Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 9:36 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

House of Representatives Election

Reporter: I would like to start with a question about the election results. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito won a combined 313 seats or over two-thirds of all seats. Please share your thoughts on these results.

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Thankfully the ruling coalition won a majority of the seats and retained the confidence of the people. We must continue to run the administration with a sense of modesty after being given responsibility for this many seats.

Reporter: You just stated your intention to run the government with a sense of sincerity. Prime Minister Abe also mentioned taking a humble and sincere approach in running the administration yesterday. In this regard, what specific actions do you think are needed in the foreign policy area?

Minister Kono: In terms of foreign policy, the North Korea crisis is still ongoing. There are also many other issues of concern. We have received the trust of the people, and I believe that it is important to carefully consider their happiness and the future of Japan and to steadily fulfil our responsibilities one by one.

North Korea Situation

Reporter: On the North Korea situation, it is being reported that the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau commented at the international conference in Moscow that Japan is continuing to try to engage with the Director-General from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry and that North Korea is continuing to conduct behind-the-scenes dialogue with the United States. What is your understanding of the diplomatic situation related to North Korea at this point?

Minister Kono: The international community is moving as one to firmly apply pressure on North Korea. The international community must remain united in firmly applying pressure on North Korea, and ensure that the North Korean regime realizes that nuclear and missile developments are meaningless and that for the sake of its future North Korea should end its nuclear and missile developments and come to the negotiating table.

Reporter: Are you suggesting that it is not time for dialogue yet?

Minister Kono: I think North Korea must clearly demonstrate its willingness to abandon nuclear and missile activities.

Foreign Policy Outlook

Reporter: The stabilization of the Government’s base should make it possible to formulate strategy from a mid-to-long-term perspective. Could you please explain once again how you will implement Kono diplomacy?

Minister Kono: While North Korea is a major issue in the near term, I believe that we must of course work on the Japan-China, Japan-Republic of Korea, and Japan-Russia relations, while also making a deeper commitment to the Middle East, and actively addressing various global issues, such as climate change.

Draft Resolution on Eliminating Nuclear Weapons

Reporter: On Friday, Japan released a video message that seeks understanding for the resolution on eliminating nuclear weapons. Please explain once again what the aims behind this are.

Minister Kono: The Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons was unfortunately unable to gain the approval of nuclear-weapon-states and has also created a divide among non-nuclear-weapon-states. While the Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons is very meaningful in terms of promoting a broad understanding of the importance of nuclear disarmament, this treaty alone cannot realistically advance nuclear disarmament due to the lack of support from nuclear-weapon-states and various countries facing nuclear threats. Japan thinks that, realistically speaking, it is important to obtain a clear demonstration of the will of the international community, including nuclear-weapon-states, to make a renewed commitment to the importance of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Japan’s proposed resolution seeks to obtain a clear demonstration of the will of all states, including nuclear-weapon-states, states that voted in favor of the Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons and states that voted against it, to make a renewed commitment to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. The countries that have proposed this draft resolution with Japan already include members from each of these three aforementioned groups, and Japan hopes to make a broad appeal.

Reporter: Did Japan release the video message because it felt that the resolution is still not sufficiently understood at this stage?

Minister Kono: We wanted to clearly state our aim of obtaining commitments to the importance of nuclear disarmament from all groups, including nuclear-weapon-states.

Assistance for Afghanistan

Reporter: I have a question about Afghanistan. Japan is one of the countries giving assistance to the training of security forces. However, the U.S. Special Inspector General announced that some of these funds might have gone toward training police officials who do not exist and other improper purposes. What are your thoughts?

Minister Kono: I will look into it.

House of Representatives Election

Reporter: You received the largest number of votes in this election, even surpassing Shinjiro Koizumi. How do you feel about this?

Minister Kono: I am grateful.

First Cabinet Meeting following the Election

Reporter: Today the Cabinet held its first meeting since the conclusion of the election. Did the Prime Minister offer any specific instructions at the meeting?

Minister Kono: Today’s meeting proceeded normally and a variety of matters were discussed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had various items and these were addressed in normal fashion.

Reporter: What were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ items?

Minister Kono: There were various items.

Back to Press Conferences