Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 8:52 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Visit to Japan by the President of the Philippines

Reporter: H.E. Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines will visit Japan from today. I would like to ask what your views are on the comments that President Duterte has made up to now, including with regard to the South China Sea issue and the extreme comments he has made thus far that are even causing concern that the Philippines’ relationship with the United States will deteriorate. Japan’s role will increase greatly, I expect. I understand that you will host a dinner meeting this evening. What sorts of outcomes do you hope to obtain using this opportunity for exchanging views?

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: President Duterte will make an official working visit to Japan from today until October 27. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the normalization of relations between Japan and the Philippines. Japan believes that the Philippines is an important partner with which it shares strategic interests. I believe and expect that this visit to Japan by President Duterte will be a remarkably meaningful visit in terms of deepening this bilateral relationship and partnership. Furthermore, President Duterte has made various comments, including with regard to relations with the United States. As Minister, I have a dinner meeting arranged today, and tomorrow a summit meeting is also scheduled. I believe it will be important to firmly pursue communication through opportunities such as this, and to listen to President Duterte’s ideas directly.

In any event, the relationship between the Philippines and Japan is very important, and ensuring the stability of that bilateral relationship is also directly connected to the peace, stability and prosperity of the regional and international communities. I intend to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the regional and international communities by solidly confirming the bilateral relationship, and ensuring its stability. Based on that perspective, I also hope to listen firmly to President Duterte’s ideas.

North Korea

Reporter: This question concerns independent sanctions against North Korea. It is being reported that a proposal is being considered to include the companies of third countries that North Korea trades with in the coverage of the sanctions, but I expect the biggest key to stopping North Korea from obtaining foreign currencies will be to stop companies from countries such as China from trading with it. Do you believe sanctions such as this will be effective in halting North Korea’s access to foreign currencies?

Minister Kishida: First, I believe it is important to exert strong pressure on North Korea while coordinating with the international community, and currently efforts are being advanced through the United Nations Security Council and other channels. Alongside that, countries are exploring independent measures while keeping an eye on the international situation as well, and Japan too is considering its independent measures. That is the situation. Where the content of those measures is concerned, you raised various points just now but Japan is still considering all possibilities with regard to the details of the measures, while looking at international circumstances also. Japan is also considering the timing. The contents have not been determined yet but we will continue considering all possibilities.

Comfort women issue

Reporter: This question concerns the comfort women issue. Following the Republic of Korea, statues of girls were established at a university in Shanghai, China. The statutes in the ROK, which reached an agreement with Japan, have not been removed yet, and in the midst of that situation this development is now occurring in China also. How does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intend to handle this?

Minister Kishida: The development that you mentioned does not contribute to improving the Japan-China relationship and it is regrettable, I think. I believe, after all, it is important to take a future-oriented approach to jointly address issues facing the international community rather than to focus excessively on the unfortunate history. I intend to continue to explain this position of Japan to China also.

North Korea

Reporter: Earlier you explained that in the independent sanctions against North Korea, all possibilities are still being considered. Am I correct in understanding that this means the coverage of those considerations includes independent sanctions against Chinese companies, for example?

Minister Kishida: The issue of taking measures against third party countries was deliberated at a Diet committee meeting recently. We are still considering all possibilities while taking discussions like that into account as well. Japan is currently implementing strong independent measures, and we are considering various possibilities, including expanding and strengthening those measures. In any event, nothing has been decided at present. It is under consideration.

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