Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, December 1, 2015, 10:21 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Japan-China Summit Meeting

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: I heard that Summit meetings took place in Paris between Japan and China, and Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK), albeit informally, and I understand that Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, stated that he hopes to mutually respond to sensitive issues correctly, and improve relations. I would like to ask your views and evaluation, including about this matter.

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I also received a report that Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister, held short informal talks with President Xi on the occasion of the luncheon hosted by France that was held as one part of the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) yesterday afternoon. The two leaders held two meetings, in November last year and then in April this year. In addition, recently the Prime Minister also held a summit meeting with Mr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of China. The leaders confirmed that the Japan-China relationship has been improving and developing, including as a result of meetings such as this, and shared the view that they will continue to make efforts. My view is that positive meetings took place and that is something I would like to welcome.

Meeting of representatives to the Six-Party Talks from Japan, the United States and the ROK

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: My question concerns North Korea. A meeting of representatives to the Six-Party Talks from Japan, the United States and the ROK will take place in Washington. As Minister, what are your expectations for the talks?

Minister Kishida: On December 4, which is December 3 local time, Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, will attend a meeting of representatives to the Six-Party Talks from Japan, the United States and the ROK that will be held in the United States. Exchanges of views on the recent situations in North Korea will take place at this meeting, and in addition it will be an opportunity to confirm that the countries involved, Japan, the United States and the ROK, will continue to cooperate closely, I believe.

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Am I correct in assuming that the nuclear and missile issues will be the main topic?

Minister Kishida: I think at the current stage it is difficult to predict what will be discussed specifically. I envisage there will be firm information exchanges and exchanges of views regarding various circumstances relating to North Korea.

Double election of the upper and lower houses

Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: I have another question, about domestic affairs. Recently several bank-related executives have made some comments implying that there will be a double election of both houses of the Diet in line with the upper house election in the summer of next year. I would like to ask what your views are, Minister, from your standpoint as the leader of a faction.

Minister Kishida: If there is a double election it will mean a decision will be made to dissolve the lower house. However, I am aware that the dissolution of the lower house and other related matters are the exclusive prerogative of the Prime Minister. The decision will be made by the Prime Minister, and as a member of his Cabinet I consider I should refrain from making any comment on that.

Meeting of representatives to the Six-Party Talks from Japan, the United States and the ROK

Watanabe, NHK: In regard to the high-level talks on North Korea that will be held in Washington among Japan, the United States and the ROK, the abductions issue represents a specific issue that Japan faces in connection with North Korea. Given that the person in charge on the Japanese side has changed once again, as Minister, do you have any expectations with an eye toward progress being made on the abductions issue?

Minister Kishida: Where the abductions issue is concerned, as you would expect I recognize that the understanding and cooperation of the relevant countries is extremely important. I believe it is important to firmly exchange information on the current situation relating to the abductions issue. In any event, regarding what will be discussed at this meeting, I believe it will be an opportunity to firmly discuss various issues relating to North Korea.

North Korea

Fujita, Fuji TV: Only one month remains for this year. Japan has revamped the lineup in connection with the abductions issue, but does it mean there has been no reaction from the North Korean side or any other such developments at the present point in time?

Minister Kishida: About the fact that the lineup has changed? No, and the fact is that although the members may change, the Government of Japan’s principle will remain consistent. And based on that principle, we will continue to make efforts to determine what should be done to extract constructive responses from North Korea.

Fujita, Fuji TV: So there has been no particular contact from the North Korean side?

Minister Kishida: We continue to work on the North Korean side via embassy channels and other means.

Fujita, Fuji TV: There has been no contact?

Minister Kishida: We continue to work on the North Korea side.