Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 8:46 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultation (“2+2”) and Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Seventh Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultation (“2+2”) and a Japan-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of Australia will take place in Tokyo on April 20.
The Japan-Australia “2+2” will provide an opportunity to engage in frank discussion of recent pressing regional conditions, such as the North Korea issue, and ways of reinforcing security and defense cooperation between Japan and Australia.
This will be my 14th meeting with Foreign Minister Bishop. I hope to further deepen our discussions on strengthening even more the relations between Japan and Australia and cooperation in the international arena, building on the relationship of cooperation and trust that we have developed up to now.
Visit to Japan by U.S. Vice President Pence
Reporter: Vice President Mike Pence of the United States of America will be visiting Japan today. He is coming to Japan after a visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) amid heightened provocations by North Korea. What type of discussion will take place regarding the North Korea issue? Also, will there be discussion of economic sanctions or other measures as “pressure” in line with the government’s policy of using pressure to achieve dialogue?
Minister Kishida: During his visit to Japan, Vice President Pence will engage in economic dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss views. I expect these talks to deepen the Japan-U.S. relationship, including in economic and security areas.
Regarding North Korea, we intend to share recognition of North Korea’s nuclear and missile development that has reached a new threat level, communicate Japan’s view to strengthen the response in dealing with the North Korea issue, and firmly coordinate policy between Japan and the U.S. Japan will resolutely urge North Korea to refrain from making provocations and comply with multiple UN Security Council resolutions while working closely with the United States. We hope to promote this type of communication on the North Korea issue.
Reporter: Will new sanctions or other measures be discussed today as a policy approach?
Minister Kishida: I expect discussion of a variety of issues and topics. While I would like to refrain from discussing specific content, it is important to firmly coordinate policy between Japan and the U.S. through a frank exchange of views.
Comments by North Korean Ambassador Song Il Ho
Reporter: Mr. Song Il Ho, North Korean Ambassador, commented on the willingness of North Korea to discuss the issue of Japanese nationals left in North Korea if requested by Japan. At the same time, he stated that Japan would be the one to suffer if the Korean Peninsula becomes engulfed in flames. The comments may imply interest in dialogue by suggesting the need for dialogue. What is your perception of these comments?
Minister Kishida: I would like to refrain from addressing individual comments. There is no change to Japan’s approach of requesting fulfillment of the Stockholm Agreement and return of all Japanese abductees under a policy of “dialogue and pressure” and “action for action.” Japan intends to continue to review the most appropriate measures to urge the North Korean side to make constructive behavior based on this approach.
Reporter: Ambassador Song Il Ho asserts that the Stockholm Agreement no longer exists.
Minister Kishida: North Korea claimed in February 2016 that Japan abandoned the Stockholm Agreement, but it is completely unacceptable. As I just mentioned, Japan intends to continue to urge North Korea to fulfill the Stockholm Agreement.
60th Anniversary of the Kochikai
Reporter: The Kochikai is holding its 60-year anniversary party tomorrow. As Chairman of the faction, what are your thoughts on the Kochikai’s history and the significance of its presence amid tense international conditions? Please explain your views, including the meaning of tomorrow’s event.
Minister Kishida: The Kochikai will be holding a party to commemorate its 60-year anniversary. I think this is a good opportunity to consider our role as a policy group looking back at history and also toward the future.
Regarding international affairs, the Kochikai has continued undertakings with the emphasis on cooperation and dialogue in the international community as well as diplomatic power, including its Pan-Pacific concept. I think it is important to make contributions that enhance Japan’s diplomatic power in foreign affairs amid highly uncertain international conditions.