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JapanGov Weekly

Monday, November 13, 2017

Japan-U.S. Working Lunch and Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

Foreign Affairs, Monday, November 6, 2017

1. Japan-U.S. Working Lunch

(1) On November 6, commencing at around 12:10 p.m. for approximately 70 minutes, Prime Minister Abe held a working lunch with President Trump. In addition to the two leaders, the working lunch was attended on the Japanese side by Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat (NSS), and Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, and on the U.S. side by the Honorable Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, the Honorable John F. Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, the Honorable Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative, Gen. Herbert Raymond McMaster, National Security Advisor, and H.E. Mr. William F. Hagerty, U.S. Ambassador to Japan.

(2) In opening remarks, Prime Minister said as follows:
I would like to express my heartfelt condolences and sympathy for your loss and also to those people who lost their lives or were hurt in the shooting incident in Texas. I would once again like to wholeheartedly welcome the visit of President Trump and the First Lady to Japan. Yesterday, we enjoyed playing golf and also had a great time over dinner. Today I look forward to having candid discussions to cover the issue of North Korea and other global challenges. The Japan-U.S. alliance is the foundation for peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Through the visit of the President to Japan this time, we would like to make the alliance firmer and unwavering one.

(3) In response, President Trump said as follows:
It has been absolutely great two days. Prime Minister Abe has become my very close friend. To be with Prime Minister and Mrs. Abe was something very special. To have the privilege of playing golf with Prime Minister Abe and Mr. Hideki Matsuyama was great. The time that we spent together has been very fruitful. From now we will be discussing trade, North Korea, and others. It has been very special two days. On behalf of the United States of America, I would like to thank Prime Minister and Japan. We expect for a relationship that is even better than we have ever had before.

http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/n-america/us/security/index.html
(4) The two leaders then engaged in discussions on matters relating to bilateral security, including North Korea, the regional situation and Okinawa.

2. Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting

(1) Following the working lunch, commencing at around 1:30 p.m. for approximately 35 minutes, a Japan-U.S. summit meeting was held. In addition to the attendees of the lunch, Mr. Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, and Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, etc. participated in the meeting.

(2) In opening remarks, Prime Minister Abe said that over the working lunch, the two leaders held in-depth discussions on the issue of North Korea and other various international challenges, and that he looked forward to continuing discussions in this summit meeting on the regional situation, economic issues, and bilateral relations.

(3) In response, President Trump said that the working lunch had been a very good meeting, in which productive discussions took place particularly pertaining to trade, North Korea and a couple of other subjects . He mentioned his confidence in correction of the trade imbalance. He also noted that great friendship had been built with Japan.

(4) In the summit meeting, the two leaders continued to discuss the regional and international situation and economic issues.

3. Results

The results of Japan-U.S. Working Lunch and Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting are as follows:

(1) North Korea

(ⅰ) Introduction

The two leaders confirmed that both countries are 100% together on the issue of North Korea, and that the U.S. commitment to the region is unwavering, backed by the U.S. presence based on the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance. President Trump also reconfirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to Japan’s defense through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional.

(ⅱ) Reinforcing Pressure to North Korea

The two leaders shared the view that now is not the time for dialogue, that maximum pressure must be applied to North Korea, and the recognition that North Korea will not see a bright future unless it changes its course of actions toward denuclearization.

Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan intends to take additional measures, which President Trump welcomed in response.

Both leaders highly appreciated the fact that more countries have taken measures to downscale diplomatic and economic ties with North Korea and minimize the number of North Korean overseas workers in their countries. Both leaders also reaffirmed that they intend to continue to work together closely to this end.

The two leaders welcomed deepened coordination among Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and reaffirmed to further foster coordination among three countries.

Both leaders reaffirmed that the full implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea is imperative and confirmed that they intend to encourage related countries including China and Russia, including through direct engagement with their counterparts, so that the international community as a whole maximizes pressure on North Korea.

(2) Regional/Global Affairs

(ⅰ) Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy

The two leaders confirmed that a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is a cornerstone for peace and prosperity of the international community and called on all states to respect freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas, and reiterated that both countries intend to continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows. The two leaders stressed the importance of the Indo-Pacific region, which is the core of the vitality of the world with its vast population and economic dynamism.

