Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, February 3, 2017, 8:07 p.m. Central Entrance Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I just had the first meeting with Defense Secretary Mattis for about 50 minutes. In this meeting we exchanged views centering on the regional situations in the Asia-Pacific region, and we agreed on further strengthening the Japan-US alliance, amid the increasingly difficult security environment in the region. We also shared concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
Secretary Mattis made clear that the Senkaku Islands are in the territories under the administration of Japan, and are within the scope that is covered by Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty. Secretary Mattis also made clear that the US opposes any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands.
Further, we agreed on further strengthening cooperation between Japan and the US as well as among Japan, the US and the Republic of Korea for peace and security in Asia and the Pacific.
I will work together with Secretary Mattis to strengthen the Japan-US alliance on various occasions, including the 2+2 meeting. I think we had a very good start, also in light of developing a personal relationship of trust, by having a fruitful discussion at the first meeting.
Reporter: You said there were discussions on the East China Sea and the South China Sea. What discussion did you have on North Korea and China?
Minister Kishida: We took time and exchanged views on the regional situations, but I would like to refrain from commenting on details. I think we shared the recognition that the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region was becoming more difficult.
Reporter: Was there any discussion on the cost of the stationing (of the US Forces) either from the US side or the Japanese side?
Minister Kishida: There was no discussion on that matter.
Reporter: On the maritime security, the previous US administration took actions to show the presence of the US Forces on the South China Sea issue. Did Secretary Mattis or you refer to the presence of the US Forces?
Minister Kishida: Today, we exchanged views and shared our recognition on the regional situations. It means that we shared the view on the difficult security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. We exchanged such views.
Reporter: You said Secretary Mattis referred to the Senkaku Islands and said that the Islands are within the scope that is covered by Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty. How do you evaluate the comment?
Minister Kishida: We have repeatedly confirmed with the US government that the Senkaku Islands are under Japanese administration, and are within the scope that is covered by Article 5 of the Security Treaty. And I thought we would have to confirm with the new administration on this point on various occasions. Today, I confirmed it with Secretary Mattis in the meeting. I trust such US commitment, and I will continue to confirm this US position.