Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama
Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 4:39 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan-Turkey Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: This evening, Foreign Minister Kishida will hold a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, who is visiting Japan upon invitation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs from June 20 to 22. The Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be followed by a joint press announcement and working dinner. This is the first time in 14 years, since 2003, that a Turkish foreign minister is visiting Japan upon invitation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Japan and Turkey have been friends historically, but what is more, Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu is also known to be one of the most Japanophile persons in Turkish political circles, having served as Chairman of the Turkey-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Caucus.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Japan is expected to further strengthen the bilateral relations between Japan and Turkey.
Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit and Japan-China Summit
Caixin Media, Masutomo: I have two questions. One is about the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, which is scheduled to be held as early as late July. It has been reported that China has not yet responded. What are the prospects of the summit taking place at that timing? Secondly, I believe Japan and China have been making arrangements for a long time to hold a Japan-China Summit on the margins of the G20 Summit at the beginning of next month. Is that summit fixed, and if so, what types of matters will be discussed? For example, will there be discussion about the Chinese economic initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and “One Belt, One Road”? In addition, will be there be discussion about mutual visits by the leaders of Japan and China into next year? These are my two questions.
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The timing of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit has not yet been decided. Therefore, I have nothing more in particular to say on this subject. In relation to bilateral meetings on the margins of the G20 Summit, it has been agreed to hold a meeting with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and we are now making arrangements to hold a meeting with Russia. Apart from this nothing has been decided yet.
Since you referred to the AIIB, I would like to make one comment about the position of Japan. Japan will continue to closely follow the operations of the AIIB, such as whether or not the AIIB can establish fair governance, whether the debt of borrowing countries is sustainable, and whether environmental and social considerations are being made.
Special Grave Visit by Plane
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Lenin: I have a question about Japan-Russia relations. The other day charter flights from Hokkaido’s Nakashibetsu Airport to Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands were cancelled as it was thought that flying would be difficult due to weather conditions. According to the Japanese media, the Japanese Government plans to reschedule with Russia. Has anything been decided? When will new flights be possible?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: Japan and Russia agreed to realize special grave visits by plane as an outcome of the Japan-Russia Summits held last December and in April 2017 based on the wishes of the former island residents, and preparations were made with the cooperation of relevant persons.
It is very regrettable that the special grave visit was not realized this time due to bad weather. We continue to believe that grave visits by plane have significance from the perspective of reducing the physical burden on former islander residents and other humanitarian aspects. We will once again make arrangements to realize the grave visit, also taking into account the wishes of the former island residents.
You asked about the timing. At this point in time nothing has been decided yet concerning the timing of the next special grave visit by plane. However, as I mentioned earlier, we believe these visits have significance from the perspective of reducing the burden on former island residents who are at an advanced age, and therefore, we recognize the importance of realizing the visit. We will once again make arrangements to realize the grave visit, also taking into account the wishes of the former island residents.
Kyodo News, Hayashi: A short while ago there were reports that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has been deposed and that Minister of Defense and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been promoted. There is a view that this will strengthen the hardline stance taken towards countries such as Iran with which there are hostile relations. Would you please advise how you think this will impact the Middle East situation and Japan-Saudi Arabia relations?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: I am aware of the reports you mentioned. Japan is closely following the situation. I would like to refrain from commenting on this matter.