In addition, both leaders affirmed that Japan and the United States will work together to promote peace and prosperity in the region by developing the Indo-Pacific as free and open and directed relevant ministers and institutions to flesh out detailed cooperation, in particular, in the following areas:

Promotion and establishment of fundamental values (rule of law, freedom of navigation, etc);
Pursuit of economic prosperity (improvement of connectivity, etc); and
Commitment for peace and stability (capacity building on maritime law enforcement, etc)
Both leaders reiterated that they will cooperate with any country that shares this vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

(ⅱ) East and South China Seas

The two leaders expressed concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and they reaffirmed their opposition to unilateral coercive actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions. They reiterated that maritime disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international law. Taking note of the progress of discussion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), they emphasized the importance of demilitarization of the disputed features in the South China Sea.

(ⅲ) China

The two leaders welcome China’s positive contribution to regional and global peace and prosperity, and stressed the importance for Japan and the U.S. to continue constructive dialogue with China.

(ⅳ) U.N. Security Council Reform

President Trump reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States for Japan’s permanent membership on a reformed UN Security Council.

(3) Japan-U.S. Relations

(ⅰ) Security

The two leaders shared the view that they intend to continue to work toward enhancing the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance amid an increasingly severe security environment in the region. Along with appreciating the achievements made at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (Japan-U.S. “2+2”) held in August 2017, they directed relevant ministers to continue to follow up with these achievements. The two leaders reaffirmed the commitment to the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan in accordance with previous affirmations , maintaining operational and deterrent capability of U.S. forces in Japan Both leaders reconfirmed that the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henokosaki is the only solution that avoids the continued use of MCAS Futenma and called for the steady implementation of the construction plan of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF), noting the adverse impact of further delays on the ability to provide for peace and security. Prime Minister Abe stated that it is essential to be responsive to local communities’ concerns regarding incidents, accidents and other issues. Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of engaging local communities about the purpose of training and of allaying concerns about safety.

(ⅱ) Economy

The two leaders welcomed that Deputy Prime Minister Aso and Vice President Pence confirmed the importance of strengthening bilateral economic, trade and investment ties at the second round of the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue held on October 16. They shared the view that both countries intend to take the initiative to establish high-standard trade and investment rules, advance cooperation on enforcement of unfair trade practices in third countries, and take a strong lead in supporting development and investment in the region and the world.

In addition, the two leaders confirmed to address the following matters in the field of trade and investment with a view to further strengthening the Japan-U.S. economic relationship.

In the field of motor vehicles, both countries affirmed that they will strengthen cooperation bilaterally and, as appropriate, at relevant international fora such as World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP29), on motor vehicle standards and the promotion of good regulatory practices. In addition, it is decided that U.S. safety standards found to be no less stringent than those of Japan will be deemed to meet the corresponding standards of Japan, and that imported motor vehicles under the Preferential Handling Procedure will be provided with equivalent opportunities to be eligible for government financial incentives.

On life sciences innovation, the Japanese side decided to increase transparency in its system including by extending the time for industry organizations to present their views at the Central Social Insurance Medical Council (‘Chuikyo’).

Moreover, the U.S. side confirmed that it is considering amending regulations related to the standards of fill for bottled distilled spirits.
The two leaders shared the view to carry forward the “Japan-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership” within the framework of the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue. They also highlighted their commitment to cooperate on investment opportunities in energy, infrastructure, and other critical sectors to support development in emerging markets. Moreover, they shared the view that cooperation should take place between the relevant bodies that will jointly carry out infrastructure development in third countries.

Furthermore, the two leaders welcomed that investment to the United States by Japanese companies remains at a high level, and shared the view to promote two-way trade between Japan and the United States.

The two leaders took note of the signing of MOCs in the field of health and the housing for aging population. They also recognized the space cooperation between Japan and the United States and noted the holding of the second International Space Exploration Forum on March 3, 2018 in Tokyo. The two leaders shared the view that both countries will promote further cooperation in such areas as the exploration of space, health, and “aging in place.”

(ⅲ) Grassroots-level endeavors

The two leaders shared the view to further enhance grassroots-level exchanges and dissemination of information in various parts of the United States.


 
 

World Assembly for Women: WAW! 2017 “WAW! Tokyo Declaration.”

Foreign Affairs, Friday, November 3, 2017

“WAW! 2017” was held in Tokyo from November 1 to 3. Based on major proposals presented by the participants, “WAW! Tokyo Declaration” was delivered as the outcome of “WAW! 2017”.


 
 

Foreign Minister Kono meets with USTR Lighthizer

Foreign Affairs, Sunday, November 5, 2017

On November 5, commencing at 5:32 p.m. for approximately 45 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a meeting with his counterpart Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative. The overview of the meeting is as follows. Foreign Minister Kono and Ambassador Lighthizer last met in August of this year.

