Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Tuesday, July 3, 2018, 9:20 a.m. Front Entrance Hall, Prime Minister’s Office

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Visit to Japan by Secretary of State Pompeo

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Mr. Honorable Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States of America, plans to visit Japan from July 7 to July 8 to hold a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. It will be his fifth meeting with me, and his first visit to Japan since taking office.
He will have just visited North Korea before this, so I intend to receive a briefing about that and hold exchanges of views with him regarding the North Korea situation. Furthermore, I intend to hold exchanges of views about other issues. I would like to connect this opportunity to further enhancement of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

(2) Summer Safety Campaign for Overseas Traveling

Minister Kono: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to run the Summer Safety Campaign for Overseas Traveling this month and next month, when the number of people travelling overseas increases. This period has already started, but this evening I intend to appoint a certain person the “Secretary in charge of the Promotion of Summer Vacation Tabi-Regi Registration” and launch the campaign at Haneda Airport, update the Overseas Safety Homepage, and screen the Golgo 13 Manual on ANA/JAL international flights, and so on.
I would like to ask people who are going on overseas travel to carefully confirm the safety information for their travel destination in advance on the Overseas Safety Homepage, register in Tabi-Regi, and take out overseas travel insurance, and so on.

Visit to Japan by Secretary of State Pompeo

Reporter: Earlier you talked about the visit to Japan by Secretary Pompeo. According to announcements by the U.S., he will talk with the leaders of Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on July 7 and July 8. Does this mean that the plan is for the high-level officials from the ROK to come to Japan?

Minister Kono: I have heard that ROK is coordinating this now.

Reporter: Do you mean that they will come to Japan?

Minister Kono: I have heard that the matters being coordinated include that.

Reporter: What about Ms. Kang Kyung-wha?

Minister Kono: I have heard that her visit is being coordinated.

North Korea Situation (Expansion of Missile Facilities)

Reporter: There has been a series of media reports from the U.S. regarding nuclear development by North Korea, saying that North Korea is expanding its missile facilities and actually taking actions that are different from denuclearization. Given the recognition that a commitment to denuclearization is necessary, what is your perception of the current situation? In addition, what do you hope to talk about with Secretary Pompeo this time based on that perception?

Minister Kono: I think that the Secretary will have just held a variety of exchanges of views in North Korea when he arrives here, so I also intend to ask Secretary Pompeo about the commitment of North Korea when he comes to Japan.

Reporter: What view does the Government of Japan hold regarding the content of the series of media reports?

Minister Kono: I understand that there have been media reports.

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

Reporter: Regarding the consultations between the United States and North Korea, yesterday working-level consultations were held, and it is reported that this week Secretary Pompeo himself will hold consultations. I get the impression that this is slightly slower than was announced initially but can it be seen from the fact that they are being held at this timing that the consultations have made some progress forward?

Minister Kono: I intend to listen carefully to what Secretary Pompeo says, including what he says about this matter, when he visits Japan.

Cabinet Decision of the 5th Basic Energy Plan

Reporter: The Cabinet has decided the new Basic Energy Plan. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs lobbied for a variety of policies. Please tell us your reaction to the content of the plan.

Minister Kono: The basic policy of reducing Japan’s dependence on atomic energy to the best extent has been maintained. Furthermore, it has been decided to seriously tackle decarbonization to combat climate change, so I think the energy structure of Japan will have no choice but change greatly.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also intends to advocate climate change diplomacy and respond strongly.

North Korea Situation (Handling of the Abductions Issue)

Reporter: Regarding the North Korea situation, in your lecture at Tokushima the other day, you seemed to give the impression that you would resolve the various issues in stages, starting by carefully resolving the issue of the nuclear and missile programs and then after that carefully resolving the abductions issue between Japan and North Korea. Please tell us your true intentions in that statement.

Minister Kono: It was in a lecture so I don’t remember exactly what I said, but the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration stated that the nuclear and missile programs and the abductions issue would be resolved overall and did not state any order in which they should be resolved in particular. It talks about an overall resolution so it says nothing about what to do first and what to do next. Even if a part of my lecture sounded like that, I did not intend to say that.

Soccer World Cup in Russia

Reporter: I would like to ask about the World Cup in Russia. In the previous Poland match the team received some criticism for how they played. What were your impressions of yesterday’s match with Belgium?

Minister Kono: I think the Japanese players fought hard, and it opened up various possibilities. . It was a bit unfortunate because I thought that if the player Wataru Endo had played, they would perhaps have avoided conceding the final goal and would have made it to extra time at least.

Visit to Japan by Secretary of State Pompeo

Reporter: If you have finalized any part of the itinerary for the visit to Japan by Secretary Pompeo, could you please tell us what it is?

Minister Kono: We have not finalized it.

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