Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama

Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 4:35 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Japan's Friendship Ties Program

Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: Under JENESYS2017, the Japan's Friendship Ties Program, about 140 people, including university students from India and members of the media from Malaysia and China, are currently visiting various parts of Japan and are having opportunities to interact with people in the regions.

Under this same program, about 20 students and adults from the Republic of Korea will be visiting from October 27 and about 100 students from Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar will be visiting from October 31. They are going to visit Akita Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefecture, Hyogo Prefecture, and Yamagata Prefecture, and will tour related facilities and interact with Japanese students in the same age group on the theme of technology exchanges, among other topics. It is expected that through this program they will deepen their understanding of Japan from diverse angles and actively communicate the attractiveness of Japan.

Additional Dispatch of Public Private Research Team on Joint Economic Activities

Osawa, Kyodo Press: Tomorrow a public private research team will leave for the Northern Territories as a step toward fleshing out the Japan-Russia joint economic activities. Can you please share the thoughts or comments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the significance of dispatching the research team?

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The public private research team on joint economic activities will make an on-site visit from tomorrow, October 26, to October 31. It aims to give shape to the five project candidates agreed upon as initiatives that would be implemented promptly at last month’s Japan-Russia Summit Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

It is hoped that through the joint economic activities Japan and Russia can conclude a peace treaty based on the future-oriented approach of both coming up with a future vision for the Four Northern Islands and finding a mutually acceptable solution. We are also looking forward to the outcomes of this research.

Like last time, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Eiichi Hasegawa will be heading the team.

National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Kurashige, Asahi Shimbun: China’s new leadership was announced today. State Councilor Yang Jiechi became a member of the Politburo. This is the first time in 20 years for a person who has an experience in diplomacy to become a Politburo member. What impact do you anticipate on the diplomatic relations between Japan and China?

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The National Congress of the Communist Party was held until yesterday, and the first Plenary Session took place this morning. My understanding is that it selected a new leadership team with Mr. Xi Jinping as the party’s General Secretary. I would like to first offer congratulations to the people selected to the new leadership.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi was appointed as a member of the Politburo this time. I would also like to offer congratulations to the State Councilor Yang Jiechi too. He has worked to improve the relations between Japan and China as State Councilor in charge of foreign policy up to now. Japan hopes that he will continue to contribute to advancing the Japan-China relations as a Politburo member.

This year is the 45th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and next year is the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. Seizing these milestones as opportunities, together with Politburo Member Yang Jiechi and the new Chinese leadership, we will continue to seek further improvements to the relations from a broad perspective based on the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests” by property handling outstanding issues while also promoting cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in all areas.

Resolution on Improvement of the UNESCO Program

Ohashi, Sankei Shimbun: This was just discussed at the Chief Cabinet Secretary’s press conference earlier. A resolution on improvement of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program has recently been adopted. While it would apply to the next phase from 2019, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated that it calls for preventing politicization and emphasis on dialogue and should also be effective for the current round according to the press conference. While the resolution document has not been released yet, does it contain a basis for this assertion?

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: Japan has been working hard to ensure that UNESCO’s Memory of the World program adhere to UNESCO’s founding mission and purpose of promoting friendship and mutual understanding among member countries.

Within this context, the Executive Board of UNESCO unanimously approved a resolution on improvement of UNESCO’s Memory of the World program as noted by the Chief Cabinet Secretary. Japan considers this to be a major step forward and is pleased with this action.

The resolution calls on the Director-General and members of the IAC and other committees to adhere to the principles of dialogue and mutual understanding and respect and avoid future political tensions related to the Memory of the World program.

Japan will continue to give its utmost effort as a responsible member of UNESCO to ensure that all related parties respect this resolution and act in accordance with the resolution’s spirit.

Regarding whether the resolution applies to the current reviews, while various aspects of the program were undergoing detailed reviews, Japan believes that it can be effective in terms of guiding adherence to UNESCO’s founding mission and purpose of promoting friendship and mutual understanding among member countries.

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