Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Saturday, July 29, 2017, 10:20 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, July 29, commencing at 9:30 a.m. for approximately 30 minutes, I held a telephone meeting with Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State of the United States of America. Secretary Tillerson and I shared the recognition that North Korea’s provocative actions including the launch of an ICBM-grade missile late last night can absolutely not be tolerated and reaffirmed that it is necessary to apply maximum pressure on North Korea. In addition, I explained Japan's independent measures announced on July 28, which Secretary Tillerson welcomed. Furthermore we confirmed that Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will work closely together to adopt a new United Nations Security Councilresolution, including strict measures, and to encourage the involvement of China and Russia. Moreover, we shared the recognition that it is important to advance concrete actions to enhance the defense posture and capabilities of Japan and the United States for deterring the threat of North Korea, and reaffirmed the importance of the extended detterence of the United States. After this press conference, I am scheduled to also hold a telephone talk with Ms. Kang Kyung-wha, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK.
Reporter: This is the second ICBM launched by North Korea and I believe the situation is becoming increasingly severe. What were the exact words you used in expressing the severity of the situation to Secretary Tillerson?
Foreign Minister Kishida: As I mentioned in my press conference last night, as well as on other occasions, it is my recognition that in light of the most recent ballistic missile launch, the threat posed by North Korea is growing increasingly severe even compared with the previous launch. I discussed this recognition with Secretary Tillerson, while mentioning the specific details of the most recent ballistic missile launch. I would like to refrain from providing any further details.
Reporter: I have a question regarding Japan-US-ROK cooperation. I believe that the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers' Meetings will be held in August. Did you discuss holding a trilateral Japan-US-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on that occasion?
Foreign Minister Kishida: We did not confirm that detail. However, we have already recently held a Japan-US-ROK Summit Meeting. With regard to Japan-US-ROK cooperation, as I already stated, following on from Secretary Tillerson, I am also scheduled to hold a telephone talk with Minister Kang. I understand that close cooperation between the United States and the ROK is also taking place. I believe it is important to constantly confirm the cooperation of Japan, the United States, and the ROK in this manner. We intend to continue to thoroughly build up such efforts.
Reporter: Since yesterday, you have also assumed the position of Minister of Defense. Do you have any plans to hold a telephone talk with US Secretary of Defense Mattis?
Foreign Minister Kishida: Nothing has been decided at this point in time. While it may be important to hold in-depth discussions in each of the relevant fields among Japan, the United States, and the ROK, we intend to first promote communication at the foreign-ministerial level.
Reporter: In light of the way in which Minister Inada resigned from her position yesterday and the fact that you have assumed the position of Minister of Defense as a result, I believe that if the Government’s response to the latest missile launch were mishandled, the Government would have come under criticism. It has been over 10 hours since the launch, but what were your thoughts as you responded to the situation?
Foreign Minister Kishida: I responded to the situation with my utmost efforts, bearing in mind that we cannot allow there to be any gaps in our security. I do not believe there were any inadequacies in our response. I intend to continue to work hard.
Reporter: I understand that you are scheduled to communicate with the ROK side. Will that take place today?
Foreign Minister Kishida: As of now, it is arranged to take place sometime this morning.
Reporter: Will you be making a report to the Prime Minister?
Foreign Minister Kishida: I will do so as necessary. First of all, the next step is to hold a telephone talk with the ROK side. After doing so, I will report to the Prime Minister if necessary.