Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, April 3, 2015, 10:36 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Shooting terrorism at Garissa University College in Kenya and the framework for consultation on the Iranian nuclear issue
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: We have two issues to talk about. The first issue is the attack on a university in Kenya. I have heard that Al-Shabaab militants attacked Garissa University College in Garissa County in the northeastern part of Kenya yesterday. More than 100 people were killed in the attack. The Government of Japan mourns the victims and expresses its condolences to the bereaved families. Japan also offers its heartfelt sympathy to those wounded in the attacks. Japan strongly condemns such acts of terrorism that target innocent people as inexcusable. Japan denounces terrorism irrespective of its forms and purposes, and reiterates that no act of terrorism will be justified. Japan is determined to support efforts by the Government of Kenya to fight against terrorism in cooperation with the international community.
Second, we welcome an agreement on the “Key Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” as a step toward a final agreement between EU 3+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Government of Japan appreciates the efforts by the negotiating parties. Japan strongly expects that the current momentum will be utilized so that a final agreement will be reached by the end of June. Reaching a final agreement will be important for the enhancement of the international non-proliferation system, as well as for Iran to more constructively contribute to its regional issues. Japan will play its roles from its own stance for the formation of and steady implementation of the final agreement while coordinating with the international community in the future. These are the two issues that I wanted to talk about first.
Japan-North Korea relations
Arita, Nippon TV: The North Korean side stated that they cannot hold Japan-North Korea intergovernmental consultations under the current conditions yesterday. Amid this situation, you talked with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this morning. Did the Prime Minister give you any instructions concerning this issue?
Minister Kishida: I had a conversation with Prime Minister Abe this morning and it included consultations and instructions on various diplomatic issues, such as the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States. In the conversation, we also talked about the North Korean issue.
Arita, Nippon TV: Did the Prime Minister give you any instruction on that issue?
Minister Kishida: We just exchanged opinions. Nothing specific has been decided.
Arita, Nippon TV: My second question is in relation to your maintaining that the stance of the Government of Japan remains unchanged. Have you told the North Korean side about this stance via any route?
Minister Kishida: We will convey our protest promptly and appropriately with the North Korean side today.
Arita, Nippon TV: Do you mean you have not lodged a protest yet?
Minister Kishida: It will happen from now. We will do so as soon as we can.
Arita, Nippon TV: You stated that you would lodge a protest. What kind of a protest will you lodge?
Minister Kishida: The North Korean side released a statement this time. On the basis of the Japan-North Korea agreement in May last year, the Government of Japan has sincerely responded to and has sincerely implemented the agreement. Therefore, the statement from North Korea is completely unacceptable and is extremely regrettable. Moreover, North Korea is investigating the abduction issue through its Special Investigation Committee. We believe that they should swiftly carry out the investigation and report to us on the results promptly and honestly. We will strongly request this.
Arita, Nippon TV: According to a report by the Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean side is angry, saying that Japan took up the abductions issue with the United Nations when this matter should have been negotiated bilaterally. What are your thoughts on this?
Minister Kishida: We see the human rights issues regarding North Korea, including the abductions issue, as being a major problem not only for Japan, but also for the entire international community. This is why this matter has been brought up at meetings of the United Nations Human Rights Council and others. We view these issues as matters that must be addressed not only by Japan but also by the international community as a whole.
Arita, Nippon TV: Lastly, is it thought that government-level consultations are held with the North Korean side at this point in time, does it include to conveying the positions of the Government of Japan?
Minister Kishida: Currently nothing specific has been decided related to the government-level consultations. In any case, I believe that we must thoroughly convey Japan’s positions at various opportunities.
Maita, Kyodo Press: You just mentioned conveying to the North Korean side the intention to lodge a protest. Will that be through the route of the embassies in Beijing?
Minister Kishida: Yes, I believe that it will be through the route of the embassies in Beijing.
Fukai, TBS: North Korea has recently lodged a protest related to the investigation of the General Association of Korean Residents. When the Japan side addresses this protest from North Korea, how will the explanations be given?
Minister Kishida: In any case, I am aware that the police are carrying out this compulsory investigation based on laws and evidence. We must get the North Korean side to understand how the police are handling this matter.
Matsumoto, Jiji Press: In regard to the deadline for the report on the reinvestigation, the time was supposed to be one year, so I believe this will be in July, and the Government of Japan wants to receive the report by then. Will there be any change to this stance? What are your thoughts on the future outlook concerning this first report, North Korea’s report on its reinvestigation?
Minister Kishida: At first there was talk of the first report being issued between the summer and early autumn of last year. Nevertheless, in September, the North Korean side explained that it had not yet reached that stage. In addition, I believe this was also in September, I remember the North Korean side stated that the investigation would finish about a year after it started.
It is true that there was a statement regarding a time period, and the position of Japan continues to firmly urge them to make a report promptly and honestly. This remains unchanged.