Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 9:35 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Agreement in principle on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: My first question concerns the TPP. The agreement will create a massive economic zone. What impact will this have on Japanese diplomacy?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: First, I would like to welcome the agreement in principle that was reached on the TPP. The TPP will provide the foundation for new 21st Century trade rules, I believe, and I think it also has strategic significance on the diplomacy front, because the establishment of the TPP agreement will also contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
Developments relating to North Korea’s missiles
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Next, I would like to ask about North Korea. North Korea is hinting it will launch a missile on October 10, which is approaching at the end of this week. A variety of speculation is surfacing, including that the schedule may be delayed, or that the launch will be cancelled again, but how do you, Minister, analyze the ballistic missile launch under the current circumstances? And also, how will the Government of Japan respond?
Minister Kishida: Developments relating to North Korea’s missiles are of great interest to the Government, and we are gathering and analyzing information. However, at the present point in time, I would like to refrain from commenting about that.
In any case, even if the launch is purported to be for a satellite, it will clearly violate the Security Council resolutions. As was confirmed at the recent Japan-United States-Republic of Korea Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, while coordinating with the relevant countries, we must request the North Korean side to exercise self-restraint and must firmly urge North Korea to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions as well as the Six-Party Talks statements.
The Cabinet reshuffle
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: With regards to tomorrow’s Cabinet reshuffle, you have now been the Minister for Foreign Affairs for close to three years. I would like to ask about your thoughts while you have led Japanese diplomacy over this period. Also, what form do you think Japanese diplomacy should take in the future?
Minister Kishida: First, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, for these 2 years and 9 months, I have travelled a distance equivalent to circling the world 17.7 times and have visited a total of 57 countries. In that time, I have attended countless meetings with many friends, including the foreign ministers of each country. In principle, I have worked hard to protect and pursue the interests of Japan centered upon the three pillars I promoted since I was first appointed, that is, strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance, deepening our cooperative relations with neighboring countries, and promoting economic diplomacy. I also worked hard to tackle global problems in the international community. These are the works that I have continued. With these efforts, I believe I was able to carry out diplomacy that has contributed to expanding Japan’s network of contacts in the international community and raising its presence. With regards to this diplomacy in the future, the international community continues to develop and to change tremendously. In this context, first, I think it is vital that we work even harder in our diplomacy to protect and promote Japan’s interests and that, at the same time, we continue with these efforts to contribute to the international community and raise Japan’s presence.
Agreement in principle on the TPP
Kuronuma, Nikkei Shimbun: My question concerns the TPP. Currently, what sort of program is expected to be followed, in the lead up to concluding the agreement?
Minister Kishida: Initially, the next stage is the signing. The next step is to define the wording of the agreement for signing. At the moment, there is no telling when this signing will take place. However, the signing should take place as soon as possible, and once the text is confirmed, it will then be deliberated in the Diet. In the likeliest case, I imagine that at the same time as the TPP agreement, the domestic legislation required to implement it will also be submitted. The deliberation would be like that, I think, but in any case I believe we must continue our efforts to move ahead with the tasks that I just mentioned for the conclusion of the TPP.
Kuronuma, Nikkei Shimbun: At present, about how many relevant domestic laws are thought to be needed?
Minister Kishida: I believe this is something the relevant agencies and ministries are currently working out. As Minister, I cannot comment on how many laws it will be at present.
Memory of the World (China’s application)
Kurihara, NHK: Regarding nominations for UNESCO’s Memory of the World related to the Nanking Incident and the comfort women, assessment has just been completed and discussions are scheduled to be held today. In other words, the nominations include those related to the Nanking Incident and the comfort women issue, both of which involved Japan. What is Japan’s reaction to the application by a neighboring country for the inclusion of these matters in the register?
Minister Kishida: With regards to the matter you referred to, my understanding is that neither UNESCO nor its International Advisory Committee has made an external announcement on the progress or the results of the assessment. Therefore, because the matter is still at this stage, I will refrain from commenting on it. However, up to the present time, we have explained Japan’s position and views to UNESCO using various opportunities. We will continue to pay attention to the outcomes.
The Cabinet reshuffle
Kurihara, NHK: Regarding tomorrow’s Cabinet reshuffle, have you discussed with Prime Minister Abe regarding new entrants into the Cabinet from the Kochikai faction of which you are the chair? Or do you intend to discuss them with him from now on?
Minister Kishida: I think that personnel matters are to be decided by the Prime Minister. I have nothing to say on this matter from my position as Minister.