Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga
Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 4:32 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year
Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary: As Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono also mentioned during their New Year’s greetings toward Chinese people issued yesterday on February 5, Chinese New Year, this year is the Japan-China Youth Exchange Promotion Year. The leaders of Japan and China will implement youth exchange on a scale of 30,000 people over five years going forward, and have also agreed to hold and support events that contribute to mutual understanding among the citizens of both countries centered on the young generation.
As a specific example of an activity, Mr. Akira Nishino, the former manager of the Japan national football team, visited Beijing from January 11-13 and held exchanges with U13 to U16 athletes. As part of the schedule going forward, 35 young people who are involved with public service throughout China will visit Japan from February 25 to March 3 with the theme of disaster prevention and the environment, and visit initiatives by municipalities and volunteer organizations in Tokyo and Nara.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will exert efforts so that this year will be an unprecedented one for mutual exchange between the citizens of Japan and China, including young people.
(2) Holding of the MOFA Seminar “Discussion Meeting with Students”
Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: Tomorrow on February 7, the seminar aimed at university students called Discussion Meeting with Students will be held at the MOFA.
At the MOFA, in order for the next generation of young people to understand the outline of the MOFA and the work of diplomats and for them to become familiar with diplomacy, MOFA personnel go to universities and high schools throughout Japan and conduct activities such as lectures throughout the year. In addition, visits to inside the MOFA and more are planned for elementary, junior high, and high school students. Discussion Meeting with Students, the seminar that will be held tomorrow, is part of this initiative and is aimed at university students.
Following a keynote speech regarding the general international situation by a core personnel member, young MOFA staff will hold discussions with university students by dividing into subgroups on the themes of Japan-U.S. relations, TICAD (conference on African development), and the G20 Summit, and at the end the students who participated in each subgroup are planned to give a report on their results.
For the first time as a trial, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Norikazu Suzuki is scheduled to join to gain the participation of government affairs of the MOFA. In addition, for the first time it was decided to open the entire program to the media.
As Foreign Minister Kono also mentioned in his diplomacy address at the beginning of the current Diet session, this is the age of trying “naked diplomacy” through wisdom and creativity, and the MOFA will work to deepen interest and passion about diplomatic activities widely among students so it leads to increases in young people who aim for the world stage.
U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting
Yomiuri Shimbun, Yanada: During U.S. President Trump’s State of the Union address earlier, he announced that the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting would be held on February 27-28. Although this is probably the starting point for circumstances to change, can you please explain your perspective on what the Government of Japan believes the desirable results of the meeting would be as well as how Japan will acquire information going forward?
Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: As you pointed out, President Trump stated at the State of the Union address that he will hold another meeting with Chairman Kim Jong-un in Vietnam on February 27-28. Japan is expecting the complete and swift implementation of the agreement between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, including North Korea’s commitment toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as confirmed in the U.S.-North Korea summit joint statement in June last year. For this as well as the abductions issue that is also important for Japan, we are closely cooperating with the Government of the United States regarding the North Korean issue by taking every opportunity. We will firmly discuss policies between Japan and the United States going forward toward the second U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting.