Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 8:39 a.m.   Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

U.S. Vice President Pence to Visit Japan

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Some media reports are suggesting that a joint document will be issued when Vice President Pence visits Japan. However, there is no such fact at all.

U.S. Vice President Pence to Visit Japan

Reporter: I imagine that cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) and other topics related to the issue of North Korea will be discussed with Vice President Pence. Specifically, what topics do you hope to discuss?

Minister Kono: I believe various discussions will take place with Prime Minister Abe related to the issue of North Korea and cooperation among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK. I would like to refrain from speculating about the content.

Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-Level Meeting

Reporter: The Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-Level Meeting will be starting soon. What specific progress are you hoping for in joint economic activities? Also, what is your outlook?

Minister Kono: At the Japan-Russia Vice-Ministerial-Level Meeting, I expect a variety of discussions will be held on the issues between Japan and Russia. Japan hopes to make steady advances in joint economic activities. We seek to make advances ahead of the planned visit by Prime Minister Abe to Russia.

Release of the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)

Reporter: You recently commented favorably on the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) released by the U.S. Government from the perspective of securing nuclear deterrence. Meanwhile, atomic bombing survivors’ organizations and others have expressed deep concern about expanded role of nuclear weapons, and Nihon Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations) yesterday released a statement of protest to the Japanese and U.S. Governments. What is your response to these voices?

Minister Kono: Japan highly appreciates that the U.S. Government clearly articulated its commitment to providing nuclear deterrence to its allies, amid the real threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles.

While I am aware that various people have various opinions, the Japanese Government appreciates this NPR given our duty to protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the Japanese people.

Reporter: Just one point. The NPR states that the U.S. does not support the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) where the Japanese Government is pursuing for ratification. What are your thoughts on this point?

Minister Kono: I think that point is very regrettable. I have been encouraging ratification of the CTBT since the Japan-U.S. “2+2” meeting, including my personal comments to Secretary of State Tillerson, and we intend to continue these efforts.

Media Report on Resignation of International Court of Justice Judge

Reporter: There are media reports that Judge Hisashi Owada at the International Court of Justice plans to resign in the near future. Please explain the related facts.

Minister Kono: The Government would like to refrain from commenting on his thoughts before he himself has made remarks.

Reporter: Has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received a resignation request?

Minister Kono: As this is about a position of an individual, I do not believe the Government should be making any comment to either deny or confirm it.