Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, April 13, 2018, 8:26 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

US President Trump’s Instructions to Review a Return to TPP

Reporter: President Trump has given instructions to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). What are your thoughts on this development?

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Japan and the United States agreed to develop advanced rules needed in the 21st century. If the United States truly returns to the TPP, Japan would be very pleased.

Visit to Japan by President Moon Jae-in of the ROK

Reporter: Media reports say that you requested a visit by President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to Japan when you visited the ROK and that it gave a positive response. Please explain the facts related to this matter.

Minister Kono: We agreed on having high-level mutual visits by seizing a variety of opportunities.

Reporter: So is it true that there be an independent visit to Japan?

Minister Kono: It is the case that we agreed on having mutual visits at a variety of levels.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Investigation Report

Reporter: The OPCW issued a report that effectively confirms the investigation results obtained by the United Kingdom (UK) that Russia developed the nerve agent used in the attack on the former Russian spy that occurred in the UK. The Japanese Government had taken the position that the revelation of the facts must come first. Please explain where Japan stands now following the OPCW results.

Minister Kono: I believe a chemical weapon was used. The Japanese Government is deeply concerned about the declining threshold for utilization of chemical weapons and believes the perpetrating party in a case of chemical weapons usage must be sternly punished.

While the OPCW identified the substance of the chemical weapon, it has not reached a conclusion on who used this. Japan hopes that the facts will be promptly clarified.

Visit to Japan by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China

Reporter: What do you intend to discuss in the foreign ministers’ meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China who will be visiting Japan for the first time since becoming State Councilor?

Minister Kono: I think it has been about nine years since the last time a foreign minister of Japan or China visited either country. I hope to discuss not only various bilateral outstanding issues of concern, but also areas where Japan and China should be cooperating in the international community.

Reporter: The Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue will take place too. What topics will you be raising as the chair?

Minister Kono: I am very pleased to be able to resume the high-level economic dialogue between Japan and China because it had been suspended for a while. Japan hopes to discuss climate change issues and various other areas where Japan and China can cooperate in third countries and of course also fully address outstanding issues between our countries in economic areas.

Reporter: Where do things stand with the panda request?

Minister Kono: I think you better ask the Environment Ministry or other agencies about this.

Reporter: What specifically are you envisioning in terms of cooperation in the international community?

Minister Kono: Japan and China are the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 economic powers and should thus not only discuss the issues between them on a bilateral basis, but also address areas of potential cooperation and what they can accomplish together on global issues.

Reporter: What about the North Korea issues?

Minister Kono: I expect that the North Korea issues would be raised in the foreign ministers’ meeting.

Reporter: What is your outlook on the direction?

Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from mentioning anything conclusively.

US President Trump’s Instructions to Review a Return to TPP

Reporter: Regarding the TPP, President Trump previously had mentioned that he would consider TPP after renegotiation and revision. Is the latest development something different from this previous stance?

Minister Kono: While I am not aware of exactly what President Trump said this time, I do not think there could be renegotiation of just certain portions of the TPP Agreement. We are aiming for the early entry into force of the TPP11 at this point, and thus would like to hear more about what the US is thinking first.

Reporter: Are you saying that the Government is not aware of anything at this point?

Minister Kono: I am aware of media reports that this type of comment was made.

OPCW Investigation Report

Reporter: Going back to the OPCW matter, the US and European countries have taken stern measures against Russia. Does the Japanese Government plan to take any kind of response given the latest investigation results?

Minister Kono: I saw the chemical name in the OPCW report, and I gather this indicates that it was a chemical weapon. Japan is waiting for more factual information on who used the weapons and in what manner.

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