Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, April 7, 2015, 8:05 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening remarks

Distribution of the Diplomatic Bluebook 2015 at the Cabinet meeting

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, I distributed a summary of the Diplomatic Bluebook 2015 at the Cabinet meeting. This time, the first chapter in the Bluebook gives a general overview of Japan’s path as a peace-loving nation in the 70 years since the end of World War II. Additionally, it also includes the terrorist incident regarding the murder of Japanese in Syria at the beginning of this year, efforts to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals living abroad following that incident, and cooperation with the international community on counter-terrorism.

Distribution of the Diplomatic Bluebook 2015 at the Cabinet meeting

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: My question concerns the Diplomatic Bluebook you just mentioned. Chapter One outlines Japan’s path as a peace-loving nation since the war, but what is the aim for that?

Minister Kishida: Chapter One describes Japan’s path in the 70 years since the war. That path was also mentioned in the Diplomatic Bluebooks pertaining to the 50th and 60th years since the end of the war. Because this latest Bluebook pertains to the 70th year since the war, it includes an account looking back on Japan’s path as a peace-loving nation.

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Regarding the expressions in this Diplomatic Bluebook, where sections mentioning bilateral relations and the relationship between Japan and the Republic of Korea are concerned, the expression ‘share fundamental values’ was deleted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website in the past. I have heard that the same change has been made in the section about Japan-ROK relations in this Diplomatic Bluebook.Is that correct?

Minister Kishida: The Diplomatic Bluebook is regularly revised every year. And amid the regular annual revision of the Diplomatic Bluebook, revisions are carried out to bring it into line with the policy speech to the Diet session and others, resulting in the content you mentioned. This response is taken in the course of the regular revision, but in any case, the ROK is Japan’s most important neighbor, and we intend to build a comprehensive, future-oriented bilateral relationship from a broad perspective. We intend to tenaciously engage in developing this relationship in the future also.

Japan-ROK Security Dialogue

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Regarding Japan-ROK relations, during the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting it was decided that the Japan-ROK Security Dialogue would recommence promptly. What is the current situation regarding the coordination of that?

Minister Kishida: Regarding a Japan-ROK Security Dialogue, following a discussion that took place at the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on March 21, coordination is underway, but I understand that at the present point in time no specific schedule has been decided.

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: There are reports that the dialogue may be held in Seoul as early as next week?

Minister Kishida: Various reports seem to be surfacing, but as I just stated, I understand that no specific schedule has been decided.

Establishment of no-navigation zone by North Korea

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: This question concerns North Korea. Last week Japan conveyed a protest to North Korea, but have there been any developments since then?

Minister Kishida: As you mentioned, to begin with there was a notification from the North Korean side on April 2. In response to that the Government of Japan conveyed a protest to the North Korean side stating that the matter was unacceptable. I have not received a report of any particular response subsequently.

Fujikawa, TV Asahi: Some foreign media reports are saying there are indications that North Korea may have established a no-fly zone in preparation for a missile launch. How does the Government of Japan view this?

Minister Kishida: I am aware of the reports, but we have not obtained information that a navigation warning concerning the no-navigation zone was issued as the reports suggest.

Announcement of the result of the authorization of middle school textbooks

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: My question concerns the result of the screening of textbooks yesterday. The ROK is objecting, and has lodged a protest that Japan will repeat its past history again. What are your views?

Minister Kishida: First of all, in the authorization of textbooks by the Government, literary works written and edited by private publishers are reviewed for use as textbooks based on official curriculum guidelines. It takes place fairly and neutrally based on specialized and academic deliberation by the Textbook Authorization and Research Council. If I may elaborate further, Japan’s standpoints on the Takeshima issue and the recognition of history are consistent. We responded to the protest lodged by the ROK side by stating that we could not accept the protest. I believe the governments of Japan and the ROK both need to adopt a broad perspective and make an effort to ensure that this result of textbook authorization does not have a negative impact on the overall Japan-ROK relationship.

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