Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, February 3, 2017, 8:40 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Visit to Japan by US Defense Secretary Mattis
Reporter: US Defense Secretary James Mattis is visiting Japan today. You will be meeting with him this evening. How do you characterize this meeting ahead of the Summit Meeting on February 10? What items do you want to confirm?
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: This visit by Secretary Mattis to Japan is coming very soon after the launch of the new administration, and I think it is meaningful in demonstrating the US commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. I welcome this visit and will be meeting with Secretary Mattis. It is important to begin by establishing personal trust with Secretary Mattis because we will be working together in a variety of ways, including at the “2+2.” Today will be our first meeting so I hope to engage in a broad exchange of views with the aim of building trust. I think such cumulative efforts will contribute to the Summit Meeting on February 10.
Reporter: Regarding the Summit Meeting on February 10, some media reports suggest that a ministerial meeting will be established for policy discussions on a broad range of areas, including trade, commerce, the economy, and security. Will you be discussing this topic too with Secretary Mattis today?
Minister Kishida: As I just mentioned, I hope to utilize today’s meeting to begin the process of building trust for working together with Secretary Mattis as the Foreign Minister.
Furthermore, nothing has been decided yet about the content of discussions at the Japan-US Summit Meeting. While various preparations for the Summit Meeting are naturally taking place, the content has not been decided yet.
Reporter: Just to confirm, has it been decided that you will be visiting the United States?
Minister Kishida: The Diet is currently in session so any decision on this must take into account the situation at the Diet and the Diet’s determination.
Inauguration of Secretary of State Tillerson
Reporter: Mr. Rex Tillerson has been officially inaugurated as Secretary of State. Do you have any plans such as holding a telephone talk with him?
Minister Kishida: I am aware that Secretary Tillerson was inaugurated yesterday, as you noted. While nothing has been decided yet regarding a telephone talk, I hope to speak with Secretary Tillerson by phone soon and also hope to have an opportunity to meet with him in person fairly soon.
Reporter: One month has passed since a comfort woman statue was installed in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Japanese Government took countermeasures. How do you assess the current situation? Also, what initiatives are you going to take to resolve this matter?
Minister Kishida: The comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Consulate in Busan is a violation of the Japan-ROK agreement and is regrettable. We have stated this many times. At this point, we are continuing to call for the faithful implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement and to highlight the important responsibilities of the Japanese and ROK Governments in carrying it out. We intend to continue to emphasize the importance of faithfully implementing the agreement. This is our current stance.
Reporter: You mentioned the “2+2” at the outset. Do you have any sense of the timing or schedule at this point?
Minister Kishida: Nothing has been decided yet. However, we have long held the “2+2” with the United States. I think it is important for Japan and the United States to build and advance relationships in a variety of areas and this is an important forum for dialogue in the fields of diplomacy and security. I expect the “2+2” to take place at an appropriate time.