Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, March 24, 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.
Passing of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: I would like to ask you about the passing of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew of the Republic of Singapore. I think you are considering the dispatching of a special envoy of the Government of Japan to the funeral. Please tell us how the consideration is going.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs:> Coordination is going on about dispatching an appropriate high-level person to make a condolence visit and attend the funeral.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: I will change the topic. Mr. Sadakazu Tanigaki, Secretary-General of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and other members of the LDP are visiting the People’s Republic of China. In a meeting with Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, there was an issue regarding the recognition of history and the statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. We learned that a major part of your discussion was about the issue of history in the Japan-China foreign ministers’ meeting. Could you tell us about the stance of Japan regarding such a situation?
Minister Kishida: I learned that a group of ruling party members headed by the Secretary-General held a meeting with Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of the PRC, who is also a Politburo Standing Committee Member of the Communist Party of China, on March 23. As for the Government of Japan, there were a Summit Meeting and a foreign ministers’ meeting on the occasion of the APEC in Beijing in November last year and communication through various levels and fields has been increasing. We consider that it is very important to develop Japan-China relations from a broader perspective by increasing such dialogues and communication. In that sense, I think it is very meaningful that the group headed by the Secretary General of the ruling party visited China and held a meeting with Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of the PRC. We would like to continue to steadily develop the important Japan-China relationship by accumulating communication and dialogues on various issues between Japan and China in various levels and opportunities.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: What do you think about their concerns over the statement by the Prime Minister marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II?
Minister Kishida: This year is a juncture year which marks the 70the anniversary of the end of the war. In the past 70 years, the Government of Japan has been making contributions to the international community as a peace-loving country that cherishes fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, based on the reflection of the past World War.
We want to continue to make further contributions. And we would like to firmly communicate such fundamental position and ideas of Japan with the international community, taking advantage of various occasions.
Instruction by Okinawa Prefecture to stop construction in Henoko
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Concerning the construction for moving a U.S. base to Henoko, the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture issued an instruction to stop construction. What do you think about it? Also, please tell us how the United States takes this situation.
Minister Kishida: First of all, I understand that the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture submitted a document to the Okinawa Defense Bureau that instructs the halting of all actions that can change the status quo of the seabed related to the construction in the ocean areas of Camp Schwab as it is highly probable that reef was destroyed without permission related to the positioning of an anchor.
In terms of this document, the contents of the document are being reviewed by the Ministry of Defense and therefore I will refrain from making a comment at present. In any case, I understand that the positioning of the anchor was carried out on the basis of sufficient coordination based on the Fishery Regulations of Okinawa Prefecture stipulated by the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture at the preparatory coordination stage between the Ministry of Defense and Okinawa Prefecture.
Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Did the U.S. side have any response to it?
Minister Kishida: I have not confirmed anything specific about that.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
Makita, Kyodo Press: My question concerns the AIIB. In some U.S. reports a senior U.S. government official presented a positive view on the joint investment projects with the AIIB, World Bank and the ADB. I would like to ask once again whether or not Japan also views this matter positively, and what your thoughts are on Japan participating in the AIIB.
Minister Kishida: I am aware of the reports that you mentioned. However, the explanation we have received from the Government of the U.S. is that there is no change to the U.S. government’s position that any new international financial institution to be established will need to satisfy high standards, including governance. That is what we understand.
Furthermore, at the present point in time the Government of Japan’s position has not changed either. As we have been saying all along, it will be necessary to consider the matter cautiously, including points such as whether it will establish fair governance, and whether carrying out lending that ignores debt sustainability will inflict harm on other creditors or not.
Japan-China-Republic of Korea Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Fukai, TBS: I assume that you reported on Japan, China and the ROK to Prime Minister Abe yesterday. What was Prime Minister Abe’s assessment, and did he give any sort of instruction about a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting in the future?
Minister Kishida: I presented my report on the series of meetings, including the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in conjunction with that, and my courtesy call on President Park Geun-hye.
As is also stated in the joint press release of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, a consensus was made to continue our efforts to hold a trilateral summit meeting. From the outset, this Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting itself was positioned as one step toward holding a trilateral summit meeting, so we intend to continue to make an effort to realize the summit. I explained this situation and obtained the Prime Minister’s understanding.
Okinawa Prefecture’s instruction to halt the Henoko project
Kurihara, NHK: My question is about the Henoko issue. Documents exchanged between the Government and Okinawa Prefecture raise the possibility that it will not be possible to carry out reclamation and boring surveys. In relation with the US, what impact do you think this is likely to have on Japan-U.S. relations in the future?
Also, in light of the approaching visits to the U.S. by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, how will you work on the U.S. and explain the situation?
Minister Kishida: In any event, we are currently at the stage of confirming the content of the document submitted by the Governor, and so at the present point of time I will refrain from commenting on the matter.
Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Nakagawa, Yomiuri Shimbun: At the time of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, how did you personally feel regarding the prospect and schedule for realizing a Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting, a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting and a Japan-China Summit Meeting?
Minister Kishida: This was the first Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in three years, and I believe it is highly meaningful that the Japan-China-ROK dialogue process has begun to move forward. I by all means want to make an effort to further develop this trilateral relationship.