Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 8:48 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Distribution of the 2017 Diplomatic Bluebook at the Cabinet Meeting
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The summary of the 2017 Diplomatic Bluebook was distributed at the Cabinet Meeting. The new Diplomatic Bluebook reflects Japan’s diplomatic activities from last year and describes Japan’s leading role in global diplomacy in 2016 as the chair for the G7 Ise-Shima Summit and G7 Hiroshima Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
North Korea Situation
Reporter: Today is the anniversary of the Korean People’s Army. Some observers think North Korea might engage in provocations around this event. Please explain the Government’s analysis and response.
Minister Kishida: Japan is always gathering and analyzing information related to developments in North Korea with serious interest. However, I must refrain from discussing specific information because of the nature of the situation. Japan must respond through close collaboration with the United States, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and other related countries.
A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ministerial meeting on denuclearization of North Korea is scheduled to take place in New York on April 28. I hope to attend if circumstances in the Diet allow. It is important to urge North Korea to refrain from provocations and comply with multiple UNSC resolutions while cooperating with the United States and the ROK, as well as China and Russia, which have substantial influence over North Korea. Additionally, Japan is maintaining an elevated vigilance and surveillance structure to protect the lives and property of its people and is fully prepared to respond to any situation.
Reporter: What is the significance of you personally attending the meeting in New York that you just mentioned? Also, what do you want to address most at this meeting?
Minister Kishida: This is a UNSC ministerial meeting on North Korea so ministers are expected to attend from countries. We are still confirming the specific attendees. However, ministers from countries related to the North Korea situation will be gathering and Japan should have a minister in attendance, if possible, to improve mutual understanding and exchange views.
Regarding the content, while I cannot say anything definitive prior to the meeting, there should obviously be information sharing related to North Korea. The importance of China’s role was mentioned at the recent G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and in the Japan-U.S. summit telephone talk. I also anticipate discussion of how to effectively work on the North Korea side. In any event, the Government wants to engage in a frank exchange of views in regard to the North Korea situation in light of the current tense conditions.
Meeting of Japan-US-ROK Leading Officials to the Six-Party Talks
Reporter: Additionally, there is a meeting of leading officials from Japan, the U.S., and the ROK today. Please explain again the results and other matters you expect to accomplish at this event.
Minister Kishida: A meeting of leading officials to the Six-Party Talks from Japan, the U.S., and the ROK is held today, April 25. Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Kenji Kanasugi of Japan will serve as the chair. The meetings will involve a thorough exchange of views regarding recent conditions in North Korea and discussion of collaboration by Japan, the U.S., and the ROK and policy coordination.
Additionally, the Chinese government's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei will visit Japan from today through April 28. He will have a meeting with the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. Japan intends to fully exchange views with China as well.
Assistance for the Jandar Power Station in Syria
Reporter: I have a question about Syria regarding the thermal power plant that Japan is assisting through the United Nations Development Programme. Media reports suggest that it might be supplying electricity to military facilities. What is your view of the situation? You mentioned in 2015 that it is important to confirm how assistance is being used in regards to this case. Have you confirmed the situation or do you intend to confirm it?
Minister Kishida: I take it that your question refers to Japan’s assistance to the Jandar thermal power station in Syria. This assistance ensures the supply of electricity vital to the lives of Syrian people facing difficult living conditions amid the Syrian crisis. I believe the assistance is made as emergency, humanitarian aid to address the humanitarian conditions in Syria that are being called the worst of this century.
Regarding the importance of confirming how the electricity is used, my understanding is that electricity supply by this plant is being broadly transmitted to Syrian people at medical, educational, and other facilities through the domestic power grid system. I have confirmed that the supply of the electricity is limited to specific facilities.
Diplomatic Bluebook 2017
Reporter: The Diplomatic Bluebook was distributed at the Cabinet Meeting today. It mentions that North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities have reached a new level of threat. Could you directly explain why this is being asserted?
Minister Kishida: The Bluebook explains that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile developments have reached a new level of threat. This reflects North Korea’s provocations since last year of conducting two nuclear tests and launching over 20 ballistic missiles as well as repeated ballistic missile launches this year. Besides the number of events, the context has changed too with utilization of mobile SLBM launchers and launching multiple missiles at the same time. Furthermore, North Korea itself is claiming to have succeeded in development of a miniaturized nuclear warhead. The expression that the threat has entered a new stage clarifies our understanding in light of these activities.