Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 20, 2015, 8:30 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Terrorist Attack in Tunisia
Fujita, Fuji TV: Concerning the shooting incident in Tunisia, the Islamic State (IS), an extremist group, claimed responsibility for the incident. How will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deal with such an international expansion of terrorism?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: First of all, I am aware that the President of the Republic of Tunisia has identified the criminals, suggested that they are Islamic extremists and mentioned Ansar al-Shari'a. I am also aware that the ISIL had claimed its responsibility for the incident.
We are currently collecting information on the background of the incident based on such various information. The National Police Agency just dispatched TRT-2 from such a perspective. In any case, whoever is responsible for the incident, the government of Japan is greatly shocked and outraged by the terrorist attack and firmly condemns these despicable acts of terrorism.
Fujita, Fuji TV: Three Japanese citizens were killed in this incident. Was a lesson learned through the murder of Japanese hostages in Syria used in this incident?
Minister Kishida: In the wake of the incident in Syria, the Government of Japan once again checked the safety of Japanese nationals and also issued an alert to all Japanese nationals in the world. Moreover, a review team was set up in MOFA to review what should be added as our response and at the same time to do whatever we can do immediately.
In light of this incident in Tunisia, the Japanese Embassy in Tunisia immediately confirmed the safety of Japanese residents in Tunisia and issued a mass e-mail for an alert. We have also issued spot information and raised the level of warning. We take all available measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals abroad.
Japan-China-Republic of Korea Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Fujita, Fuji TV: The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held tomorrow, and it will be your first visit to the ROK since being appointed. What results are you hoping to achieve at this Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?
Minister Kishida: The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held for the first time in three years. The trilateral cooperative relationship, which spans a range of fields, will be summed up, and the current state of cooperation and future initiatives will be discussed. At the same time, I also want to have an exchange of views on regional and international affairs.
Cooperative projects involving the three countries span a range of fields, including the environment, disaster reduction, counter-terrorism and also free trade agreements. I by all means hope to discuss these practical cooperative projects, and regional and international affairs. At the same time I certainly want to make this a positive opportunity that puts the three countries’ cooperation on track.
Fujita, Fuji TV: During your stay in the ROK I imagine there is also a possibility you will make a courtesy call on President Park Geun-hye. If you do have the opportunity to make a courtesy call and meet with her, are you preparing to deliver a message or letter of some sort from the Prime Minister on behalf of the Japanese side, as a lead-up to a Summit Meeting?
Minister Kishida: I think it would be good if I could be able to make a courtesy call on President Park, but presently my specific schedule in the ROK is still being coordinated.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: I have a related question. Following on from your visit to the ROK, the meeting of Japan-ROK Eminent Persons’ Group will be held on the weekend, and then next week a ruling party delegation will visit China and the Boao Forum will be held, so there will be ongoing interaction with VIPs from China and the ROK. How do you intend to link this momentum to improve relations?
Minister Kishida: In terms of the bilateral relationships between Japan and China and Japan and the ROK, it is extremely meaningful to build up communication in various fields and at various levels. I think it should be welcomed. Through building up communication in such a way, I want to unfalteringly bring about communication at a high political level and put the respective relationships firmly on track.
Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: The Japan-China Security Dialogue took place yesterday. Tomorrow the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held, but how is the coordination going for a bilateral meeting between Japan and China? And if this meeting does take place, what sorts of things do you intend to discuss?
Minister Kishida: Yesterday’s Japan-China Security Dialogue was the first such dialogue on security in four years. And tomorrow, alongside the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting I am also scheduled to hold a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, but at present the specific schedule is still being coordinated.
Furthermore, after the Summit Meeting at the APEC Meeting in November last year, movement on various dialogues between the two countries began to get underway. If a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is held, I intend to encourage communication and to exchange views between the foreign ministers of Japan and China steadily in order to solidify that momentum and move the relationship between the two countries further forward.
Makita, Kyodo Press: Is there a possibility that the issues of recognition of history and territory will be mentioned in the respective bilateral talks between Japan and China and Japan and the ROK?
Minister Kishida: I expect we will discuss our respective matters of interest, but at the present stage I would like to refrain from forecasting what topics might be brought up.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Kurihara, NHK: My question concerns the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that China is advocating. Japan and the United States are adopting wary stances regarding taking part, but European countries including the U.K., France, Germany and Italy have announced their participation one after another. How do you evaluate this, and what will Japan’s response be?
Minister Kishida: Regarding the AIIB, from the outset we have been making suggestions to the Chinese side about various points that Japan has to consider. At present we are thinking to take a cautious response.
I intend to continue to convey our views, including on establishing governance, but I would like to refrain from commenting on moves by third-party countries from my position.