Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura
Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 4:40 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Press Secretary and Director-General for Press and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The wide area information on the Zika virus has been distributed to you. Today I do not have any opening remarks.
Comments by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov
Odanaka, Mainichi Newspaper: Mr. Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, held an annual press conference yesterday. He explained that the peace treaty negotiations and the territorial issue are not synonymous and then stated that the Japanese Government should accept the results of the previous war. Could you once again explain the position of the Japanese Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and also could you indicate whether Japan plans to take any action, such as lodging a protest in Tokyo or locally, or has already done something, in light of Minister Lavrov’s comments?
Press Secretary Kawamura: Regarding the first question on the Japanese Government’s position, Minister Lavrov was making comments yesterday at a press conference while mentioning dialogue thus far between Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, and Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation. My understanding is that in his comments he expressed his intention to advance Japan-Russia relations in a wide range of fields.
However, Japan can of course not accept the aforementioned comments on the territorial issue.
As you know, Japan and Russia have yet to conclude a peace treaty because we have not resolved the territorial issue. The core issue for negotiations on concluding a peace treaty hence is resolving the sovereignty of the four northern islands, in other words the territorial issue itself. The Government therefore totally cannot accept Minister Lavrov’s comments.
However, regarding our relations with Russia, the Government has been building up steady political dialogue to foster Japan-Russia relations that contribute to Japan’s national interests. There has been no change to our position of continuing to pursue territorial negotiations within this context.
Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, already addressed the question of a protest or some other action this morning. The Government is not thinking about any particular actions.
Nakakuki, Kyodo Press: I think Japan lodged protests in the past when Russian senior officials made comments about territorial negotiations stating that they would not link a peace treaty with territorial negotiations. Is there a reason for not taking some type of action this time?
Press Secretary Kawamura: Japan’s basic stance is to take the most appropriate action on a case by case basis in light of the circumstances at the time. However, I believe the Government has stated each time that nothing has changed in its fundamental position related to the territorial issue and conclusion of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia, as I just explained.
Japan also expresses its position at each opportunity for Japan-Russia dialogue, including at the high level or working level. There has been no change to Japan and the Government’s consistent position, regardless of what action is taken or what specific expression is used.