Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 8:21 p.m. Prime Minister’s Office
Minister in charge of Japan-U.S. Trade Negotiations
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have been appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, and at the same time, will continue to be in charge of Japan-U.S. trade negotiations.
I will exert all efforts to handle various issues faced by Japan’s diplomacy.
With regards to Japan-U.S. trade negotiations, I am currently exerting all efforts toward the goal of signing an agreement by the end of September. I would like to perfect a win-win agreement for both Japan and the United States.
In order to further advance a foreign policy that takes a panoramic perspective of the world map developed from the position of proactive contribution to peace that has been exercised by Prime Minister Abe, I would like to conduct diplomacy with both tolerance and strength.
As time is limited, I would now like to take your questions.
Official: If you have a question, please raise your hand. The Minister will call on you.
Minister Motegi: Go ahead.
Reporter: Thank you.
I would like to ask a question regarding the Northern Territories issue. At the summit meeting in Vladivostok on September 5, the two leaders confirmed that they will instruct the two Foreign Ministers to accelerate work toward finding a solution acceptable to both sides. Now that you are Foreign Minister, how do you intend to proceed with the negotiations with Russia as the person responsible for the negotiations?
Minister Motegi: At the summit meeting on September 5, the two leaders exchanged candid views regarding the issues of concluding a peace treaty, and reaffirmed that they will work in a future-oriented manner. In addition, the two leaders once again instructed the Foreign Ministers, who are responsible for the negotiations, to work and collaborate to find a solution acceptable to both sides.
I hope to hold talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov as early as possible.
Vision for Resolving Japan-ROK Confrontation
Reporter: There is an ongoing confrontation between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). As Foreign Minister, what is your vision for dealing with this matter?
Minister Motegi: Since the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1965, Japan and the ROK have deepened their friendly and cooperative relationship based on the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the ROK and the Agreement on the Settlement of Problems concerning Property and Claims and on Economic Co-operation between Japan and the ROK. In particular, close Japan-ROK cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation has never been as important as now in order to address North Korea issues and other matters. In this regard, a future-oriented Japan-ROK relationship should be built.
However, due to the decisions by the ROK Supreme Court regarding the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula, the ROK has breached international law, overthrew the foundation of the bilateral relationship, and such a situation has regrettably been continuing for the last one year or so. Japan will continue to strongly urge the ROK to immediately remedy the breach of international law.
Official: As a minister’s press conference will follow, the next question will be the last.
Minister Motegi: I think you raised your hand first. Would you mind?
North Korea Missile Issue
Reporter: I would like to ask a question regarding North Korea’s missile issue. Since May, North Korea has launched missiles one after another. President Trump of the United States has indicated that he does not consider this as a problem. What is Japan’s current recognition of North Korea’s missile threat and what is Japan’s intention for deterring them?
Minister Motegi: There is no change to the basic position of Japan that in accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration of September 2002, through the settlement of the unfortunate past, we aim to normalize diplomatic relations by comprehensively resolving outstanding issues of concern, including abductions, nuclear, and as you noted, missiles.
While North Korea continues to launch missiles, at the recent summit meeting in Biarritz, Japan and the United States confirmed that they will coordinate closely on this issue. We intend to deal with this matter according to such policy.Official: This is the end of the press conference by Minister Motegi. Thank you very much.