Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono

Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 1:35 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Japan-China Summit Meeting

Kyodo News, Fukuda: Did the Japanese side mention three principles for Japan-China relations at the Japan-China Summit Meeting?

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I heard that Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Nishimura gave a careful explanation regarding that matter this morning, so please refer to that.

Comfort Women Issue

Sankei Shimbun, Rikitake: On October 24, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Jin Sun Mee of the Republic of Korea (ROK) stated at an informal talk with ROK reporters that final work for the dissolution of the Reconciliation and Healing Foundation for comfort women was being conducted. What kind of notice did Japan receive regarding this and how will the Government of Japan respond?

Minister Kono: At the Japan-ROK summit meeting, the ROK side said it would uphold the Japan-ROK agreement. President Moon Jae-in said this, so I believe they will.

Trial on the “Requisitioned Civilian Workers” Issue

Asahi Shimbun, Kiyomiya: After this, the Supreme Court of the ROK will issue a judgment regarding the trial on the issue of requisitioned civilian workers. Although its content will only be known once it is issued, what response will be requested of the Government of the ROK, and how will the Government of Japan receive and respond to the judgment? Please let us know if you have any thoughts at this time.

Minister Kono; The Government of the ROK has agreed to completely respond to this matter.

Nikkei Shimbun, Hayashi: What kind of exchanges have you had up to now with ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha regarding the issue of requisitioned civilian worker?

Minister Kono: I believe we have discussed the issue many times, but I do not recall the details right now.

Japan-India Summit Meeting

(The following statement was made in English)

The Diplomat, Hurst: I am asking about the India-Japan relationship. In the last few days, there have been agreements about closer defense and security cooperation, and also the 2+2 agreement at the ministerial level. What in your view, the significance of these agreements? And secondly, do you think that Japan and India have a common view on the Belt and Road initiative?

(The following statement was made in English)

Minister Kono: I am not sure about the Belt and Road initiative, but India and Japan share the common values, like democracy, the rule of law, and basic human rights. And I think it is a good idea for two of us to get together, and foreign and defense ministers get together to talk about regional or global issues, so I think it will be a good start. We are also trying to start negotiation on an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA), so I think we will be working closely with India, and it will benefit the stability of the Indo-Pacific.


Mainichi Shimbun, Akiyama: Regarding the TICAD summit next year, do you have any thoughts now on the appropriate treatment of Western Sahara at next year’s meeting?

Minister Kono: Japan has absolutely no intention of recognizing Western Sahara as a nation. We also have no intention of inviting Western Sahara to TICAD.

Germany Situation

Jiji Press, Echigo: I would like to ask two questions about the political situation in Germany. Here is my first question. Chancellor Merkel announced yesterday that she would step down as party leader. There are concerns that disorder in Germany, the leading power in the EU, could influence destabilization in Europe going forward. How do you view this point? My second question is, what do you believe Japan’s role will be in future amidst the expansion of right wing and populist influence around the world?

Minister Kono: Although Chancellor Merkel will step back from her position as party leader, I have heard that she will fulfill her term of office as Chancellor, so I believe she will continue her leading role in the EU. I believe she is the longest-serving Chancellor of Germany in the postwar period, and I believe that the long time period of her administration in Germany brought about stability in the EU, or played a role in it. That must be highly evaluated.

The Abe administration has also continued for a long time and I believe that Prime Minister Abe is second to Chancellor Merkel in terms of participation time in the G7. Japan must exert leadership to firmly spread free trade as well as democracy and the rule of law, which are raised by the G7, as universal values throughout the world. When administrations change, I believe that at the beginning the administration’s policies are put forth and retracted to a certain extent. If we think of the benefits we have received with the G7 and G20, international cooperation, and the liberal world order, we must firmly maintain this system and modernize some parts of it. I believe that now is the time for Japan to firmly exert a leadership role in order to maintain this.

Trial on the “Requisitioned Civilian Workers” Issue

Dong-a Ilbo, Kim: Regarding the judgment on the requisitioned civilian workers issue, what response will you specifically request from the Government of the ROK? Also, regarding the statement yesterday, do you believe that Nippon Steel Corporation will win the case?

Minister Kono: The Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the ROK already resolved everything in regard to this issue. The Government of Japan believes that the ROK will appropriately respond as a member of the international community.

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