Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 8:48 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

Establishment of the United Nations Sanctions Division of the Foreign Policy Bureau and the G20 Summit Secretariat

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has newly established the United Nations Sanctions Division and the G20 Summit Secretariat from the beginning of April.

The aim is to strengthen various initiatives related to UN sanctions and prepare for the success of the G20 Summit, which will be the largest-ever summit held in Japan, through the Secretariat. The Ministry aims to firmly prepare the Summit in Japan’s own style without being constrained by preexisting notions that things must be a certain way or must be conducted a certain way. The nameboard with Japanese writing which was widely discussed yesterday, is an example of how we will proceed without constraint from past practices.

Response to Next Year’s Events

Reporter: Japan is likely to attract considerable attention next year with the G20 Summit, the Rugby World Cup, and the Emperor Enthronement Ceremony. How does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plan to handle these events?

Minister Kono: Many foreign dignitaries are likely to visit Japan for the Emperor Enthronement Ceremony, the G20 Summit, the Rugby World Cup, and other events. It is important to provide suitable reception and use these opportunities to engage in diplomacy with Summit meetings, Foreign Minister meetings, and Ministerial meetings.

Visit to the Republic of Korea by Minister Kono

Reporter: Some media sources are reporting that you will visit the Republic of Korea (ROK) and meet with Dr. Kang Kyung-wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROK, next week. What is your view of the significance and necessity?

Minister Kono: Nothing has been decided regarding a visit to the ROK.

North Korea Situation (Comments by Minister Kono)

Reporter: The 38 North program based in the United States responded to your recent comments about North Korea’s nuclear tests with a statement that activity has significantly declined in comparison to the past few months. What is your view of the situation?

Minister Kono: The article mentions at the end that North Korea has ramped up roadwork near the test site. Based on publicly available information, it is apparent that North Korea’s activity is continuing at nuclear-related facilities, including the test site.

US Measures on Steel and Aluminum Imports (China’s Response Measures)

Reporter: Yesterday China announced retaliatory measures against US tariffs. There are concerns that these moves might lead to a global trade war. As there have been announcements of Japan also being affected by US measures, what role should Japan play in promotion of free trade in bilateral and multilateral settings?

Minister Kono: A situation in which the world’s largest and second largest economic powers are engaging in retaliatory measures over trade has very serious implications for the global economy.

Postwar global economic advances have been achieved jointly with advances in free trade, and Japan benefited substantially from these conditions. Japan believes that the free trade framework led by the WTO must be protected.

Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, is likely to communicate Japan’s views about the free trade framework to President Trump during his visit to the United States.

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