Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, December 9, 2016, 8:54 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Reporter: Some media sources have reported on a delay of the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit targeted for this year. Please explain the current state of coordination.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Japan is the chair country for this year’s Japan-China-ROK Summit and is continuing coordination to hold the meeting within this year as the chair. However, a specific schedule and other details have not been decided at this point.
Reporter: December 12 marks the 60th year since the Joint Declaration by Japan and the Soviet Union took effect. Please share your thoughts on this timing and resolve toward finding a solution to the Northern Territories issue ahead of December 15.
Minister Kishida: While it has been 60 years since the Joint Declaration, the leaders of Japan and Russia agree that the fact that the two countries still have not been able to conclude a peace treaty is not a normal situation. Based on a conviction that this situation must be overcome, the two leaders have held multiple meetings and built a relationship of trust while making efforts to resolve the Northern Territories issue and conclude a peace treaty. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, will be visiting Japan on December 15, and Japan hopes to achieve progress step by step toward resolution of the peace treaty issue. Preparations continue to proceed at various levels for the visit even now. That is the current situation.
Reporter: I have a question for you as the chairman of the Koichi faction. There has been talk of an expanded Kochi faction recently, and leaders of the Tanigaki group and Aso group held a meeting yesterday that appears to have included discussion of a renewed combination. These groups both have roots in the Kochi faction. There have been media reports about a meeting between you and Mr. Taro Aso, Minister of Finance. Please explain your observations and thoughts about the expanded Kochi faction concept as the chair.
Minister Kishida: The term “expanded Kochi faction concept” has been talked about multiple times in the past. I believe it is fine to deepen interaction among factions and through various human relations, and this type of cooperation is important. However, I am not aware of any specific developments at this point. I think it will be considered through the continual interactions.