Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 8:48 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Japan-Russia Summit Meeting

Reporter: We have reached the final stage ahead of the Japan-Russia Summit Meeting that is being held the day after tomorrow. With the final coordination still underway right until the very end, are there any specific consultations planned for the coordination, such as at the vice-ministerial level? Also, will you hold a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in parallel to the meeting?

Mr.Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: President Vladimir Putin will be visiting Japan the day after tomorrow, and we are currently actively exchanging information in preparation. While preparations and coordination still continue at a variety of levels, I have not been informed that specific schedule are decided, such as a meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov. I expect the coordination of the schedule to continue up to the very end.

Reporter: Will you be going to Yamaguchi?

Minister Kishida: Yes, I will go to Yamaguchi. I will travel with Prime Minister Abe to Yamaguchi and will welcome President Putin.

Reporter: Is there any possibility that you will attend the Summit Meeting?

Minister Kishida: I will be at the Summit Meeting.

Japan-China-ROK Summit Meeting

Reporter: I have a question about the Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit. In light of the passage of the motion to impeach Ms. Park Geun-hye, President of the ROK, the situation has quite frankly become very difficult. Where do things stand at this point in time?

Minister Kishida: As the chair country, Japan has been working to hold the Japan-China-ROK Summit sometime this year. However, in light of various circumstances, we will re-adjust and intend to hold the meeting in Japan at an appropriate time next year.

Reporter: Japan has been coordinating the meeting as this year’s chair country. What will happen next year?

Minister Kishida: I expect Japan to continue coordinating as the chair country for the next summit.

Reporter: What is the general outlook for timing?

Minister Kishida: Nothing specific has been decided yet. While we obviously need to discuss this with China and the ROK, we plan to hold the meeting at an appropriate time next year.

Reporter: I have a question regarding Japan, China, and the ROK. I believe that coordination efforts for the meeting have been made as one in which the three countries will discuss areas of cooperation. What type of impact do you expect from not being able to hold the meeting this year?

Minister Kishida: I believe it is difficult to say anything definitive about a specific impact. The framework of holding dialogue among our three countries is very important. We concluded that it would be difficult to hold the meeting within this year because of various circumstances, but hope to arrange a meeting as soon as possible through coordination with China and the ROK.

Reporter: Regarding holding the summit meeting next year, have you already reported this to China and the ROK? Has contact been made from Japan?

Minister Kishida: We obviously have been working closely with China and the ROK to ensure understanding of this decision.

Reporter: Has you received consent from China and the ROK to hold a meeting in Japan next year?

Minister Kishida: We are obviously pursuing a shared understanding for this course of action.

Japan-Russia Summit Meeting

Reporter: Yesterday, Prime Minister Abe mentioned the goal of resolving the issue of negotiations with Russia in “my generation.” Do you share this goal? Also, what specifically does “my generation” mean? How do interpret this?

Minister Kishida: Regarding resolution in “my generation,” the point is that the Northern Territories issue, or issue of concluding a peace treaty, is very difficult and has not been resolved up to now despite 71 years of various efforts. Also, the fact that it is a difficult problem means that it cannot be settled easily in a single meeting and progress must be made step by step. This is what both Prime Minister Abe and I have been saying up to now. I think the comment about resolution in “my generation” fits with what I just explained. It is not an easy issue that can be resolved in a single meeting and requires step-by-step progress. I believe this is what the comment indicated.

Reporter: So it is not a reference to specific timing?

Minister Kishida: I believe that it is natural to think that efforts have to be made in our generation in light of the aging of the former islanders.