"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by Prime Minister Kishida regarding the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and Other Matters

[Date] November 13, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

First of all, during the series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-related summit meetings, I once again emphasized Japan's unwavering support for ASEAN's centrality and unity, as well as for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Next year, we will mark the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. We agreed that, accordingly, we will hold an ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in December 2023 in Tokyo, in addition to the regular ASEAN-Japan Summit.

Having explained Japan's stance regarding Russian aggression towards Ukraine, North Korea, and other urgent issues and made other interventions, I feel that I succeeded in having meaningful exchanges of views and discussions with the other countries attending.

Since becoming Prime Minister, I have been especially proactive in developing the ties between Japan and ASEAN and Japan's diplomacy regarding Japan-ASEAN affairs. I consider it significant that, amid changes in international affairs, through this visit we succeeded in confirming once more the strengthening of Japan's cooperation with ASEAN, as the relationship between Japan and ASEAN has a great impact on global peace and prosperity.

As for the Japan-U.S., Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK), and Japan-ROK summit meetings, first of all, during the Japan-U.S. meeting, we agreed that as the security environment grows increasingly severe, we will further reinforce the deterrence and the response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and press forward with efforts to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. We also had an exchange of views regarding regional issues and we confirmed that we will never condone attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force. We also reaffirmed that Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons is absolutely unacceptable, and that it goes without saying that nuclear weapons should never be used under any circumstances. Furthermore, I stated that we are in the process of formulating a new national security strategy by the end of 2022 and I once again expressed my determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capabilities and to secure a substantial increase in the defense budget needed to effect that. This received strong support from President Biden.

Regarding the Japan-U.S.-ROK summit meeting, in the face of North Korea's ongoing provocations being unprecedented in both their frequency and their manner, and moreover the possibility of further provocations looming in the future, Japan-U.S. and Japan-ROK bilateral cooperation, as well as Japan-U.S.-ROK trilateral cooperation, is becoming increasingly important. It was in such a context that the Japan-U.S.-ROK summit meeting was held. We were all in full agreement to take resolute actions towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

In the Japan-ROK summit meeting, President Yoon and I confirmed that we will cooperate towards both resolving North Korea issues and realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Regarding the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula, we agreed to pursue an early resolution of this issue, building on the accelerated talks between our diplomatic authorities, following the instructions President Yoon and I gave in New York. These are the matters we talked about during our meeting.

Finally, regarding the temporary cancellation of some of my bilateral meetings because of the resignation of former Justice Minister Hanashi, you mentioned in your question the three countries of Viet Nam, Lao PDR, and Brunei, and I have held meetings, informal discussions, and informal talks with all three from yesterday into today, taking advantage of opportunities before and after the multilateral meetings. Also, on the occasion of the series of multilateral meetings, there is a waiting room where participants can come together in the same place and talk with each other, coordinate schedules, and so on. During the upcoming meetings, we were able to secure ample time to meet behind the scenes, including making use of the time for the gala dinner on the schedule. In between various commitments we have been able to reserve sufficient time to talk with various national leaders, including the leaders of Viet Nam, Lao PDR, and Brunei, as you mentioned. As a result, I regard us as having accomplished the objective we set at the start.

(On scheduling a Japan-China summit meeting and other matters)

The date for a Japan-China summit meeting has not yet been set, but our coordination towards holding the meeting is still underway. With regard to what we will address during the meeting, Japan and China have various areas of potential between them, and at the same time, there are many issues and outstanding areas of concern. I will say to China what needs to be said and urge China to act responsibly. Also, by assiduously continuing to hold dialogues with China, including on outstanding areas of concern, we will cooperate on matters of common interest. I consider it necessary to build up such constructive and stable Japan-China bilateral relations through efforts on the part of both countries. I very much hope to make our meeting an opportunity to advance our efforts, our dialogues, and our discussions.

(On whether a Japan-China summit meeting is more likely to take place on the sidelines of the G20 Summit or the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting)

At present, we are coordinating the schedule keeping both open as possibilities. Our coordination is continuing as we work towards holding this meeting.

(On exchanges regarding the accident that occurred in Itaewon)

At the beginning of the meeting, I expressed my condolences regarding the tragic accident and also conveyed my thanks for the ROK side giving special consideration to the families of the two Japanese victims. President Yoon also provided an explanation of the situation. That was the exchange we had regarding this matter.

(On Prime Minister Kishida's intention behind his strong criticism of China and China's reaction to it)

You mentioned "criticism" in your question to me just now, but as I just stated, there are various areas of potential between Japan and China, while at the same time there are a number of issues and outstanding areas of concern. Given this, Japan's fundamental stance is to say to China the things that need to be said. Accordingly, I will point out the outstanding issues of concern that need to be pointed out, while at the same time cooperating on matters where cooperation is merited. The result of this is building up constructive and stable Japan-China bilateral relations, and I intend to proceed under that very principle. It was under that principle of saying the things that should be said that I made interventions at the East Asia Summit (EAS) as well. I consider these kinds of frank comments to be important in the future for stabilizing Japan-China relations, and since I made my comments, there has not been any reaction from the Chinese side, at least as far as I have heard.

(On whether or not the issue of Taiwan was discussed)

As for the Taiwan issue, actually the Japan-U.S.-ROK meeting focused primarily on North Korea issues. My recollection is that we did not have in-depth exchanges about other regional affairs.