Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, February 5, 2016, 8:45 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening remarks

Signing of the Bilateral Investment Agreement between Japan and the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Regarding the Bilateral Investment Agreement between Japan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Cabinet decided at this morning’s meeting to approve the signing of the Agreement. I intend to conduct the signing with Dr. Ali Taiebnia, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran, who is currently visiting Japan, this evening. Japan and Iran announced that both countries had reached an agreement in principle during my visit to Iran in October 2015, and I am very pleased to be signing the Agreement today.

The Government intends to provide support for Japanese companies by making efforts to improve the business environment, such as the early conclusion of this Agreement, work to further broaden economic relations between Japan and Iran, and provide indirect support for the fulfilment of the Final Agreement on Iranian Nuclear Issue, towards achieving peace and stability in the Middle East.

North Korea’s missile launch

Fujita, Fuji Television: There are three days left until the declared missile launch by North Korea. What is your view at this point? While Japan is urging North Korea to exercise restraint, the North Korean side does not seem to care at all. What are your thoughts on ways to urge genuinely effective restraint?

Minister Kishida: North Korea declared that it intends to launch a missile, which it calls a “satellite,” sometime during February 8 to 25. While February 8 is approaching, the Government plans to continue making all possible efforts to gather and analyze information, and work as one to protect the safety and security of the Japanese people. I also think close cooperation with the international community is important in this effort. I believe we need to continue making steadfast efforts to send a stronger message to North Korea and to urge North Korea to exercise restraint, while coordinating with the international community. On February 3, I discussed this with the Ambassador of the United States to Japan, and Mr. Akitaka Saiki, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, spoke to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Japan and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Japan. Furthermore, on February 4, Mr. Seiji Kihara, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, spoke with the ambassadors to Japan of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, spoke by phone with representatives to the Six-Party Talks from the United States and the Republic of Korea. We intend to continue confirming the situation in this manner through close cooperation at a variety of levels. The Government will continue monitoring conditions.

Foreign Minister Kishida to Visit Canada

Fujita, Fuji Television: Some media sources are reporting that you will be visiting Canada next week. What topics are planned for the Japan-Canada Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and what other countries do you plan to visit besides Canada?

Minister Kishida: Nothing has been specifically decided yet regarding my overseas visits, including a visit to Canada.

Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-level Consultation

Fujita, Fuji Television: There are media reports about plans for a Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-level Consultation at the end of the month. Prime Minister Abe had a summit telephone call with President Putin last month and they discussed an unofficial visit to Russia, among other matters. What are the topics for the Vice-Ministerial-level Consultation and do you have any plans to visit Russia?

Minister Kishida: We have shared the view that a Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-level Consultation would be held during February. We are proceeding with coordination to that end. However, the specific timing of the consultation itself has not been determined yet. Regarding the content, the meeting will involve discussions covering the full range of Japan-Russia relations and also address negotiations for concluding a peace treaty. I cannot say anything definite about other content at this stage.

Current state of the Security Council resolution concerning North Korea

Chijiwa, TV Asahi: Tomorrow will mark one month since North Korea conducted its nuclear test, and the Security Council continues to discuss sanctions. What is your outlook?

Minister Kishida: Various countries are continuing to engage in discussions and opinion exchanges from a variety of positions. While the process is taking time due to differences in positions, we intend to actively pursue adoption of a strong new resolution. I cannot indicate anything firm regarding a specific outlook at this point.