Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Tuesday, January 9, 2018, 10:13 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office
Visits to Myanmar, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: If circumstances permit, I am visiting Myanmar, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada during January 11-18.
On the Myanmar visit, I am going to meet with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in chief of the Defence Services, and would like to discuss democratic nation-building in Myanmar as well as improvement of humanitarian and human rights conditions in Rakhine State.
In the United Arab Emirates, I am planning to attend the eighth session of the assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and communicate Japan’s advanced initiatives in renewable energy and new energy to the international community. I am also scheduled to meet with Director-General Adnan Z. Amin of IRENA, attendees from various countries, and government officials from the United Arab Emirates.
In Canada, I plan to attend a meeting on North Korea among the foreign ministers of related countries. I held a telephone talk with Foreign Minister Freeland of Canada, this morning to tell her this. At the meeting, I will emphasize the importance of raising the pressure on North Korea to the highest level with solidarity of the international community and maintaining this stance.
North-South High Level Officials’ Meeting
Reporter: I have a question about North Korea. A meeting is taking place today between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea regarding participation by North Korea in the Pyeongchang Olympics. What type of impact do you expect from this on North Korea’s policy change and other issues?
Minister Kono: I think it is positive that North Korea is expressing its interest in participation because the Olympics are an event for peace. As part of this initiative, it is important to send a firm message from the international community and encourage North Korea’s regime to understand that the future of its current policy is not bright.
Announcement of the ROK’s Approach to the Japan-ROK Agreement
Reporter: The ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to announce measures today based on the results of the taskforce to review the negotiation on the Japan-ROK agreement. Some media sources are reporting that it will ask for additional measures from Japan and this might effectively entail renegotiation. How does Japan intend to respond?
Minister Kono: The Japan-ROK agreement was agreed upon to be “final and irreversible” during the tenure of former Foreign Minister Kishida, and it is highly appreciated by the international community, and thus I believe it is important for both countries to steadily implement the agreement. There is no change to Japan’s stance of urging the ROK to steadily implement the agreement.
Reporter: Regarding the Japan-ROK agreement, how will Japan respond if the ROK expresses its intention to return the 1 billion yen contributed by Japan?
Minister Kono: Japan will not change its stance of urging steady implementation of the Japan-ROK agreement because it is “final and irreversible.”
Reporter: Does that mean Japan would reject this type of request or expression of intent?
Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from answering hypothetical questions.