Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8:49 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Explosion on the St. Petersburg Subway
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: An explosion occurred on a subway train in St. Petersburg in Russia on April 3. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to those who lost their lives in the explosion and their families. I would also like to extend my sincere sympathies to those who were injured and hope that they recover as soon as possible.
My understanding is that the Russian authorities are currently investigating the cause of the explosion. Such a despicable act cannot be tolerated for any reason, and Japan strongly condemns it.
The Government has not confirmed any injuries to Japanese citizens at this point. We have created a liaison team in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a local response headquarters at our Consulate-General in St. Petersburg. Japan will continue to collect information and take all steps necessary to protect Japanese citizens.
Reporter: The Minjoo Party of Korea has selected Moon Jae-in, who is calling for a review of the Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) agreement, as its official candidate in the ROK’s presidential election. Please explain your thoughts about this development and how Japan intends to seek the implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement by the next administration.
Minister Kishida: I would like to refrain from commenting directly on the point you mentioned in my position as Minister for Foreign Affairs as it involves the internal affairs and election of another country. That said, in any event, the ROK is Japan’s most important neighbor that shares strategic interests. I believe stable Japan-ROK relations are essential in ensuring peace and stability in the region.
I believe that we must work together with the ROK’s current administration and the new administration to stabilize Japan-ROK relations. Japan intends to steadily implement the Japan-ROK agreement and advance Japan-ROK cooperation in a variety of areas.
Reporter: Mr. Yasumasa Nagamine, Japan’s Ambassador to the ROK, will be returning to the ROK this afternoon. Please explain again what outcomes you are anticipating.
Minister Kishida: It has been decided that Ambassador Nagamine will return to the ROK today. As I have stated since yesterday, the ROK is scheduled to hold a presidential election on May 9. The Japanese Government reached this decision after comprehensively taking into account factors including the need to collect information and adequately prepare for the new administration amid the transition in ROK administrations, the importance of close information exchanges and collaboration at a high level between Japan and the ROK in relation to the North Korea issue, and the necessity of Ambassador Nagamine strongly promoting implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement directly to Mr. Hwang Kyo-ahn, Acting President of the ROK, in light of the lack of results thus far, and ensuring that the next administration firmly upholds the agreement.
In any case, Japan will continue to persistently urge the ROK Government to implement the Japan-ROK agreement and our principle remains unchanged. I would like Ambassador Nagamine to engage directly in such efforts upon his return to the ROK.