Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 17, 2017, 8:49 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Japan-Russia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”)
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: On March 20, the Japan-Russia “2+2” will be held in Tokyo, and I will also engage in a Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov.
The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will take place in the morning on March 20. I hope to further advance discussions on joint economic activities in the Four Northern Islands, visits by former residents and others to the Four Northern Islands, among other subjects, toward the conclusion of a peace treaty, building on the outcomes of the vice-ministerial-level meeting being held in Tokyo tomorrow, March 18. We are also planning to exchange views on bilateral relations and pressing international issues.
The Japan-Russia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (“2+2”) are scheduled for the afternoon on March 20. We intend to conduct a frank discussion of the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and how to foster trust between Japan and Russia in the security field, from the perspective of fostering mutual understanding between Japan and Russia in light of increasingly severe regional conditions, such as the recent launches of ballistic missiles by North Korea.
Reporter: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe explained Japan’s position regarding resolution of the Northern Territories issue to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, yesterday, and received his support. Please explain the outcomes you hope to achieve in the “2+2”.
Minister Kishida: The Japan-Russia “2+2” is taking place for the first time since 2013. Regional security conditions, including the North Korea problem, are becoming increasingly severe. In light of these conditions, I believe it is very meaningful for the Foreign and Defense Ministers of Japan and Russia to promote mutual understanding. We intend to engage in discussions that yield firm results in relation to the security environment and conditions in the Asia-Pacific region, and also fostering trust between Japan and Russia.
Japan-US Foreign Minsters’ Meeting
Reporter: Yesterday you spoke with Secretary Tillerson on economic matters at the dinner event. I believe a framework is being formed for economic dialogue between US Vice President Mike Pence and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso. Could you please explain if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or you, as Foreign Minister, have any new proposals or intend to play some role?
Minister Kishida: We discussed cooperation between Japan and the US in economic areas at the Japan-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held yesterday. With regard to the new framework for economic dialogue that you mentioned, I explained my expectations and thoughts regarding further enhancement of the Japanese and US economies, and Japan and the US leading regional and global economic growth. In particular, on the topic of trade rules, I noted the importance of initiatives such as the TPP from a strategic perspective, and the need to create rules under the leadership of Japan and the US through a fair market. Secretary Tillerson expressed agreement on the importance of economic dialogue.
We intend to make robust preparations for the upcoming economic dialogue between Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will naturally be involved in various capacities with determining the subjects raised in the economic dialogue. With regard to the Government’s approach, the economic dialogue is a matter of consideration for the Government as a whole, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will of course be participating in a variety of capacities in relation to determining the content.
Reporter: I have a question about Moritomo Gakuen. Mr. Yasunori Kagoike, head of Moritomo Gakuen, claimed yesterday that he had received one million yen from Prime Minister Abe through Mrs. Akie Abe. Please explain your thoughts on this point and also what you expect to be achieved by the summoning of Mr. Kagoike as a witness to the Diet.
Minister Kishida: I am aware of media reports related to what you just mentioned regarding Mr. Kagoike’s remarks and the witness summoning. The summoning of a witness to the Diet was decided by the Diet and was decided from the perspective of how the Diet plans to proceed with discussions.
In any case, regarding the various points you raised, explanations have been given from political and government perspectives, and I think efforts to explain the situation should continue.