1. Both sides welcomed that achievements were confirmed at the second round of the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue between Mr. Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister and the Honorable Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States of America, held on October 16.

2. Moreover, both sides held constructive discussions from the viewpoint of dramatically enhancing the Japan-U.S. economic relationship and leading robust growth in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.


 
 

Japan-Philippines Summit Meeting and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, October 30, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On October 30, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting and other events with H.E. Mr. Rodrigo R. Duterte, President of the Philippines, at the Prime Minister's Office.

The two leaders attended a salute and guard of honor ceremony, and then held a summit meeting. Thereafter, the leaders held a signing ceremony and a joint press announcement.

Lastly, the Prime Minister hosted a banquet at the Prime Minister's Official Residence and said in his address,

“I would like to thank President Duterte for inviting my wife Akie and me to his home in Davao when I visited the Philippines in January. I was overjoyed to have the chance to deepen the relationship between our two families.

When I went to Davao, I was also greatly moved by the warm welcome I received from students at a university I visited. We uploaded a video of that visit on the Prime Minister’s Office’s Facebook page, and it received a tremendous amount of views, over 1.3 million in fact. Approximately 90% of the people that viewed the video did so from the Philippines. I encourage people from Japan to view it as well.

I believe this demonstrates how Japan and the Philippines enjoy a deep and warm relationship akin to that of a family or siblings.

I wish to once again express my heartfelt gratitude to President Duterte for taking the time to visit Japan despite his busy schedule, just two weeks prior to his hosting of the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings.

I will spare no effort in supporting President Duterte, who will chair these meetings, to ensure their success.

We have invited leaders from many different places to today’s banquet, all of whom are supporting these kinds of invaluable cordial relations between our two countries in a variety of different fields, including politics, the economy, and culture.

It is thanks to the efforts of all the people present that Japan and the Philippines today share such excellent relations. I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your contributions, and to ask for your continued assistance for the further development of these relations.

Let us now offer a toast to the good health and happiness of President Duterte and all the distinguished guests here tonight, and to a further deepening of the relationships of friendship and cooperation linking the people of Japan and the Philippines. Mabuhay!”


 
 

Japan-Philippines Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, October 31, 2017

On October 31, commencing at 11:05 a.m. for approximately 40 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers’ meeting with H.E. Mr. Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, who is accompanying H.E. Mr. Rodrigo R. Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, on his trip to Japan. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. Bilateral relations

Minister Kono welcomed the visit to Japan by President Duterte and Secretary Cayetano, explained that he is pleased to meet Secretary Cayetano again following their meeting in August this year, and stated that he expects to make this visit as an opportunity for further strengthening the “strategic partnership” between the two countries. Furthermore, Minister Kono welcomed that a joint statement on cooperation over the coming five years was issued between the two countries’ leaders, and stated that he will advance cooperation further. In response, Secretary Cayetano expressed his sincere gratitude for Japan’s support, stated that it is wonderful that Japan does not simply provide material and financial support but extends cooperation from the planning stage, and explained that he intends to work together with Minister Kono to achieve cooperation that befits what President Duterte refers to as the “golden age” of the “strategic partnership” between the two countries.

2. Regional affairs

(1) Minister Kono expressed gratitude for the Philippine leadership as Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and explained that he intends to cooperate closely for the success of the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings in two weeks’ time. The two ministers shared the view that they will cooperate closely for the success of the upcoming meetings.

(2) The two ministers exchanged views on regional affairs, including North Korea and the South China Sea, and Minister Kono stated that it is important to intensify pressure on North Korea. Secretary Cayetano expressed strong support for Japan’s position on North Korea. In addition, Minister Kono requested understanding and cooperation to promptly resolve the abductions issue.

(3) Minister Kono expressed gratitude for the consistent support from the Philippines for Japan in the international arena, and the two ministers confirmed that they will work together to deal with various challenges.


 
 

Courtesy Call from the NATO Secretary General and Joint Press Announcement

Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On October 31, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from H.E. Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, at the Prime Minister's Office. Following this, the leaders held a joint press announcement.


 
 

Japan-Papua New Guinea Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On November 7, commencing at 6:30 p.m. for approximately 30 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a meeting with the Hon. Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the margins of the Viet Nam - APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Ministerial Meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1. First, Minister Kono expressed congratulations on Minister Pato’s re-election in the general election held in PNG from June to July this year, and reappointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Minister Kono explained that PNG is an important partner that shares deep historical and economic ties with Japan, and that he intends to cooperate closely toward next year’s Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 8). In response, Minister Pato expressed gratitude for Japan’s APEC support to PNG, and stated that he hopes to further deepen the relationship of cooperation between the two countries in the future.

