Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, September 29, 2017, 10:15 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

45th Anniversary of the Normalization of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and China

Reporter: There was a reception for the 45th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic relations between Japan and China last night. How does Japan intend to engage with China amid the need for the international community to demonstrate a united front in dealing with the issue of North Korea? Also, please explain the Japan-China relations.

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: In repeated meetings and telephone talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, China has been agreeing that the ultimate goal is denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. China also voted in favor of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and agreed at a considerably early stage after North Korea’s nuclear test and missile launch to a Security Council resolution and issuance of the presidential statement. In this respect, the international community is currently working together to put pressure on North Korea with the aim of obtaining a declaration from North Korea that it will stop nuclear and missile activities and come to the dialogue table. I believe this effort is proceeding in a unified manner.

Regarding the Japan-China relations, Japan is currently in the coordination process for a trilateral Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) summit meeting in Tokyo within the year as the chair country for the summit meeting. I am making adjustments now to visit China as soon as possible. I expect substantial improvement in the Japan-China relations.

House of Representatives Election

Reporter: I have a question about the Party of Hope. Mr. Seiji Maehara, President of the Democratic Party, met this morning with Ms. Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo. Some people have criticized this as an inappropriate alliance because they are not monolithic on a foreign policy stance. Please explain your personal view.

Foreign Minister Kono: Amidst the current North Korean crisis, Japan is sharing with other countries a variety of secret intelligence protected by the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, and analyzing conditions as the basis for decisions. Even if opposition party members who opposed the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets and resisted the Legislation for Peace and Security say that they approve in order to obtain party certification, if Mr. Yukio Edano, for example, is selected as the party president, it seems extremely ambiguous if they would all then disapprove.

Japan would not be able to address the current North Korean situation without the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets. Furthermore, the Legislation for Peace and Security is enabling Japan to implement supply activities to the U.S. military and U.S. fleet operating in the Sea of Japan. I am sure many Japanese people are thinking about what might have happened if current conditions occurred without having this ability.

I believe a key point of debate in this election is whether to maintain the national security framework based on the Japan-U.S. Alliance that has been built in postwar years by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and LDP-Komeito government, or to switch to a very ambiguous approach.

45th Anniversary of the Normalization of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and China

Reporter: Regarding the Japan-China relations, today (September 29) is the 45th anniversary of the normalization of the Japan-China diplomatic relations. I believe you exchanged a congratulatory message with the Chinese side. You also mentioned a visit to China. Please explain the aim of visiting China and the vision that Japan has for the relations and the type of relations that Japan wants to build with China.

Foreign Minister Kono: I would like to visit China as soon as possible, and believe it is necessary to discuss various bilateral issues between our countries. It is very important that Japan and China, as the world’s third and second largest economies respectively, begin working side-by-side to deal with global-scale issues including climate change. I hope to begin moving in this direction.

Reporter: Could you explain the purpose of visiting China in more detail?

Foreign Minister Kono: As I just mentioned, I want to discuss various bilateral issues and also get things moving in the direction of Japan and China working side-by-side to deal with global issues.

House of Representatives Election

Reporter: Finally the election has effectively started. Please explain how you intend to balance election activities and crisis management amid the situation with North Korea. How does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plan to approach this?

Minister Kono: The Chief Cabinet Secretary and Defense Minister will remain in Tokyo during the election period to provide readiness for any situations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have the State Ministers and the Parliamentary Vice-Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Tokyo likewise when I am out of the country. I will return if necessary or prepare to conduct telephone talks from where I am.

Reporter: Can you please tell us if you have any directions to give to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Foreign Minister Kono: We will continue to maintain robust crisis management readiness within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as has been done up to now, without losing focus because various situations could occur in North Korea or elsewhere.

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