Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, December 4, 2015, 10:25 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
(1) Japan-Indonesia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultation
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The first-ever Japan-Indonesia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultation (“2+2”) will be held in Tokyo on December 17. This meeting will also be the first “2+2” that Japan has held with an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country. We intend to hold discussions on challenges facing the region and the international community, and further strengthen the strategic partnership between Japan and Indonesia. In particular, along with holding frank discussions on the situation in the South China Sea, where the circumstances remain severe, we also hope to hold firm discussions on counterterrorism with Indonesia, a major moderate Muslim country.
Additionally, I am scheduled to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting with Ms. Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and exchange views on bilateral relations and the challenges facing the region and the international community.
(2) Minister Kishida to visit Hiroshima
Minister Kishida: I am scheduled to visit Hiroshima on Monday, December 14, in order to prepare for the G7 Hiroshima Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I would like to prepare for an environment that will allow the foreign ministers to hold frank and open-minded discussions.
Minister Kishida to visit Hiroshima
Fukai, TBS: When you visit Hiroshima, will you visit places such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park?
Minister Kishida: Hiroshima is my constituency so I know the Peace Memorial Park well, but I think I will probably visit it.
Fukai, TBS: How are the considerations going in regard to a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park by the foreign ministers?
Minister Kishida: We are still in the process of coordinating the foreign ministers’ meeting-related events. Nothing has been decided yet, I understand. To start with I will firmly support the meeting of foreign ministers itself, and will continue to coordinate the related events in conjunction with that.
Fukai, TBS: Aren’t you visiting the Peace Memorial Park because the foreign ministers are coming?
Minister Kishida: Basically, the related events are yet to be decided. However, I hope to visit relevant spots while keeping a variety of possibilities in mind. As I mentioned earlier, I imagine I will also go to the Peace Memorial Park, but I have not yet confirmed administratively where I will visit specifically.
The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets
Fukai, TBS: It is being reported that one individual from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not give consent to the security clearance assessment based on the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, but can you inform us on the facts?
Minister Kishida: Regarding the point that you mentioned, I heard that 1,201 people underwent the security clearance assessment, and of the 1,201 people, one individual did not give consent. The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets stipulates that the security clearance assessment shall be conducted after obtaining the consent of the person subject to assessment. My understanding is that declining to give consent was entirely the decision of that individual.
Japan-Indonesia Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting
Abe, Asahi Shimbun: Why is the 2+2 meeting with Indonesia being held at this time? In terms of the discussions on the South China Sea, is it being held with an awareness of the developments by China?
Minister Kishida: First, Indonesia is a major country in ASEAN, and we consider it to be an important strategic partner in the region. Against this backdrop, in March of this year at the Japan-Indonesia Summit Meeting, both countries agreed to start making coordination toward holding this meeting. The coordination was progressed following this agreement between the leaders of both Japan and Indonesia at the Summit Meeting, resulting in the holding of this 2+2 meeting. So as Indonesia is a major country in ASEAN and an important strategic partner for Japan, I expect there will be various issues we will be able to discuss with.
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: My question also concerns the 2+2 meeting. I would like to ask whether Japan intends to expand this meeting to other countries in the Asia Pacific region in the future, or if there are countries for which coordination is already being made?
Minister Kishida: At the present time, I have nothing special to report regarding a specific, new 2+2 framework. But basically, we consider that it is an important initiative for us to cooperate closely and communicate with the relevant countries in the fields of foreign affairs and national security. In accumulating relations with various countries, if necessary and if an agreement can be reached, I think it is possible that this framework will be expanded.
Counter Terrorism Unit - Japan
Abe, Asahi Shimbun: The Counter Terrorism Unit – Japan will be launched on December 8 and the organization will be located within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Up to the present time, I imagine intelligence has been collected, specifically various terrorism-related intelligence has been collected, so what will this organization be able to do that could not be done before?
Minister Kishida: With regards to the intelligence gathering you referred to, up to the present time we have worked continuously on this important issue whether as the Government of Japan or as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I consider that one of the key points on the creation of this new Unit is to launch an organization in a form that specializes in collecting international terrorism intelligence. The Government is working under the All Japan framework to collect information on international terrorism and to respond to it, and I believe that the creation of this system is clearly a step we needed to take when considering the various terrorist-related incidents, attacks, and developments recently.