2. The two ministers shared the view that they will cooperate toward PALM 8, which will be held in Fukushima in May next year, and the APEC that PNG will host in November next year.

3. Furthermore, the two ministers exchanged views on the situation of North Korea, and Minister Pato expressed strong support for Japan’s position concerning North Korea, including the abductions issue.

4. Minister Kono expressed his appreciation for PNG's consistent support for Japan in the international arena, and the two ministers shared the view that the two countries will continue to work together closely.


 
 

Japan-Brunei Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On November 7, commencing at 5:40 p.m. (local time) for approximately 25 minutes, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs, held a foreign ministers’ meeting with Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Dewa Dato Seri Setia Lim Jock Seng, Minister at Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, in Da Nang, Viet Nam, where Minister Kono is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

1 Bilateral relations

Minister Kono welcomed the recent increase in high-level bilateral visits, expressed congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the accession to the throne of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei this year, and explained that he intends to further strengthen bilateral relations. Additionally, Minister Kono stated that he hopes to cooperate on Brunei’s economic diversification, and, based on the cooperative relationship that Japan has been building thus far with Brunei, which serves as the coordinating country for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) with Japan, he intends to cooperate further toward the success of ASEAN-related Summit Meetings.

In response, Minister Lim stated that he is very happy that Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan signed a congratulatory book on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the accession to the throne of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. Minister Lim explained that he intends to further strengthen the bilateral relationship with Japan, including through cooperating to diversify Brunei’s economy.

2 Regional affairs

The two ministers exchanged views on regional affairs, including North Korea and the South China Sea, and shared the view that they will coordinate closely. In particular, with regard to North Korea, they shared the view that it is necessary to intensify pressure on North Korea, and shared recognition of the importance of promptly resolving the abductions issue.


 
 

Council for Designing 100-Year Life Society

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, October 27, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On October 27, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second meeting of the Council for Designing 100-Year Life Society at the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the meeting, debate took place on eliminating or reducing tuition fees for preschool education and higher education.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“Today, there was a discussion on eliminating or reducing tuition fees for preschool education and higher education.

We need to make great strides in making preschool education free in order to support child-rearing households and fundamentally transform the social security system into one oriented to all generations. We will eliminate all tuition fees for kindergartens and childcare centers for three- to five-year-old children in which many children enroll. For children between the ages of zero and two as well, we will work to eliminate childcare waiting lists and eliminate fees for low-income households.

In order to avoid entrenching disparities, we will reform into a society in which everyone can go to a specialized vocational college or university if they have the ambition to do so, no matter how difficult their family financial circumstances are. We will realize free higher education for children from low-income households who are truly in need of support. Along with the expansion of tuition waiver measures, we will significantly increase the amount of fund-type scholarships to be able to cover all necessary daily life expenses.

We will bring forward the schedule for the Plan for Raising Children with Peace of Mind, which aims to achieve zero children on waiting lists, and further expand the capacity of childcare facilities by 320,000 children by FY2020. It means that we will have expanded the capacity of facilities by 590,000 children, which already greatly exceeds our target, before expanding the capacity further by an additional 320,000 children by FY2020.

To reduce to zero the number of people who leave employment to offer nursing care to their family members by securing the necessary number of caregiving personnel, we will further improve employment conditions so as to eliminate the gap in wages with other industries.

For these measures, we will compile bold policies that amount to two trillion yen by the end of the year. We will need a stable source of funding to carry out these policies. This funding will mainly come from tax revenue. For the most part we will make use of the added revenue from the increase in consumption tax by reviewing its usage. This is something that the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) committed to during this last election. I myself have explained at all times. I consider this as our promise to the people.

At the same time, based on the discussions of institutional reforms for a 100-year life society by the ruling parties, I would like the Council to make concrete considerations for how we can request a contribution of around 300 billion yen from the business community in this endeavor.”


 
 

Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS “Museum of Together” Exhibition

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, October 30, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On October 30, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Nippon Foundation DIVERSITY IN THE ARTS “Museum of Together” Exhibition held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“Today, having visited this exhibition for the first time, I felt that art is truly an embodiment of diversity. A poet by the name of Misuzu Kaneko was from my hometown and she wrote a poem called “Everyone is different, everyone is wonderful.” I believe that the works of art displayed here today capture this idea of making the most of the people’s diversity and their individuality.


