Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono
Friday, December 7, 2018, 11:57 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Adoption by a Majority Vote of the Draft Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament Submitted by Japan to the Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly
Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: On December 6 (December 5 New York time), the draft resolution entitled “United action with renewed determination towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” submitted by Japan, was adopted with the support of 162 countries at the Plenary Meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
This draft resolution aims at contributing to creating a common ground where the international community can take united actions towards a world free of nuclear weapon even under the current severe international security environment. I believe it is very reassuring that this resolution was passed by receiving the support of many countries with various positions, including the United Kingdom, which is a nuclear weapons state, and countries that support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Reports Regarding Products from Huawei and ZTE
NHK, Okuzumi: There are reports that the Government of Japan is solidifying a policy to exclude products from Huawei and ZTE from the telecommunications equipment used at ministries and agencies. Although I believe it is from the perspective of security, can you please tell us how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will respond? Also, on a different subject, there are concerns that U.S.-China relations are deteriorating due to the arrest of the CFO of Huawei, so can you please tell us your view and reaction to this situation?
Minister Kono: It is necessary for the Government to make flawless efforts for security and various considerations are being conducted within the Government. However, I apologize, but I would like to refrain from commenting in order to avoid revealing the content due to the nature of this matter.
I am aware of the reports regarding the executive from Huawei, but I would like to avoid commenting as this concerns a matter between two third party countries.
Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Relations (Judgment by the Supreme Court of the ROK)
Sankei Shimbun, Rikitake: Over one month has passed since the judgment by the Supreme Court of the ROK on October 30. You have stated every time that you would like the ROK to immediately rectify this situation that is in violation of international law and take appropriate measures. However, over the past month no measures have been concretely taken, and the same kind of judgment including those from lower courts have been upheld. What is your view on this situation?
Minister Kono: I am aware that various considerations are being conducted by the ROK side, and I would like a firm response to be made. However, as you stated, there has been continuation of the same kind of judgment being issued, so waiting for a long time would be quite difficult. Thus, I would like the ROK side to make a response as quickly as possible.
Amidst this, I am concerned that there have been some effects on civilian exchanges and municipality exchanges. I would like every effort to be made so that such exchanges are not affected by this situation.
Request for a Courtesy Call by Ms. Setsuko Thurlow
Chugoku Shimbun, Tanaka: The day before yesterday, Ms. Setsuko Thurlow, an atomic bomb survivor who is currently visiting Japan from Canada, sent a letter addressed to you. The letter’s content included the thoughts of an atomic bomb survivor and a request for Japan to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. What is your reaction to this? Also, Ms. Thurlow has requested to directly meet with you, so can you please tell us if there was a reason a meeting could not be realized?
Minister Kono: Unfortunately, our schedules did not match. I believe it is very effective for non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament for an atomic bomb survivor to share her experience and thoughts in various settings for the sake of elimination of nuclear weapons. I truly hope that she continues such activities going forward. I would like many people who visit Japan to go to Hiroshima or Nagasaki and learn what happened there.
Measures Against Taiwan’s Import Restrictions on Japanese Food Products
China Times, Huang: I would like to ask in regard to the recent referendum in Taiwan. In a recent interview, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister stated that the restrictions would probably not be eased within the next two years. What is your opinion on this? Also, is the Government of Japan currently considering preparations to present a case to the World Trade Organization (WTO)?
Minister Kono: It is an established international rule that food restrictions must be grounded in a scientific basis. Japan has provided various information from that perspective to Taiwan until now. I must say that it is extremely unfortunate that such a situation has arisen. If this violates WTO rules, Japan will not rule out presenting a case to the WTO. Also, the TPP will come into force within the year. Taiwan has indicated that it would like to join the TPP, and it would be extremely unfortunate if it could not join because of this situation.
Reports Regarding Products from Huawei and ZTE
Jiji Press, Echigo: I apologize for returning to the first question, but could you tell us if the exclusion of telecommunications products makers could affect the good relations between Japan and China now?
Minister Kono: The Government must resolve itself to have flawless efforts for the issue of security, and the Government is currently conducting various considerations from that perspective. It is my understanding that that and friendly relations with other countries are completely different matters.
Asahi Shimbun, Kiyomiya: In relation to that, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and others, the United States requested its allies not to use technology from Huawei. As the United States, Australia, and other countries make such an exclusion, what are your thoughts on the need for Japan to keep pace with the United States and other countries?
Minister Kono: As this is a matter of Government security, considerations will be firmly conducted within the Government so Japan can decide for itself its response.
U.S.-Russia Relations (INF Treaty)
Tokyo Shimbun, Osugi: In regard to the INF Treaty, Secretary of State Pompeo has requested Russia to make a response within 60 days. Russia has objected, and it does not seem that talks between the United States and Russiaare making progress. What is your view of this situation, and is there anything that Japan can do to promote dialogue?
Minister Kono: We believe that the INF Treaty has played a role in nuclear disarmament, and that is extremely unfortunate that this situation has arisen.
Differing from what was said at first, there is the possibility for various things to happen during this 60-day grace period mentioned by the United States. Japan would like everyone to effectively use this grace period.