Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 8:30 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Japan-ROK Relations (Japan-ROK Director-General-Level Talk)
Reporter: Today, this morning, there will be a Japan-ROK Director-General-Level Talk at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What do you aim to confirm for the implementation of the agreement between Japan and the ROK?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, is scheduled to hold a Japan-ROK Director-General-Level Talk with Mr. Chung Byung-won, Director-General of the Northeast Asian Affairs Bureau of the ROK. I would like to refrain from predicting the content of the discussions at this stage. However, I expect the two officials will engage in a frank exchange of opinions on various issues related to Japan and the ROK. I also imagine that they will confirm the current situation with the agreement between Japan and the ROK from the perspective of a follow-up and discuss opinions regarding the process of moving forward.
Reporter: What do you mean by the process of moving forward?
Minister Kishida: Japan and the ROK both need to sincerely implement the agreement reached by the two countries. Implementation is not finished yet. I expect an exchange of views regarding implementation plans.
Visit to Hiroshima by President Obama
Reporter: The advance team for Mr. Barack H. Obama, President of the United States, arrives in Hiroshima tomorrow according to recent media reports. Please explain the progress with schedule coordination ahead of the visit to Japan.
Minister Kishida: I have heard that the advance team will be arriving in Hiroshima soon, but believe the detailed timing is still being coordinated. I think the specific schedule and other details for President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will be coordinated up to the last moment following the arrival of the advance team in Hiroshima.
Reporter: This is related to President Obama. Susan Rice, the United States National Security Adviser, stated that the U.S. will not make an apology under any circumstances. While Japan is not requesting an apology for dropping the atomic bombs, what were your thoughts as a minister from Hiroshima when you heard this comment?
Minister Kishida: I think it is the strong desire of all victims of the atomic bombings that the tragedy of an atomic bomb never occurs again.
I consider President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima will offer an important opportunity to pray for the victims and gather international momentum toward realization of a world without nuclear weapons. Given the strong sense of mission of President Obama, I believe Japan, as the only country to experience wartime atomic bombing, should focus on firmly proceeding with realistic and practical efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons in cooperation with the U.S. rather than on whether there is an apology or not.
Japan-ROK Relations (Resignation by Presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-kee)
Reporter: I have a question regarding the agreement between Japan and the ROK. Media sources reported the other day that Mr. Lee Byung-kee, the Presidential Chief of Staff, who played a key role in the agreement, recently resigned from this position. Will the content of the agreement between Japan and the ROK be properly implemented? Is the sentiment advancing or is it retreating? Can you give an update on the current situation?
Minister Kishida: Presidential Chief of Staff Lee Byung-kee previously served as the ROK’s ambassador to Japan, and I believe he has a profound understanding of Japan. However, although there was a change in the person holding this position, I believe the ROK government’s stance toward the agreement has not changed at all. The importance of both the Governments of Japan and the ROK to sincerely implement the content of the agreement has not changed.
G7 Ise-Shima Summit
Reporter: I have a question about the Summit. Some media sources reported today that coordination is taking place for issuance of six related documents, including an economic initiative, at the Ise-Shima Summit. How is coordination proceeding at this point?
Minister Kishida: I think it has been already announced that the G7 aims to make action plans on terrorism and corruption. As to other documents, naturally coordination will be made up to the final moments and results from these discussions will then be announced.