I first saw works involving animals that had been crafted from fallen leaves. The fact that such unique animals can be created from fallen leaves is truly remarkable. I also looked at the pictures by Ryunosuke. Even though he is still in his teens, his pictures somehow fill me with a great sense of nostalgia.

In addition, I saw some of the works created by artist Shingo. I hope he will enjoy great success in his newest artistic endeavors as well.

Looking ahead, Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I would like all of the Japanese people to be able to show the world the wonders of Japan.

I hope that a great many people will come experience and enjoy these works of art created by people with disabilities.”


 
 

Japan-Israel Summit Telephone Talk

Foreign Affairs, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, had a telephone conversation for approximately 15 minutes commencing at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, with H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel. The overview is as follows.

1. In the beginning, H.E. Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu extended his congratulations to Prime Minister Abe upon his victory in the recent House of Representatives election. Prime Minister Netanyahu Majesty also stressed that he will work together with Prime Minister Abe to further enhance the relations between Japan and the State of Israel. In return, Prime Minister Abe expressed his gratitude.

2. Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed regional situation including North Korea and the Middle East Peace Process. Both leaders affirmed continued cooperation to promote the “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative. Furthermore, both leaders shared the view to advance the mutual cooperation aimed at the stability and prosperity of the region as well as to further deepen the relationship between Japan and Israel.

 
 

Opinion Poll on Japan in ten ASEAN Countries

Foreign Affairs, Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned IPSOS Indonesia to conduct an opinion poll on the image of Japan in ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) in March 2017. The poll was carried out with 300 respondents aged from 18 to 59 in each country through online and face-to-face interview. The results of the poll are as follows.

1. 89% (previous survey: 75%) of the respondents answered “friendly” or “somewhat friendly” on how they viewed their country’s relations with Japan. This result indicates that Japan established a positive image in ASEAN member states.

2. 91% (previous survey: 73%) of the respondents answered “very reliable” or “somewhat reliable” on how they rate Japan as a reliable friend. This result indicates that Japan enjoys the confidence of majority people in ASEAN member states.

3. 88% (previous survey: 82%) of the respondents answered that Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation for the past 70 years since the end of the World War II.

4. 87% (previous survey: 84%) of the respondents answered “very helpful” or “rather helpful” on how they rate Japan’s development cooperation such as economic and technical cooperation under Official Development Assistance. This result indicates that ASEAN member states appreciate Japan’s contribution to them.

5. 90% (previous survey: 84%) of the respondents answered “very valuable” or “valuable” on how they rate Japan’s efforts to promote people-to-people exchanges including youth exchange with ASEAN.

6. Moreover, 55% of the respondents chose Japan as the country that has contributed the most to the development of ASEAN over the last 50 years, which was the highest rating among G20 nations

 
 

Japan's Assistance Initiatives to Address Climate Change 2017

Foreign Affairs, Monday, October 30, 2017

With the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in November last year, the world is now moving toward its implementation.
Japan's Assistance Initiatives to Address Climate Change 2017 (Initiatives 2017) aims to accelerate climate change measures and sustainable development in developing countries through "co-innovation" by collaboration with important state and non-state actors, and uptake of advanced technology and know-how to address challenges.
Japan Pavilion in COP23 Bonn Zone is showcasing the projects and programs under this Initiatives 2017 including the new partnership on transparency. Japan will promote the Initiative 2017 to enhance implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The summary of Initiatives 2017 is as follows. (See Attachment 1 for details.)
1. Vision of Initiatives 2017
In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must diminish the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission extensively worldwide. Such efforts will also reduce vulnerability deriving from climate change and contribute to establishing a resilient society. In addition, it is essential to pursue the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through economic growth, increased employment, infrastructure development and improved access to water, food and energy.
Innovation of technology and social and economic systems are indispensable to transform the world. Japan will enhance collaboration with developing countries by utilizing its advanced technology and know-how, and create "co-innovation" to address their challenges and needs.
Moreover, further opportunities of co-innovation should be enhanced by visualizing those needs and seeds. It is important to develop institutions and capacities in developing countries and promote the engagement of private companies and local governments for implementing climate change activities. For this purpose, Japan will establish the Partnership to Strengthen Transparency for Co-Innovation (PaSTI).
We will continue to support developing countries to accelerate climate change measures and sustainable development.
2. Projects and Programs under Initiatives 2017
Japan will implement the projects and the programs on adaptation, mitigation and transparency:
Adaptation
(1) Science-based development of adaptation plans and strategies
(2) Implementation of adaptation projects
(3) Promotion of adaptation actions by non-state stakeholders
Mitigation
(1) Capability building on development, implementation and progress management of NDC
(2) Innovation of low-carbon technology and promotion of its dissemination
(3) Promotion of mitigation actions taken by non-state actors
Transparency
Partnership to Strengthen Transparency for Co-Innovation (PaSTI)

 
 

Press Conference by Foreign Minister Taro Kono (November 2, 2017, 3:37 p.m.)

