Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Takeshi Osuga

Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Opening of a Sports Twitter Account

Mr. Takeshi Osuga, Press Secretary: The opening of the Rugby World Cup 2019 on September 20 is approaching. In addition, the ceremony to mark one year until the opening of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next year was held on July 24, exactly one week ago from today.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has taken this opportunity to open a Twitter account that will present to domestic audiences and the world the initiatives related to international exchange and international contribution through sports. It already opened today around noon.

Fascinating tweets related to sports diplomacy will be posted in cooperation with diplomatic missions and related sports organizations, so I hope you will follow the account.

Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Relations (Mediation Proposal by the United States)

NHK, Watanabe: There are reports with regards to the relations between the Government of Japan and the ROK, that the Government of the United States has proposed their mediation plan to the two governments, and that Secretary of State Pompeo has also made a statement encouraging an improvement in relations. Could you please tell me the facts, whether you are aware that the United States suggested such a mediation plan, and whether if any such plan was suggested?

Press Secretary Osuga: Firstly, I am aware that there have been such reports, but there is no fact that there has been a presentation of a mediation plan as you mentioned. The reports on Secretary of State Pompeo’s statement are about taking the opportunity of the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers' Meetings in Bangkok to hold a Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I believe that is what Secretary of State Pompeo stated, and things are currently being coordinated in that direction.

Maritime Security Initiative (Meeting in Bahrain)

NHK, Watanabe: In relation to a coalition of the willing, there are reports that the Government of the United States will gather its allies and friendly nations to hold a meeting in Bahrain on July 31. Will anyone be dispatched to attend from MOFA on behalf of the Government of Japan?

Press Secretary Osuga: I am aware that there have been various reports like you mentioned. However, there has not been a formal announcement on a meeting like the one you mentioned, so I would like to refrain from commenting.

Japan-U.S.-ROK, Japan-ROK, and Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meetings at the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings

Yomiuri Shimbun, Endo: In relation to the first question given earlier, does it currently seem like a Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be scheduled? Also, what about a Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?

Press Secretary Osuga: Firstly, coordination is currently being conducted for a Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, but we are not at the stage of being able to disclose the plan. However, with regards to a Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, tomorrow in the morning of August 1, Minister Kono and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha are scheduled to hold a meeting. With regards to a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I do not have any information about the plan or other matters to notify you on.

Security Cooperation with the ROK

Asahi Shimbun, Ono: Regarding Japan-ROK relations, the Foreign Minister of the ROK has suggested that the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) could possibly be terminated. Is the Government of Japan aware of that, and what is the reaction?

Press Secretary Osuga: I am aware of the reports on the points you mentioned, but I would like to refrain from commenting about them. Having said that, under the recognition that the GSOMIA strengthens cooperation and coordination in the field of security between Japan and the ROK and contributes to regional peace and security, it has been automatically renewed each year since its first conclusion in 2016. Although the Japan-ROK relationship is currently facing an extremely severe situation, the Government of Japan believes it is important to firmly cooperate with the ROK on matters requiring cooperation, and based on that point, we would like to appropriately address the matters regarding GSOMIA.

Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers' Meetings, Possibility of Prime Minister Medvedev Visiting the Four Northern Islands

Asahi Shimbun, Ono: Regarding a different matter on Japan and Russia, Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that was planned to be held at the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings was postponed, and it is being said that this is because of Prime Minister Medvedev’s plan to visit Etorofu Island. Has the Government of Japan received such information? In other words, is it the recognition of the Government that Prime Minister Medvedev has a plan to visit Etorofu Island, and did that affect the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting? If such a visit will actually take place, how will the Government of Japan respond?

Press Secretary Osuga: Firstly, with regards to a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting between Japan and Russia in Bangkok, both sides’ schedules did not match. The meeting will not take place due to circumstances related to the schedule. Apart from that, we are aware that there have been reports about Prime Minister Medvedev planning to visit Etorofu Island, but currently we are gathering information. An appropriate response will be taken based on the result of information-gathering.

Reports on a Statement by U.S. National Security Advisor Bolton

Asahi Shimbun, Ono: Regarding a report in our newspaper, we reported that Mr. Bolton stated that it was possible that the Government of Japan would be asked to grant five times the current amount for the Host Nation Support during his visit to Japan last week. Can you please tell us if the Government of Japan is aware of this, and your reaction?

Press Secretary Osuga: I am aware of the reports you mentioned, but there are no such facts.

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