Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Public opinion survey on foreign policy
Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs conducts a public opinion survey in Japan on foreign policy each fiscal year. This fiscal year’s survey took place in February 2017. The results have been compiled, and I would like to report them.
The survey found “favorable” assessment by over 80% of respondents regarding efforts to strengthen Japan’s presence in the international community and proactively build a broad network as part of Japan’s “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map,” including visits to other countries by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. This result represents a further increase from last fiscal year.
With regard to areas in which Japan should strengthen ties with the new US administration under President Donald Trump, more than 70% selected “security” and the next highest choices were “counter-terrorism measures” and “economic and trade activities.”
Close to 70% of respondents had “favorable” assessments of Japan’s efforts as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
The latest survey results will be presented on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website in a few days. Please take a look for more details.
(2) Promoting campaign of registration on “Tabi-Regi” in the “Spring Safety Campaign for Overseas Traveling”
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: As part of the “Spring Safety Campaign for Overseas Traveling”, an event will be held on Monday, March 27, in Terminal 2 at Narita Airport to raise awareness and promoting registration on the “Tabi-Regi” overseas safety information e-mail distribution service operated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At this event, Shinichi Shinohara and Mayuko Kawakita, who are entertainers with extensive overseas experience, will discuss the importance of safety measures when abroad and the usefulness of Tabi-Regi for safety measures in a talk-show format.
The Japanese Nationals Overseas Safety Division of the Consular Affairs Bureau in charge of the event will provide a detailed explanation later. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hopes for the active covering of the event by reporters.
Public opinion survey on foreign policy
Sakamoto, NHK: I would like to confirm something in the public opinion survey in Japan. Responses to the question “in what areas should Japan promote cooperation with Russia,” “resolving the Northern territories issue” rose by about 14 percentage points and “expanding human and cultural interaction” climbed sharply, compared to March 2016. What do you think were the drivers or background of these increases?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The Japanese Government is earnestly promoting negotiations with the Russian side aimed at resolving the Northern territories issue at a variety of levels, including at the summit level, such as the visit to Japan by President Vladimir Putin in December 2016. From this perspective, these results are likely to support the promotion of Japan-Russia relations.
Sakamoto, NHK: Do you think that progress in a variety of political dialogues has boosted interest in this area?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: I do not think we are in a position to comment on the reasons. However, there appears to be awareness of progress in negotiations with the Russian side at various levels, including the summit level.
Sakamoto, NHK: Respondents noting the “increasingly severe security environment in East Asia” climbed to just under 90%. Please explain how you view this response.
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The Japanese Government has continued to explain that the security environment in East Asia is becoming increasingly severe. Additionally, the survey was conducted in February, and related events, including the situation in North Korea, seems to be reflected in the results. In any case, the results show that such awareness by the Government is shared by the public.
Lenin, Rossiyskaya Gazeta: The Japan-Russia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultation will take place next week. I have some questions about this meeting. Has the schedule been decided? Also, what topics will be addressed at the meeting?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: It is very important to advance dialogue on security matters with Russia, a neighboring country. The meeting will take place on March 20.
As to the content, Japan hopes to engage in constructive discussions from the standpoint of fostering mutual understanding between Japan and Russia to ensure peace and stability in the region, amid the increasingly severe security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, including actions by North Korea, which recently launched ballistic missiles.