Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga

Wednesday, November 28, 2018, 4:35 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Inscription of Raiho-shin, Ritual Visits of Deities in Masks and Costumes, on the List of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage

Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary: At the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage being held in the Republic of Mauritius between November 26 and December 1, there will be deliberations regarding inscription of Japan’s proposal of “Raiho-shin, Ritual Visits of Deities in Masks and Costumes” on the List of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Regarding this matter, based on advice on inscription from evaluating organizations on October 24, deliberation will take place tonight or tomorrow (Japan time), and it is predicted that there will be a decision on the registration. I would like to announce information when the result is made.

This matter is a tradition that has been passed down in which people pray for a year of peace and happiness in regional communities throughout Japan. I hope that it will be inscribed (registered) to create an opportunity to firmly convey to the world its appeal.

(2) The Second World Tsunami Museum Conference

Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary: From 9:30 a.m. on November 30 at the Tokyo National Museum, the Second World Tsunami Museum Conference will be held under the organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) Office in Japan, and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

This conference will be held as part of public awareness activities of World Tsunami Awareness Day on November 5, which was established through a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly. The conference this year will follow on from the first conference held on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture last year. In addition to inviting directors and administrative officials from museums concerning natural disasters, including tsunamis, in Indonesia, China, and Chile, UNESCO officials will also attend.

Based on the fact that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Earthquake Off Southwest Hokkaido that caused the enormous tsunami that hit Okushiri Island, in addition to discussion on the role that tsunami museums should play in every period following a natural disaster and issues, there will also be discussion regarding activities that should be conducted so that the disasters are not forgotten.

The Northern Territories Issue

Kyodo News, Saito: I would like to ask a question regarding the Northern Territories. If you look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Japan’s basic position on the Northern Territories is written on a page dated May 17, 2016. Although I do not need to say it, it is written that Japan’s basic position is that when there is a decision on the Northern Territories, if the attribution of the Northern Territories is confirmed to be to Japan, then Japan will flexibly respond to the actual return period and terms. If you go to the MOFA website now you can quickly find this page dated May 17, 2016, so I would like to confirm if the recognition of Japan’s basic position is without a doubt current.

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: Regarding the operation of the website, I would like to confirm with the department in charge if it is updated every day.

Kyodo News, Saito: Rather than the date, I would like to ask about the content now. Can you please confirm if the content matches the current recognition of the basic position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Japan?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I would like to confirm that point with the agency in charge.

Kyodo News, Saito: Can I receive a reply somewhere?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: Yes.

Seizure of Ukrainian Navy Ships by the Border Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation

Asahi Shimbun, Kiyomiya: I would like to ask a question regarding Russia and the Ukraine. On November 25, Russia seized Ukrainian Navy ships and the confrontation is considerably deepening now. In the UN Security Council, the EU and the UK have criticized Russia. If Japan has a position on this, how will it request this issue be handled?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I am aware of the concern you pointed out. We are currently monitoring the changes to the situation. The Government of Japan is concerned that this regional situation might worsen, and hopes that all the parties concerned exhibit restraint and work toward calming down the situation.

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