Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 9:25 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Release of the Japanese fishing vessel No. 10 Hoko Maru

Tachimachi, NHK: My question concerns Japan-Russia relations. Yesterday, the crew of a fishing vessel that was seized by Russia’s border protection agency was released. How do you view this; and given that a visit to Japan within this year by Russian President Vladimir Putin is being considered, how will Japan-Russia relations proceed in the future?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: To begin with, the No. 10 Hoko Maru was released, along with her captain and crew, at around 7:00 p.m. on August 31.Then I received a report that they had arrived at Nemuro at around 4:15 a.m. today, September 1. The seizure occurred on July 17, and ever since, we have been requesting a prompt release. The Government of Japan is relieved by this release.

As for the question of whether President Putin’s visit to Japan and other issues will be affected or not, nothing has been decided regarding President Putin’s visit to Japan. I recognize it is an issue we will consider in a comprehensive manner, while taking a variety of points into account.

Tachimachi, NHK: Will it take place within this year?

Minister Kishida: Where the timing is concerned, I recognize that the leaders of Japan and Russia have affirmed the goal of President Putin visiting Japan within this year. Other than that, nothing has been decided.

Future response to the abductions investigation

Tachimachi, NHK: This question is about the abductions issue. Minister Kishida, at a committee yesterday, you made a comment that it would be inappropriate to establish a deadline for the re-investigation. It will soon be one month since the Japan-North Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, but what sort of response will be taken if there is no reaction from North Korea?

Minister Kishida:First, with regard to my comment yesterday, I stated that given the goal of aiming to have all the victims of abduction returned to Japan as soon as possible, a deadline should not and will not be set. And with regard to the future, to begin with, I conveyed the Government of Japan’s position and views firmly to the North Korean side at the recent Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I believe we will have to pay careful attention to what sort of reaction we receive in response to that. In any event, I am deliberating our response, from the perspective of what will be most effective in eliciting concrete responses while gauging such reaction.

Commemorative event for the ‘‘70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression’’ being hosted by China

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: A China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit Meeting is being held tomorrow, to be followed by the commemorative event for ‘‘70th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression’’ on September 3, the day after next. I would once again like to ask what Japan’s position is regarding this series of events, and also, what sort of ceremony do you hope will be held? What are your feelings, if any, in that regard?

Minister Kishida: I am not in a position to comment in some way on interaction between third-party countries, China and the ROK. However, where the ceremony on September 3 is concerned, up to now I have been saying the ceremony should be reconciliatory, and should be for the purpose of reconciliation and understanding. I intend to pay attention to what sort of ceremony is held.