Foreign Affairs, Thursday, November 2, 2017

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

Opening Remarks

(1) Remarks upon Reappointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs

Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I am Taro Kono and I have just been reappointed as Foreign Minister in the 4th Abe Cabinet. I look forward to working with you.

As I have explained previously, I want to continue to focus on six priority areas.

The first is strengthening the Japan-US Alliance as the security environment surrounding Japan, including the North Korea issue, is becoming increasingly severe.

The second is bolstering cooperative ties with neighboring countries, including China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Russia.

The third is moving forward as a proponent of free trade amid the emergence of protectionist trends.

The fourth is firmly addressing global issues, such as disarmament and climate change.

The fifth is contributing further to peace and stability in the Middle East.

The sixth is ensuring that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open as a global commons.

I intend to emphasize these areas in pursuing foreign policy.

(2) Attendance at the APEC Da Nang Ministerial Meeting in Vietnam

Minister Kono: I will attend the APEC Ministerial Meeting being held in Da Nang, Vietnam on November 7 and 8. I look forward to seeing all of you there.

I hope to deliver a message of taking the lead in promoting free trade in APEC, based on the outcomes of the G7 and G20 meetings, at the APEC Ministerial Meeting.

I will hold bilateral meetings with chair Vietnam and other participating countries, and intend to exchange views broadly on international affairs.

Visit by US President Trump

Yomiuri Shimbun, Goto: President Trump will visit Japan from November 5. I assume that discussions at the Japan-US Summit Meeting on November 6 will touch upon security and economic areas. What outcomes are you anticipating in terms of security and foreign policy?

Minister Kono: I would like to refrain from commenting about outcomes at this stage because the schedule details and other aspects are still being coordinated.

Asahi Shimbun, Tajima: I have a related question. President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are planning to play golf together. While some observers suggest that this could strengthen trust between the two leaders, others are critical of playing golf amid tensions in the situation relating to North Korea. What are your thoughts about the significance of golf diplomacy?

Minister Kono: As Foreign Minister, I have found that in my many bilateral and multilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of other countries, ultimately human relationships are extremely important. I cannot share specific cases but, for example, with the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament recently submitted by Japan, I felt in telephone talks and other interactions that personal relations in some respect were a key factor in getting some counterparts to change their attitude toward Japan’s resolution. At the Foreign Ministers’ level as well, I believe whether or not good personal relations exist is very important in determining how smoothly matters progress.

I think the relationship between top leaders in terms of the extent of trust they have at the personal level, is even more likely to strongly influence various matters.

I meet with Foreign Ministers from a variety of countries. For example, the Tunisian Foreign Minister will be coming today and I recently met with the Foreign Minister from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On these occasions, I try as much as possible to have a dinner or lunch together. Whether it is dinner or golf, if there is time, the main point is building trust. I expect the two leaders to discuss a variety of matters on the golf course.

If Japan or the Japanese Prime Minister curtailed their behavior because North Korea might launch a missile or conduct a nuclear test, it would mean that we were capitulating to the threat. I do not see any problem with playing a round of golf given Japan’s robust crisis management structure.

Speech by a Japanese Atomic Bombing Victim at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony

Freelance, Kamide: This is related to nuclear disarmament, which you touched upon briefly in the opening sentence. Japan opposes the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. At the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) there will be a speech by a Japanese atomic bombing victim. Some people in Hiroshima are very pleased with this opportunity. Please explain your thoughts, as Foreign Minister, about the fact that a Japanese atomic bombing victim will deliver a speech at the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.

Minister Kono: I think it is extremely important to inform people about what happened in Hiroshima. It is very valuable to communicate the experiences of war and nuclear weapons to the next generation, which never experienced war, including myself. To that end, we strongly encouraged former President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima. The Japanese Government is highly pleased with the fact that atomic bombing survivors have opportunities to explain their experience in various fora.

