Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

Friday, March 10, 2017, 8:20 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Impeachment of ROK President Park Geun-hye and Return of Ambassador Nagamine

Reporter: Today, in the Republic of Korea (ROK), a ruling will be made on whether or not the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye is reasonable. Please explain the impact of the ruling on the Japan-ROK relationship and on the timing of the return to the ROK by Ambassador Yasumasa Nagamine.

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I would like to refrain from commenting on these points because they concern the internal affairs of the ROK. That said, the ROK is a very important neighbor that shares strategic interests, and therefore, we will closely monitor the situation with interest. With regard to the return of Ambassador Nagamine, the timing of the return is not decided at this time. We maintain our stance of making a decision based on a comprehensive assessment of various perspectives.

Japan-ROK Relationship

Reporter: I have a question related to the Japan-ROK relationship. A comfort woman statue has been set up in Bavaria, a state in Germany, for the first time in Europe. Please share your comment and explain whether the Japanese Government has lodged any protest to the ROK.

Minister Kishida: This took place in Germany. I am aware of the media reports about this development in a small town in Germany with a population of about 2,500 people. These activities related to the building of comfort woman statues in Germany, the United States, and other locations are contradictory to the Japanese Government’s position, and we feel such moves are very regrettable. The Government will continue to make contacts with various related parties and explain Japan’s position. We will continue to provide explanations.

Reporter: This is a question on the Japan-ROK relationship. Some ROK media reports are stating that officials from Japan’s Consulate-General and Embassy held a meeting with the mayor of Dong-gu and lodged a protest regarding moving the statue. Is this true?

Minister Kishida: The Japanese Government maintains communication with the ROK Government at a variety of levels. While I am not aware of the specific developments and details at this point, I understand that the ROK Government still maintains the stance that it is important to faithfully carry out the agreement between Japan and the ROK. I believe it is very important for both Governments to make efforts to faithfully implement the agreement between our countries that has been favorably received by the international community.

Japan-US Economic Dialogue (Visit by Vice-Minister-Level Officials to the US)

Reporter: I have a question about the Japan-US relationship. Some media reports are stating today that vice-minister-level officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries will visit the US to discuss the agenda of the economic dialogue by Vice President Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Aso. Please explain related facts and the current state of arrangements.

Minister Kishida: Vice-minister-level officials in charge from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will visit the US within this week to make arrangements in preparation of a new framework for economic dialogue agreed to at the recent Japan-US Summit Meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence.

Resignation of Parliamentary Vice-Minister Mutai

Reporter: Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office Shunsuke Mutai submitted his resignation yesterday. This is an effort to take responsibility for his comments. What are your thoughts about the comments and the Parliamentary Vice-Minister’s action? Do you see any impact on the Government’s running of the administration?

Minister Kishida: I am aware that Parliamentary Vice-Minister Mutai requested his resignation and it was accepted. I do not know the details of what was said and would like to refrain from commenting. Government officials need to continue to maintain discipline as they engage in the ongoing budget deliberations and other activities.

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