Press Conference by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida
Friday, March 29, 2013, 8:21 a.m.   In the Diet

1. Visit to Mongolia by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Hasegawa, Fuji Television: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit Mongolia this weekend. Based on the current situation surrounding Japan, how do you view the significance of the visit and what outcomes do you expect?

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Prime Minister Abe will visit Mongolia on March 30 and 31. He is scheduled to meet with the Mongolian President or Prime Minister and others. This will be the first official visit to Mongolia by a Japanese Prime Minister in seven years. I believe Prime Minister Abe will discuss a broad range of issues, including politics, security, economy, and person-to-person exchanges among others. Moreover, it is expected that the two countries will confirm further strengthening of our strategic partnership. These are the achievements I hope for with respect to the Prime Minister’s visit to Mongolia.

2. Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit

Nikaido, Asahi Shimbun: What is the outlook for a possible Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and a Summit Meeting among Japan, China, and the Republic of Korea?

Minister Kishida: The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit is held on an annual basis, and is usually preceded by the three countries’ Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit has been held around May every year, and since the ROK side chairs the meetings this year, the schedules are currently being coordinated by the ROK. Japan hopes to consider the Trilateral Summit and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting favorably. Because arrangements are still underway under the ROK’s leadership, the specific schedules are yet to be determined at this point.

Nikaido, Asahi Shimbun: I assume you hope to hold Japan-China and Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ meetings respectively during the trilateral meeting. How are the outlooks for these meetings?

Minister Kishida: Firstly, because the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit has not been set yet, noting has been decided on bilateral meetings. Having said that, I believe conducting stable communication at the political level by taking these opportunities should be welcomed. Prime Minister Abe has repeatedly mentioned that the door for dialogue is always open. We hope to take various opportunities for communication.

Nikaido, Asahi Shimbun: In light of the circumstances, what are the factors behind there not yet being any prospect of holding Japan-China, Japan-ROK, or Japan-China-ROK meetings?

Minister Kishida: First, yes, holding such meetings itself is significant, but we at the same time need to make sure that the substance of the meetings is even more meaningful. We are undertaking coordination at the working level to that end. We expect the schedule will be finalized at the soonest possible date based on that firm coordination. This point was also agreed upon at the recent telephone conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the ROK.

Hasegawa, Fuji Television: Does that mean that arrangements are not proceeding as planned?

Minister Kishida: The ROK is taking the lead in finalizing the schedule, but because each country has various domestic schedules and others, the arrangements have not yet been completed.