Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, August 28, 2015, 8:42 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

President of the Republic of Korea to attend military parade hosted by China

Kurihara, NHK: Ms. Park Geun-hye, the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), indicated she intends to attend a Chinese military parade. Her decision comes amidst the United States and European countries refraining from attending. Going forward, what impact do you think this will have on the Japan-ROK relationship, the U.S.-ROK relationship, and the relationship between the ROK and Western countries?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Where President Park’s attendance is concerned, the issue itself is between third-party countries, and so I will refrain from commenting. The U.S.-ROK relationship is also a relationship between third-party countries, so I will refrain from commenting on this matter as well.

With regard to the Japan-ROK relationship, I held a foreign ministers’ meeting with Mr. Yun Byung-se, ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs, on August 6. Given that this year is a milestone year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, we shared the view that we will do all we can to make this 50th anniversary year a meaningful one.

As neighboring countries, difficult issues exist between Japan and the ROK, but I believe that by all means we must construct a future-oriented and multi-layered bilateral relationship by accumulating dialogue at a variety of levels and in a variety of fields. I hope the two countries will continue to make these efforts.

LDP presidential election

Kurihara, NHK: My next question concerns the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Yesterday, the view took hold within the LDP that there will be no voting, that the presidential election will be held with no voting, and that your own Kishida faction will also support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s reelection. Amidst that, some LDP officials are suggesting it would be better to hold a vote, but what is your analysis of this current situation? I would also like to ask what your views are, Minister Kishida, about the prospect of no vote taking place?

Minister Kishida: Yesterday at Kouchikai, the policy group I belong to, the response was entrusted to me as Kouchikai chairman. An important time is currently drawing near for Japanese politics, as well as for the Diet and the LDP. In light of this timing we must support the Abe Administration. That is the direction I expressed.

I showed the direction of Kouchikai, but with regard to the LDP presidential election overall, no specific schedule has even been officially announced, I believe. I think we will have to continue to pay attention to overall developments. However, I am aware that thus far no specific candidacy moves are surfacing. For the time being, that is the current situation.

Kurihara, NHK: Minister Kishida, you personally support Prime Minister Abe’s reelection; but within the LDP, some feel it might be better to hold a presidential election in order to make the LDP’s presence felt. How do you feel about this?

Minister Kishida: I believe the LDP presidential election is an important opportunity for considering the shape of the LDP, and I think the idea of attaching importance to that is natural. I am not aware of any specific moves to do so, however.

President of the Republic of Korea to attend military parade hosted by China

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: The commemorative event for the '”70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression” will take place in China on September 3. Will someone from the Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs side, including the Japanese ambassador, attend?

Minister Kishida: The Government of Japan is not scheduled to attend.

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: Why is that?

Minister Kishida: We have been explaining the reasons at various occasions, including regarding the Prime Minister’s visit. We made an overall judgment, which includes that visit, and under the current circumstances we do not intend to send a representative of Government of Japan to attend.

Xinhua News Agency commentary calling for His Imperial Majesty to apologize over the past war

Lee, Hong Kong Phoenix TV: The Government of Japan reportedly lodged a protest over a Chinese newspaper’s call that His Imperial Majesty apologize. Could you once again explain the reason for that protest?

Minister Kishida: You are referring to the Xinhua News Agency commentary. Although it was a domestic report inside China, the content that you mention is particularly disrespectful to His Imperial Majesty, and is not compatible with the position expressed by the Chinese side thus far. Based on this view, we lodged a strong protest with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels.

Fiscal 2016 facilities request

Makita, Kyodo Press: It appears that MOFA’s budget request presents a plan to increase diplomatic missions. What is the significance of that, and does MOFA also intend to increase diplomatic missions in the future?

Minister Kishida: Concerning the request to set up new diplomatic missions in fiscal 2016, we are at the stage prior to official submission of the budget request. I do not think I should make any specific comment at this stage, but I believe MOFA must strive to strengthen Japan’s overall diplomatic strength, which includes improving a human resources structure and a physical foundation, such as diplomatic missions, in order to proactively develop and steadily implement diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map. When it comes to establishing new diplomatic missions, I intend to do what I can to ensure that positive requests for new missions are approved.