Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, January 15, 2016, 8:33 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Terrorist bombing in Jakarta
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan: I am outraged by the terrorist attack that occurred in Jakarta yesterday, January 14.
Terrorism such as this could never be justified by any reason, and I strongly condemn such terrorist acts. I express solidarity to the Indonesian Government and people.
I also express my deepest condolences to the families of all the victims, and express my heartfelt sympathy to those who were injured in the attack. At the Japan-Indonesia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting that was held for the first time recently, we shared the view that we will strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, and Japan intends to continue to cooperate with Indonesia in the area of counter-terrorism.
As far as we are aware at the present point in time, there are no Japanese among the casualties. Along with applying a greater sense of vigilance to domestic counter-terrorism, we also intend to utilize the Counter Terrorism Unit – Japan and other agencies and take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals overseas.
Terrorist bombing in Jakarta
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: My question concerns the terrorist attack in Jakarta. Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility. How is the background being analyzed?
Minister Kishida: I understand that the Indonesian authorities are still conducting an investigation into the details of the attack, including the connection between the claim of responsibility and this terrorist attack. However, acts of terrorism could never be justified by any reason, and Japan strongly condemns such terrorist acts.
The Government of Japan intends to coordinate closely with the international community and work firmlyto prevent terrorism.
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: Assuming that ISIL is responsible, I think it would also be possible to conclude a series of acts of terrorism occurred in the Middle East, Europe and other regions is also expanding toward Asia. There are a large number of Japanese residents in Jakarta, including Japanese corporations, and furthermore there may also be the concern that the terrorism will spread to Japan. What are your views in regard to that?
Minister Kishida: First, we intend to watch the investigation by Indonesia’s authorities attentively. And regarding the security situation, we must also firmly assess the situation and respond appropriately.
Since this attack occurred, the Government of Japan has been utilizing email, short message services (SMS) and other means to issue alerts to short-term travelers, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has posted overseas safety information and spot information on the Overseas Safety website. We have made these responses, but we also intend to continue to keep a close eye on the situation.
Japan-United States-Republic of Korea (ROK) Vice-Ministerial Consultation
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: In relation to North Korea, tomorrow the Japan-U.S.-ROK Vice-Ministerial Consultation will be held. What sorts of discussions do you expect to have, and what sorts of results are you hoping for?
Minister Kishida: Tomorrow, January 16, the Japan-U.S.-ROK Vice-Ministerial Consultation is scheduled to be held between Mr. Akitaka Saiki, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Tony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, and Mr. Lim Sung-nam, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK. Ahead of that, today I am also scheduled to receive courtesy calls from the officials who will attend the meeting.
At the meeting, to begin with we intend to exchange views on responding to the nuclear test by North Korea, and firmly confirm close coordination between the three countries, Japan, the United States and the ROK. I am aware that alongside that, an exchange of views regarding regional affairs will also take place.
I by all means believe that through this meeting, it is important to clearly demonstrate to the North Korean side our position that in light of such a provocative act, there is no way things can simply go on as before.
Chijiiwa, TV Asahi: When and where will the courtesy calls take place?
Minister Kishida: I am scheduled to receive the courtesy calls this evening, at the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Comfort women issue
Fukai, TBS: About the statement by Mr. Yoshitada Sakurada, a Diet member, yesterday regarding the comfort women. Although it was retracted while Japan-ROK relations have been improving, what is your view on the impact on the Japan-ROK relationship of such a statement being issued from within the party?
Minister Kishida: I will refrain from commenting on the statements of individual Diet members, but the position of the Government has not changed at all. The Japanese point of view was firmly expressed in the Japan-ROK agreement on December 28. It is my view that it is of the utmost importance that both Japan and the ROK securely implement the agreement.
Odanaka, Mainichi Shimbun: As Ms. Park Geun-hye, President of the ROK indicated in her New Year’s briefing, if critical opinions and disapprovinf voices are raised from the Japanese side, the environment will be one where implementation can be pretty difficult. What is your view of the fact that this statement has come out from within the party?
Minister Kishida: I would like to refrain from saying something about each and every thing, why that statement came out, its background, and so on. In any case, it is my view that confirming that this is a final and irreversible resolution between Japan and ROK regarding the comfort women issue is an epoch-making agreement. It is my view that faithfully implementing this agreement is of the utmost importance.
Lifting sanctions on Iran
Sakai, Nikkei Shimbun: Regarding the sanctions on Iran, there are reports that the United States and Europe will lift their sanctions as early as on 16th. Could you talk about the lifting of sanctions by Japan and what is the benefit, including positive impact on Japanese businesses, of this lifting of the sanctions?
Minister Kishida: Regarding the timing, the timing of the lifting of the sanctions and the like by other countries is being predicted, rumors are being passed around, so I would like to refrain at this point in time from talking about our own specific timing and the like. We intend to deal with the matter appropriately while keeping an eye on the movement in these countries and the like.
I believe that it should be welcomed that the agreement on the Iran nuclear issue will be securely implemented and positive activities in the international community will be resumed.