Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Friday, June 29, 2018, 8:27 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Football World Cup in Russia

Reporter: Yesterday, at the World Cup Japan advanced to the knockout stage. Did you see the match? What were your impressions of it?

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Just to state my personal impressions, I would have liked Wataru Endo to appear more and play more.

Reporter: It was the first time I have ever seen filling time-wasting of the form that occurred in the last part of the match in an international match. What did you feel about that?

Minister Kono: It was in accordance with the rules formed in advance and it entailed a certain amount of risk. I think there would probably have been a lot of criticism if Senegal had scored a goal while they were doing that, but wasn’t it good that they were able to advance to the knock-out stage?

Holding of the US-Russia Summit Meeting

Reporter: It has been announced that the U.S.-Russia Summit Meeting will be held on July 16 in Helsinki. I think this will have an extremely large impact on the international community, what is the view of the Government of Japan?

Minister Kono: Russia is also one of the major players in modern society, so I think it is good that Russia engages in the international community in a variety of ways.

Japan-Russia Relations

Reporter: I think that a director general-level working group meeting was held in Moscow yesterday with the aim of implementing joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands. The two leaders have decided to dispatch business missions in July and August. Could you tell us again what outcomes the present working group meeting is aiming for?

Minister Kono: The working group meeting was held yesterday and today, and these meetings are being held in order to produce proper outcomes for the next Japan-Russia Summit Meeting, so I intend to produce positive progress by the next Summit Meeting.

Reporter: One more question about Japan-Russia relations; the special grave visit by plane, carrying out a grave visit by plane next month, July, this also has been agreed, but what is the current situation of the considerations? Could you tell us the details such as it will take the same form as last year, and the place where it will be carried out?

Minister Kono: Agreement has been reached between the leaders, so I intend to endeavor to make the proper practical preparations so that the grave visit can be carried out in a form that does not impose a burden on the participants.

North Korea Situation (Content of the Announcement by 38 North)

Reporter: 38 North has announced the result that improvements to the infrastructure of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility are proceeding. Don’t you think that this is a development that contradicts the US-North Korea Joint Statement?

Minister Kono: Chairman Kim Jong Un signed a document aimed at the denuclearization of North Korea in that form and made a commitment to that, and it has been reported that Secretary Pompeo’s visit to North Korea is coming up soon, so I would like the US and North Korea to strongly follow-up on these matters then.

Reporter: What do you think about the fact that improvements to the infrastructure of the nuclear facility are proceeding?

Minister Kono: I understand that it has been reported that improvements to the infrastructure of the nuclear facility are proceeding, but I will refrain from commenting on the actual details of the improvements or any other related matters.

Reporter: Is the government proceeding with any information gathering and analyses?

Minister Kono: Naturally it is.

East China Sea Resource Development Issue

Reporter: There have been some media reports saying that China has introduced a new semi-submersible drilling vessel for gas field development in the East China Sea. Please tell us the facts of the matter and the response of the Government of Japan.

Minister Kono: Engaging in these kinds of actions before the international maritime boundary line has been finalized is not a positive thing for friendship and goodwill between the two countries. Japan has lodged a serious protest.

Reporter: When did you lodge the protest?

Minister Kono: Please ask me about the details later.

North Korea Situation (Visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Pompeo)

Reporter: You mentioned the reports that Mr. Pompeo will visit North Korea soon. Is it possible that you will meet him around that time?

Minister Kono: I think whether or not he will visit North Korea still has not been finalized, so I think that is a conversation we can have after it has been finalized.

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