Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 10:57 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Decision by the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s constitutional court on the the issue of claims between Japan and ROK
Fukai, TBS: Tomorrow the constitutional court of the ROK will issue its verdict in a trial challenging the constitutionality of the Japan-ROK Claims Settlement Agreement. Could you once again explain the Government of Japan’s position, and what your views are on the impact this will have on the Japan-ROK relationship in the future?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, I am aware of the matter that you raise, and since it involves a ruling by the court, I intend to keep a close eye on the judgment. In any event, issues of property and claim rights between Japan and the ROK have been settled completely and finally by the Claims Settlement and Economic Co-operation Agreement between Japan and the ROK. That is the Government of Japan’s position.
Informal consultations between Japan and North Korea
Fukai, TBS: My next question concerns Japan and North Korea. There have been some reports that informal consultations between Japan and North Korea have been held about three times since last month. Could you explain what the current situation is with the Japan-North Korea consultations? In addition, the North Korean side has been saying for some time now that a little more time will be needed, and quite a bit of time has passed since then. What sort of progress do you hope to make from now on?
Minister Kishida: Firstly, regarding the point that you raised, I am aware of the reports, but would like to refrain from commenting on individual reports. In any event, I believe what is important is to ensure that North Korea sincerely implements the agreement between Japan and North Korea, and returns all the victims of abduction to Japan as soon as possible.
We will continue to firmly urge North Korea while adhering to the principles of dialogue and pressure, and action for action. In addition, however, the United Nations’ resolution on human rights, which was jointly sponsored by Japan and the European Union (EU), was also adopted recently, and a discussion on North Korea also took place at the UN Security Council.
I believe it will also be essential to firmly emphasize coordination with the international community in this way, while delivering a strong message to North Korea.
First meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)’s “Headquarters for Learning from History and Considering the Future”
Fukai, TBS: This morning, the LDP held the first meeting of its “Headquarters for Learning from History and Considering the Future.” As Minister for Foreign Affairs and as chairman of the Kochikai faction, what direction do you think the discussions will follow, and what sorts of discussions do you hope will take place?
Minister Kishida: I understand that the Headquarters that you mentioned has been launched with Mr. Sadakazu Tanigaki, Secretary-General of the LDP, as Director-General, and that it held its first meeting today. I have heard it will hold hearings with experts and other events from here on, and that the discussions will continue. This involves a meeting at the party headquarters, so I would like to refrain from commenting about it from the Government’s standpoint. I will keep a close eye on what sorts of discussions take place.
Decision by the constitutional court of the ROK on thethe issues of claims between Japan and ROK
Odanaka, Mainichi Shimbun: My question concerns the Japan-ROK Claims Settlement Agreement and the requisitioned workers from the Korean Peninsula. If the constitutional court rules that the agreement is unconstitutional, this will potentially give rise to a situation in which the Government of the ROK will also have to issue new claims regarding the agreement. At the present point in time what impact is this likely to have on Japan-ROK relations?
Minister Kishida: I do not believe it would be appropriate to make predictions and to comment about a pending court decision. In any event, as I mentioned earlier the Government of Japan’s position is that issues of property and claim rights between Japan and the ROK have been settled completely and finally by the Claims Settlement and Economic Co-operation Agreement between Japan and the ROK. Japan will by all means respond appropriately, based on that position.
Schedule for holding the next Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD)
Odanaka, Mainichi Shimbun: Today there were some reports that coordination is underway to hold TICAD VI in the Republic of Kenya in late August. What stage is the coordinationcurrently?
Minister Kishida: The matter is currently being coordinated, but the schedule has not been decided. Coordination will continue to take place, and a decision will be made based on discussions with Kenya, which is the host country, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the various UN organizations that are co-sponsors. At the present point in time it has not been decided yet.