Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama
Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 5:01 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) The Recent Situation in Gaza
Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: The following points are being issued today as a Statement by Press Secretary Norio Maruyama.
Japan strongly condemns the firing of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, and is deeply concerned about the rise of tension in Gaza and the surrounding areas.
Japan firmly believes that the issues facing the two parties, Israel and Palestine, cannot by any means be resolved by violence, and that they can be resolved only through efforts of both sides to build mutual trust and through negotiations between them. Japan urges all parties concerned to exert their maximum efforts toward resuming the peace negotiations.
(2) Visit by President Tran Dai Quang of Viet Nam and His Spouse to Japan
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: H.E. Mr. Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and his spouse Madam Nguyen Thi Hien have been paying a State Visit to Japan since May 29. This visit aims to “deepen our Extensive Strategic Partnership,” as well as “strengthen the relationship of trust among our respective citizens” and “strengthen collaboration and cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The President and Madam Hien already participated today in a welcoming event and made a State Call on Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will host a State Banquet in honour of the President and Madam Hien. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a working-lunch Japan-Viet Nam Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, who is also visiting. A Japan-Viet Nam Summit Meeting and lunch event hosted by Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, and his spouse Mrs. Akie Abe will take place tomorrow. In the afternoon on June 1, the President and Madam Hien will attend a reception commemorating the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and Viet Nam. Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress will also attend the reception. On the morning of June 2, the President and Madam Hien will receive a parting visit from the Emperor and Empress and then depart from Japan.
(3) 30th Anniversary of the Start of Grant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: Thirty years have passed as of today since Japan started grant assistance for Grass-roots Human Security Projects as “small-scale grants” on May 30, 1989. Japan’s grass-roots human security grant assistance (grass-roots grants) is small in scale, but constitutes a unique assistance program that supports assistance activities that meet the various development needs of not only local governments, but also NGOs and regional public entities.
Japan initially began with grass-roots grants in 32 countries. It steadily broadened the assistance framework over 30 years and currently covers more than 140 countries and regions. It has been involved in just under 28,000 projects through the end of March 2018.
Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting
Kyodo Press, Torinari: The Foreign Minister mentioned this at the Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting held this morning. Coordination is taking place for the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting in Washington on June 7. With the G7 Summit coming right afterward, what is the significance of conducting the Summit Meeting in Washington D.C. at this point? Also, if it takes place, what topics do you want to discuss? Could you please address these points?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The two leaders agreed in the Japan-U.S. Summit Telephone Talk on May 28 to hold a Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting prior to the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. Therefore, if various circumstances allow, arrangements are currently proceeding toward holding a Summit Meeting in Washington D.C. on June 7.
As to the significance, Japan is aware that preparations are taking place for holding a U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting between the U.S. and North Korea and believes it is important for the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting to serve as an opportunity to make real progress on the nuclear, missile, and, most importantly, abductions issues. The Japanese Government intends to respond firmly toward the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting so that it contributes to resolution of these issues.
Japan-North Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Asahi Shimbun, Tajima: There have been some media reports that consideration is being given to holding a Japan-North Korea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August and that Japan has already suggested this to the North Korean side. Could you please explain the facts of this matter?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: I am aware of the media reports you mentioned. While they mentioned the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers' Meetings, at this stage, nothing has been decided, including attendance at these meetings.
Asahi Shimbun, Tajima: Foreign Minister Kono commented at this morning’s Committee on Foreign Affairs that the media reports are inaccurate. Does this differ with your view?
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: Nothing has been decided.
Japan-Viet Nam Summit Meeting
Mainichi Shimbun, Tanabe: The Summit Meeting with Viet Nam is tomorrow. Please explain what type of partner Viet Nam is for Japan and what Japan’s expectations are for the meeting.
Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: As the Summit Meeting will take place tomorrow, I would like to refrain from speculating on its content. But, Japan has formed the “Extensive Strategic Partnership” with Viet Nam and aims to strengthen various relations based on this. In particular, this time we are considering bolstering trust among our respective citizens, and hope to expand cooperation that benefits citizens’ daily lives, further broaden people-to-people and cultural interactions, and “strengthen collaboration and cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” as I mentioned earlier. Further, under the “Extensive Strategic Partnership,” we want to strengthen relations for security and defense areas, advance economic relations that help improve regional cohesiveness, and strengthen collaboration in the region and the international community.