Japan-Russia Relations

RIA Novosti Press, Naka: I have a question about the Japan-Russia relations. Please explain any future plans, including a possible visit by you to Russia. Recently, some progress can be seen with regard to the joint economic activities. Could you share your thoughts on this as well?

Minister Kono: I would like to visit Russia as soon as possible in November or December. I need to consult about and reach decisions on various matters with various counterparts, including Foreign Minister Lavrov, and at a meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues, and hope to make such consultations at an early timing.

Based on the results of the field surveys, discussions between the co-chairs of the working groups regarding the way forward and other matters will take place today and tomorrow. I hope that the working groups too will make swift progress. I have heard that the surveys were very meaningful.

Visit by US President Trump to Japan

Kyodo Press, Fukuda: You said that you could not comment on the meeting outcomes but please offer your thoughts about the significance of reconfirming the bonds between Japan and the United States at this timing.

Minister Kono: With the North Korea crisis, President Trump has already stated that Japan and the United States are together 100% and this stance has not wavered by even a single millimeter. The entire U.S. Government, including Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Mattis, have maintained a consistent stance. A visit by the leader of our ally in this context sends a message to the world in a variety of ways that the bonds of the Japan-US Alliance are extremely robust.

NHK, Ishii: I have a related question. President Trump will be visiting Asia, his first trip to the region. His stops include Japan and then the ROK, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. What do you see as the significance of this trip?

Minister Kono: The United States spoke about a pivot to Asia during President Obama’s tenure. Setting aside whether “Asia pivot” is the right term or not, I believe the new administration continues to recognize the importance of Asia and President Trump’s trip demonstrates the administration’s focus on the region. Japan is calling for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” extending from Africa, a region with significant potential for growth, through the Near and Middle East and India and across the Pacific Ocean to the United States, to be a global commons, that is open to all countries, as a driver of further economic development. Japan and the United States will continue to take steps to firmly support this initiative.

“Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”

Jiji Press, Otsu: I have a question related to the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” which you just mentioned. You stated that this area should be a global commons. Could you explain whether a joint message on this will be delivered once again at the Japan-US Summit Meeting? Could you also please explain once again the significance of holding strategic dialogue at the Summit level among Japan, the United States, Australia, and India as a specific example of such collaboration?

Minister Kono: I think it is still too early to talk about the outcomes of the Summit Meeting as coordination is still taking place on specific topics of discussion and outcomes.

The “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” contributes to the economic advancement of all countries. It involves cooperation among many countries, including coastal countries and the United States, in anti-piracy measures, ensuring the rule of law, and disaster prevention. Japan will make efforts to ensure that these goals can be accomplished.

We are currently engaged in discussions of trade and other matters through Japan-US-India and Japan-US-Australia frameworks and hope to arrange discussions among Japan, the United States, Australia, and India in some type of format at some point. Since the United States withdrew from the TPP, Japan thinks that it is important to continue to promote the importance of free trade in the Asia-Pacific region, centered on Japan, the United States, and Australia. Furthermore, Japan considers it to be essential, together with Australia, to appeal to the United States to return to the TPP.

For the Japan-US-India framework, infrastructure is a key issue and a high speed rail project will be starting soon. We aim to discuss the importance of infrastructure in Asia.

Nikkei, Hayashi: This is related to the previous question. I think a framework of Japan, the United States, Australia, and India might send a message that aggravates China. What are your thoughts about this aspect?

Minister Kono: This format is not at all focused on China. First, with regard to free trade, which I just mentioned, the question is how to achieve free trade in the region and I imagine that India is likely to ultimately join at a future stage. In the Japan-US-India format, we are looking at infrastructure and how to respond to extensive demand for infrastructure in Asia and with what arrangements. This also entails ensuring that quality infrastructure becomes the international standard. Such talks are certainly necessary.

Reflections on Experience as Minister for Foreign Affairs

NHK, Tsuji: You assumed your post on August 3 and have been reappointed. It has been three months. I think a personal “Kono” style should naturally emerge as you continue to serve as Foreign Minister. As you mentioned at the outset, you have participated in many Foreign Ministers’ Meetings over the past three months. What are your feelings about the job of Minister for Foreign Affairs after three months? Has it been different to how you imagined? What are your impressions?

Minister Kono: I have realized that personal relations are even more important than I had originally anticipated. It has become very clear to me that diplomacy ultimately comes down to people. This is evident in the relations between Foreign Ministers, counterpart governments and our ambassadors, our government and ambassadors of counterpart countries, and the various senior officials and others at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Looking at meetings conducted at various levels, you can see how getting along well strongly affects matters. I thus believe that building personal relations is extremely important.

