Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga

Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Situation in Algeria

Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Foreign Press Secretary: Japan is paying close attention to the decision on March 11 of Algerian President Bouteflika not to seek his fifth term and his announcement of a new plan for political reform toward the presidential election. Japan hopes that the reforms will move forward stably based on the will of Algerian people. Japan hopes that the reforms will move forward stably based on the will of the Algerian people.

Japan believes that stability in Algeria is indispensable to the stability of the region, and expects that Algeria will continue to play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the region, by overcoming this sensitive stage. Together with this, Japan intends to further develop its traditionally friendly and cooperative relationship with Algeria. The above is planned to be issued as a “Statement by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga.

(2) Visit to Japan by Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze of Georgia

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze of Georgia will visit Japan from March 13-16. Minister Kono is planned to hold a dinner for him tonight.

Minister Kono’s visit to Georgia in September 2018 was the first by a Japanese foreign minister, and he met with government officials including Prime Minister Bakhtadze. This time Prime Minister Bakhtadze is visiting Japan with an economic mission and will attend the Japan-Georgia Business Forum, as well as the opening ceremony of a Georgian wine exhibition held in Tokyo. In addition, he is planned to hold exchanges of views with government and economics-related people. It is expected that his visit to Japan will be an opportunity to further strengthen bilateral relations.

(3) Military Exercises By the Russian Military in the Northern Territories

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: At Minister Kono’s press conference on March 12, there was a question about his reaction and whether a protest was lodged in reference to reports that the Russian military conducted military exercises on Kunashiri Island and Etorofu Island. In regard to this point, we are aware of the reports that were identified. Japan continuously monitors movements by the Russian military in the Northern Territories and is currently conducting information gathering. Yesterday on March 12, a notification was lodged through the diplomatic route that this is connected to strengthening of armaments by the Russian military on the Four Northern Islands, and is incompatible with Japan’s legal position on the islands and unacceptable.

Military Exercises By the Russian Military in the Northern Territories

Kyodo News, Eto: In regard to your final statement on the matter with the Russian military, you stated that a protest was lodged through the diplomatic route, but can you please explain what level it was at specifically?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: A notification was sent by a Counsellor at the Embassy of Japan in Russia to the director-general level of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kyodo News, Eto: Is it correct to understand that this was a protest?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: In terms of the meaning that a notification was sent based on Japan’s position to the Russian side, it is fine to understand this as a protest.

sankei Shimbun, Harakawa: Regarding this matter, why wasn’t it announced yesterday at Minister Kono’s press conference that a protest was being lodged yesterday when the topic was brought up?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I cannot know without confirming it if reports were announced proactively. My press conference happened to take place the following day. I believe that Minister Kono answered based on what he received and conveyed it. I cannot know without confirming it if the precise timing the notification was lodged was before or after Minister Kono’s press conference. In any event, I hope you understand what I just proactively explained.

NHK, Nishii: What was the reaction of the Russian side?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: I need to confirm that.

NHK, Nishii: After confirming, will you convey this in some manner?

Foreign Press Secretary Osuga: That’s right. Yes.

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