Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Tuesday, October 30, 2018, 4:22 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) concluded the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the ROK and other relevant agreements in 1965. Japan provided financial cooperation to the ROK, and at the same time, claims were settled completely and finally. These agreements have formed the legal foundation of the Japan-ROK relationship since the establishment of their diplomatic relations. By today’s decision of the Supreme Court of the ROK, the ROK has undermined this legal foundation unilaterally and fundamentally. We ask the Government of the ROK to take resolute measures necessary to ensure that today’s decision does not inflict an unjustifiable loss on Japanese companies and people. The decision is unfathomable by common sense in the international community, which has consistently upheld the rule of law. We ask the Government of the ROK to take firm responses. The Government of Japan would first like to confirm that the Government of the ROK will take firm responses. I will now take your questions.
Reporter: Some have expressed concerns that today’s decision may deteriorate the Japan-ROK relationship. What is your view in this regard?
Minister Kono: The Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the ROK has served as the legal foundation of the diplomatic relations between Japan and the ROK. If this foundation is undermined, it could have adverse effects on the Japan-ROK relations. The Government of Japan expects that the Government of the ROK will first take resolute responses. If not, we will inevitably need to examine all possible options and take actions, including international trial.
Reporter: I believe you held talks with the Ambassador of the ROK. What was the Ambassador’es reaction?
Minister Kono: I asked the Ambassador to convey the points I made earlier to the Government of the ROK immediately. I also handed a verbal note from the Government of Japan and asked that it be forwarded immediately.
Reporter: Do you intend to hold telephone talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha?
Minister Kono: I will if it is necessary.
Reporter: Could you tell us what the verbal note says?
Minister Kono: It states the kinds of points I just mentioned.
Reporter: When you say you expect resolute measures from the Government of the ROK, what sort of measures do you have in mind exactly?
Minister Kono: I believe it is well understood what is meant by measures that must be taken by the Government of the ROK to ensure that an unjustifiable loss are not inflicted on the Japanese people and companies.
Reporter: What was the Ambassador’s reaction? Did the Ambassador provide an explanation?
Minister Kono: The Ambassador stated that the message would be forwarded immediately and accurately, as we conveyed it.
Reporter: At this point in time, what is your intention with regard to requesting bilateral consultations in accordance with Article 3 of the Japan-ROK Agreement on the Settlement of Problems?
Minister Kono: At this time, I expect that the Government of the ROK will take firm responses based on today’s decision.
Reporter: You noted that it could have adverse effects on the Japan-ROK relationship. What is your view regarding the impact on Japan-ROK cooperation for dealing with the North Korean issues?
Minister Kono: We expect that the Government of the ROK will take firm responses to ensure that there are no such effects.