Another point is the need for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to modernize further given advances in internationalization and use of ICT. For example, the number of visa applications is increasing at an explosive rate. Immigration control is currently under considerable pressure amid growing needs. Visas, the prior stage, are facing a similar situation if things stay the same. During the recent general election, it appears that the overseas voting process was rather difficult. Perhaps because I wrote something in my blog, there have been many comments about difficulty voting, inability to vote, and the need for something to be done. I spoke to Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Noda about the importance of making efforts to ensure that people are able to vote online by the next House of Councillors’ election. While I cannot say for certain at this moment whether this will be accomplished, this should be our aim. Minister Noda actually thinks online voting is important in Japan too, as well and we spoke about the Ministry of Foreign Affairs taking part in a forum being organized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and also the possibility of a test with overseas voting. I think it is vital to steadily incorporate such new types of technology. Telephone talks are truly conducted by phone, but throughout the world people are using Skype and video conferencing. While in some ways this might make things less relaxed because you can see the other person’s expressions and you would have to wear a tie during the call, I think technology could be used in a variety of ways. In foreign policy, there are traditional elements that have been maintained over the past years but there is also room for new technologies. I think various things can be done, perhaps at a foundational level.

 
 

Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting and Other Events

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, November 6, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On November 6, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a summit meeting and other events with the Honorable Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, at Akasaka Palace State Guest House.

The two leaders attended a salute and guard of honor ceremony, and then had a working lunch and a summit meeting. Thereafter, the leaders held talks with the families of abductees, and hosted a joint press conference.

Finally, the Prime Minister hosted a state banquet, and said in his address,

“Today, I am overjoyed to have an opportunity to host this welcome banquet to celebrate the first visit to Japan by my good friends President Trump and First Lady Melania.

Yesterday we engaged in golf diplomacy, which drew much attention from around the world. We have made all aspects of it public, except for our scores. I believe that we demonstrated to the world the strength of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. We are, however, not the first people to practice U.S.-Japan golf diplomacy. The first instance of this occurred precisely 60 years ago between my grandfather and former U.S. President Eisenhower.

After their round of golf, President Eisenhower is said to have commented that he had been forced to sit at tables with many people he disliked since becoming President, but he could only play golf with people he liked. If I added to that, I would say that I could only play two rounds of golf with someone I like very much. Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

Yesterday, we were joined at golf by Mr. Hideki Matsuyama. Tonight, we are joined by another golfer who was one of Mr. Matsuyama’s predecessors, Mr. Isao Aoki. Actually, President Trump and I were talking about Mr. Aoki, just yesterday. His putting ability amazed the world. When we were talking about it, Donald commented that Mr. Aoki’s putting is an art form, but that Mr. Aoki is the only one capable of doing it, and no one should try to imitate him. Next time, I hope to play together with Mr. Aoki as well.

Today, First Lady Melania tried her hand at calligraphy. She wrote the first character of ‘heiwa’ or ‘peace,’ and my wife wrote the second. Japan and the United States are truly working hand-in-hand to contribute to regional and global peace. The wonderful work of calligraphy that my wife and First Lady Melania produced together symbolizes the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

Over these past two days, President Trump and I were able to spend a great deal of time in deep conversation about various global issues. I wish to once again express my gratitude to President Trump and First Lady Melania for meeting with the families of the abductees.

It has been just one year since I met President Trump. In the history of the Japan-U.S. alliance, which spans more than half a century, I am convinced that there has never been a year in which the leaders of Japan and the United States have been connected by such strong and deep bonds of friendship as the two of us.

The cordial relationship that exists between our two countries is not supported by the leaders of each country alone. That relationship exists thanks to the efforts of leaders in a variety of fields, including politics, the economy, and culture. Today we are joined by people from various field, who are all working very hard every day for the friendship between Japan and the United States. I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my gratitude, and to ask for your continued assistance for the further development of these relations.

Last but not the least, I would like to say that I believe that this first trip by President Trump to Japan was truly a historic event. On your final evening here in Japan, I hope you can relax to your heart’s content. I would also like to express my heartfelt wish that President Trump and First Lady Melania’s tour of Asia, which has started in Japan, will be a tremendous success.

I now wish to offer a toast to the good health and happiness of President Trump and First Lady Melania, and to the further development of the cordial relations between the people of Japan and the United States. A toast, cheers!"