Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, June 2, 2017, 8:48 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
(1) Comment regarding the US announcement of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The United States announced that it is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
At the recent G7 Summit, various discussions were held on the Paris Agreement, and the G7 members, including Japan, noted that climate change is a global issue that requires a concerted effort by the whole of the international community and that it is important for developed countries to provide leadership, and explained to the United States the importance of its engagement.
In the Japan-US Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held on March 16, I mentioned the importance of initiatives by the international community in dealing with climate change, including the Paris Agreement, to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of the United States.
As Japan was hoping to work with the United States within the framework of the Paris Agreement, the recent announcement by the Trump administration on its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is regrettable.
The United States remains as the second largest emitter of the greenhouse gases and yet has advanced technology stimulated by innovation as well as policy measures in the area of the environment. Japan hopes to explore ways in which it can cooperate with the United States so as to effectively address the climate change issues. Japan will work with other Parties to the Paris Agreement for its steady and full implementation. Through such efforts, Japan will vigorously tackle this important issue of climate change.
(2) Visit to Ishikawa Prefecture
Minister Kishida: I will be visiting Ishikawa Prefecture with the diplomatic corps in Japan as part of the fifth round of the “Local to Global” Project from tomorrow, June 3, to June 4.
This visit aims to promote the attractiveness of the Hokuriku region and Ishikawa Prefecture to the world and contribute to the further revitalization of these areas through events, such as a tour of the Hyakumangoku Festival being held at this time, dialogue with local people, and a symposium at Kanazawa University.
North Korea Issue
Reporter: Regarding a sanctions resolution against North Korea, the United States and China submitted a sanctions resolution proposal to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Please explain your reaction.
Minister Kishida: North Korea has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles and conducted nuclear tests, ignoring successive UNSC resolutions. Under such circumstances, discussions have been taking place at the UNSC about what would be effective to ensure North Korea’s compliance with UNSC resolutions. My understanding is that some progress has been achieved in the discussions. While I would like to refrain from commenting on the specific content of the UNSC discussions at this point because it might interfere with negotiations and discussions, Japan is continuing to do its utmost to reach an early agreement, while cooperating with the United States and other UNSC members, in order to strengthen pressure on North Korea.
Comments by Russian President Putin on the deployment of US Forces to the Four Northern Islands
Reporter: President Vladimir Putin of Russia replied in an interview with media outlets that he has concerns about the deployment of US Forces if Japan had sovereignty over the Northern Territories. What is Japan’s view on the deployment of US Forces to the Northern Territories? Also, how does Japan plan to address these Russian concerns in negotiations with Russia? Please comment on these points.
Minister Kishida: My understanding is that President Putin made the comments that you just mentioned in response to comments and a question by a Japanese reporter about the possibility of US military deployment to the islands handed over to Japan in accordance with the Japan-US Security Treaty, if the islands are returned following the conclusion of a peace treaty.
Japan and Russia have been conducting frank dialogue on the issue of concluding a peace treaty, including between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Putin, and the Japan-Russia Summit meeting held in April confirmed specific progress on items agreed between the two leaders in December 2016. I believe the two leaders intend to continue constructive discussions on the issue of concluding a peace treaty. Given this context, I would like to avoid commenting on each comment made by President Putin communicated through the media. Japan intends to continue to persistently negotiate with Russia based on the consistent government policy of resolving the attribution of the Four Northern Islands and concluding a peace treaty.
Agreement Between Japan and the ROK
Reporter: I have a question about the agreement between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). I believe there is ongoing barren controversy about whether or not Prime Minister Abe and Secretary-General António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres of the United Nations discussed the content of the Japan-ROK agreement at their recent meeting in Italy. What is your view about the difference in expressions used by the Japanese Government and the United Nations? Additionally, the ROK side announced that it actually directly confirmed this point with Secretary-General Guterres and it was not discussed. Is the Japanese Government planning some type of response?
Minister Kishida: The content of the meeting you mentioned was what we already announced. It was nothing more or less than this. Japan’s announcement remains unchanged. Japan and the ROK reached an agreement, and Japan believes that it is important to continue to steadily implement the agreement, which has been valued by the international community.
Reporter: On the Paris Agreement, President Donald Trump is calling for a fair agreement. Is my understanding correct that Japan intends to remain in the Paris Agreement framework and will not participate in a framework that might be proposed by President Trump?
Minister Kishida: I do not have details about President Trump’s views of the Paris Agreement or stance on renegotiation or other approach, so I would need more information. However, Japan believes it is important to implement the Paris Agreement. The United States has major influence in relation to climate change, and Japan therefore wants to consider ways of cooperating with the United States in addressing the climate change issue.
Media reports on detention of a Japanese national in Dalian, China
Reporter: Some media sources are reporting today that a Japanese man in his 50s or 60s was detained in Dalian in late May. Please clarify the facts.
Minister Kishida: I would like to comment after confirming the situation.
Replacement of the Busan Consul General
Reporter: I have a question about the replacement of the Busan Consul General. Former Consul General of Busan Yasuhiro Morimoto, who was replaced, appears to have criticized the Government’s policy during the temporary return and this became an issue. Was this involved in the replacement decision? Please explain the related facts.
Minister Kishida: Personnel decisions are organizational matters and take place within the entire organization based on a comprehensive assessment of a variety of points. I would naturally like to refrain from commenting on these details.
Reporter: Regarding the Paris Agreement, China has indicated that it intends to support the Agreement. What are your thoughts about this stance?
Minister Kishida: Japan’s view is what I explained earlier. Japan considers that it is important to contribute to implementing the Paris Agreement while cooperating with the Parties. While various opinions might exist about the Agreement, more than 140 countries worldwide have concluded the Paris Agreement thus far. Furthermore, local governments and companies, not only the national government, are also striving to address climate change. I expect this major trend to continue.