Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 9:47 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Visit to the ROK by LDP Secretary-General Nikai
Reporter: Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) met with President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) yesterday. Regarding the Japan-ROK agreement on the comfort women issue, President Moon Jae-in stated it was true that the ROK people have feelings that they can’t easily accept the agreement. Please explain your thoughts on this point.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: My understanding of the meeting between Secretary-General Nikai and President Moon Jae-in is that Secretary-General Nikai delivered a letter and then the two sides confirmed that their leaders wish to maintain communication with each other. Regarding your point, the Japan-ROK agreement is something that Japan and the ROK agreed upon. It is also valued by the international community. Japan considers that it is important to steadily implement the agreement, and our view has not changed.
Dialogue Session with UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression Kaye
Reporter: At the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, Mr. David Kaye gave a report that expressed particular concern over the situation of freedom of expression in Japan. What is your view regarding the fact that Mr. Kaye gave this type of report despite the Japanese Government’s repeated explanations to Mr. Kaye?
Minister Kishida: The UN Human Rights Council held a dialogue session with Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye on June 12. Ambassador Junichi Ihara of the Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva expressed regret that the Special Rapporteur wrote the content in the report without an accurate understanding of the position of Japan, and explained Japan’s position. Japan intends to continue to carefully explain the Government’s position.
25th Anniversary of the Passage of the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations
Reporter: I have a question about peacekeeping operations (PKO). It will be almost 25 years since the passage of the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations. Please explain your assessment of Japan’s activities up to now. Also, Japan currently has no peacekeeping dispatches following the withdrawal of the engineering unit from South Sudan. Please share your thoughts about the means of peace cooperation, including future dispatches.
Minister Kishida: During the 25 years, Japan has dispatched a total of about 12,000 people on 27 missions under the Act on Cooperation with United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and Other Operations, including Cambodia, Timor-Leste, the Golan Heights, and Haiti, contributing to global peace and stability. We view that the people and governments of countries receiving the dispatches and the international community have highly valued Japan’s efforts.
The act passed under the Miyazawa Cabinet. This happened just before I had my first election so I watched with keen interest. I remember the all-night Diet session, delaying tactics, such as walking slowly to cast votes, and vigorous debate. I’m also aware that 25 years later public opinion polls show 80% support for PKO. The general public’s view of PKO seems to have changed significantly during these 25 years.
Regarding future PKO, Japan must continue to make suitable international contributions while taking into account assessment of PKO up to now and understanding of the general public. It needs to consider detailed initiatives related to PKO from this perspective.
Maritime Survey by a Russian Ship in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone
Reporter: In the news today, it has been reported that Russia might have conducted survey activities in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in waters off Cape Soya. Pleases explain the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) reaction and confirm related facts and whether Japan has protested this action.
Minister Kishida: A patrol boat of the Japan Coast Guard confirmed by eye a Russian ship towing something like a wire in Japan’s EEZ in waters off Cape Soya in Hokkaido at about 11:31 am on June 5. In response, MOFA conveyed to the Russian Embassy in Japan that if this ship was conducting a maritime scientific survey or search for resources in Japan’s EEZ or continental shelf, such behavior without Japan’s prior consent or approval is unacceptable. Additionally, the Japan Coast Guard’s patrol boat delivered the same message to the boat. My understanding is that this Russian boat subsequently left Japan’s EEZ. Japan will continue to closely monitor activities in its surrounding waters.