Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, May 18, 2018, 8:46 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

Visit to Brazil, Argentina, the United States and Mexico

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Various circumstances permitting, from May 19 to 26, I am going to visit the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Argentine Republic, the United States of America, and the United Mexican States.

In Brazil, I am scheduled to deliver a speech at Japan House in Sao Paolo and have an exchange of views with Japanese immigrants and descendants from the local community.

In Argentina, I am planning to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which is being hosted by Argentina, and hold talks with related parties and the foreign ministers of the participating countries.

In the United States, I am going to hold talks with government officials and engage in policy coordination regarding the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting.

In Mexico, I am scheduled to exchange views with government officials.

North Korea (U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting)

Reporter: North Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs recently issued a statement. In response, President Trump has denied that a “Libya model” is being considered. In this way or others, it seems that consideration is being shown towards North Korea and discussions towards the holding of a U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting are gaining momentum. What have you heard regarding this series of developments?

Minister Kono: I do not think responding to each individual development of North Korea is necessary.

Reporter: In your view, how should the outcomes of the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting be reported to the Japanese Government? Would the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) dispatch an official to Singapore, for example, or would the Prime Minister go to Singapore personally? What do you think would be best?

Minister Kono: That is something I will discuss in Washington.

Reporter: Vice Minister Kim Kye Gwan has pointed out that North Korea may reconsider its participation in the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. Do you think that it is possible that the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting would not be held on June 12?

Minister Kono: Logically speaking, various scenarios are possible. However, I think it is absolutely not necessary to respond to every single comment made by North Korea.

Reporter: Do you mean that it is absolutely not necessary to respond to every single comment made by North Korea judging from the series of events to date, including the PyeongChang Olympics?

Minister Kono: Yes, that is what I am saying.

5th Basic Energy Plan

Reporter: I have a question about the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry’s Basic Energy Plan. The renewable energy ratio remains unchanged from three years ago at 22-24%. Looking at global trends, countries are tending to bolster their renewable energy ratio. I believe MOFA has also said that Japan is aiming for 100%. Could you please share your views? Will MOFA make any appeals to raise this ratio as a Cabinet Decision?

Minister Kono: The Government is still coordinating internally so I cannot answer your question at this point in time.

U.S. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Reporter: I believe the Government is considering its response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum under the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO). What is the state of current arrangements?

Minister Kono: We are considering our response as part of the WTO framework. However, nothing has been decided yet.

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