Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, July 14, 2017, 10:19 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Visit to New York
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I will visit New York from July 16-19 to attend the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
On July 17, I will give a presentation at the United Nations conference that highlights Japan’s initiatives toward realization of a diverse and inclusive society that “leaves no one behind.”
In the presentation, I will explain Japan’s promotion of the Public Private Action for Partnership (PPAP) and stance of emphasizing measures that focus on the next generation (children and young people).
On the night of July 17, Japan will host a reception, including participation by the entertainer Picotaro, as an opportunity for further expansion and strengthening of the PPAP for sustainable development.
The Passing of Mr. Liu Xiaobo
Reporter: Mr. Liu Xiaobo, who was a symbol of democratization efforts in China, passed away. Can you please explain your reaction?
Minister Kishida: I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on hearing the news of the passing of Mr. Liu Xiaobo, who dedicated his life to freedom and democracy and was awarded a Noble Peace Prize. As Japan has consistently stated, freedom, respect for basic human rights, and rule of law are fundamental values of the international community, and we believe it is important for these values to be guaranteed in China too. Japan intends to continue to closely watch human rights conditions in China with strong interest. We also believe that Mr. Liu’s wife should be treated appropriately from this perspective.
Reporter: Does “treated appropriately” imply that the Japanese government plans to call for her release?
Minister Kishida: Appropriate treatment in light of the international community’s fundamental values of freedom, respect for basic human rights, and rule of law should be given. This is what I stated.
Reporter: Regarding Mr. Liu’s situation, the United States, European countries, and others are strongly criticizing the Chinese government for banning unhindered medical treatment even after his condition worsened. What is Japan’s view from this perspective?
Minister Kishida: While the Government communicates its views to China through a variety of routes, I would like to refrain from commenting on the details.
Timing of the Japan-U.S. 2+2
Reporter: The Government is currently coordinating prompt arrangement of a 2+2 meeting with the United States as early as possible. Some media reports suggest that the meeting might take place as soon as mid-August. Please explain the current state of coordination.
Minister Kishida: The two sides have confirmed the importance of prompt arrangement of a 2+2 meeting as early as possible multiple times, including during the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ telephone talk. We are continuing coordination toward holding a meeting promptly. However, the detailed schedule has not been decided at this point. Japan will continue its efforts toward early arrangement.
The Cabinet Reshuffle
Reporter: You met for 20 minutes yesterday with Prime Minister Abe. Some media sources are reporting that you stated your intention to “give your full support to the administration.” Did such an exchange take place?
Minister Kishida: As explained since yesterday, I met with the Prime Minister to discuss his views on foreign affairs. The discussion covered foreign affairs.
Reporter: You also spoke about “giving your full support to the administration” at yesterday’s faction meeting. Do you intend to remain in the Cabinet and support the administration?
Minister Kishida: I stated at yesterday’s faction meeting that the faction intends to give its full support. Nothing more was said.
Reporter: Your faction has a number of people who have reached the suitable timing to join the Cabinet. How do you intend to approach this Cabinet reshuffle in your position as the Kochikai chairman?
Minister Kishida: The Kochikai has many talented people. I hope that they will have opportunities to fulfill their potential from the standpoint of selecting the right people for the right positions. While it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to make Cabinet reshuffle and personnel decisions, I hope talented people from Kochikai will play an important role.
Approval of Mr. William Hagerty as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Reporter: Mr. William Hagerty has been chosen to be the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Please explain your reaction.
Minister Kishida: The U.S. Senate approved Mr. William Hagerty as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan on July 13 (U.S. time).
The Japanese Government welcomes the approval of Mr. Hagerty, who is highly trusted by President Trump, as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan. Upon learning of the approval, I sent a message of congratulations to Ambassador Hagerty that expressed Japan’s commitment to the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the cornerstone of its foreign diplomacy and security and resolve to further strengthen the unwavering bond between Japan and the U.S.
I look forward to the prompt arrival of Ambassador Hagerty to take up his post in Japan and working together to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance.