about this as the Foreign Minister of Japan?

Minister Kishida: There are various types of communication between Japan and the ROK in various levels and I think the accumulation of such efforts is very meaningful. I expect that the conference you pointed out will play a great role in the communication between the two countries.

Nakagawa, Yomiuri Shimbun: Do you have any expectations toward the conference that it would lead to summit meetings?

Minister Kishida: I have already answered that question. It is important to increase communication in various levels.