Wednesday, July 4, 2012 (AM)
Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)
Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura
- The holding of a meeting of the Information Security Policy Council
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Today, the 30th meeting of the Information Security Policy Council was held a moment ago. The meeting decided on "Information Security 2012", the fiscal year's plan concerning the information security strategy for protecting the people in order to properly respond to the changes in the information security environment, including the outbreak of full-fledged cyber attacks and increasing dependence of socioeconomic activities on information-communication technology (ICT). Regarding the results of the meeting - the details, the National Information Security Center will be holding a briefing after this at the Cabinet Office Annex Building.
- The Northern Territories issue (The Russian Prime Minister's visit to Kunashiri Island)
- A Taiwanese vessel's entering Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands
REPORTER: My question concerns Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island. He is quoted as saying that the island is Russian territory and he has no intention of handing it over. What are the Japanese Government's thoughts on this and its response moving forward? Also, while the Government lodged a protest against the Russian Ambassador to Japan yesterday, I would like to know whether this is it for the Government's response.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to briefly touch on the facts and related information. On the afternoon of July 3, that is, yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island. This visit to Kunashiri Island by Prime Minister Medvedev runs counter to Japan's position on the Four Northern Islands and is extremely regrettable. We recognize that it also throws cold water on efforts to create a forward-oriented atmosphere for bilateral relations. In response to Russian Prime Minister Medvedev's visit to Kunashiri Island, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenichiro Sasae summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Evgeny Vladimirovich Afanasiev yesterday evening and stated as follows:
- Your Prime Minister visited Kunashiri Island. Kunashiri Island is an inherent territory of Japan. The Government of Japan finds the visit unacceptable and extremely regrettable.
- We must say that the visit throws cold water on the forward-oriented atmosphere of the bilateral relations that was being fostered recently, and we express our concern.
In response, Ambassador Afanasiev stated the basic position of Russia. Looking back, prior to this, Japan urged Russia not to make the visit on a variety of levels. To give just one example, on June 27, Minister for Foreign Affairs Koichiro Gemba expressed concerns to Russian Ambassador to Japan Afanasiev beforehand, that if Prime Minister Medvedev visits the Four Northern Islands, this would run counter to Japan's position, and even as a forward-oriented atmosphere is now being fostered for bilateral relations, such a visit would make it difficult to promote efforts to advance bilateral cooperation. Regarding your last or third question about the way forward, while we are informed that the purpose of the Prime Minister's visit to the Four Northern Islands was to observe the situation of the development of the area, the Government of Japan will continue to closely monitor the situation of the development of the Four Northern Islands.
REPORTER: This morning, a vessel with Taiwanese activists on board entered Japanese territorial waters near Uotsuri Island, and I believe a Liaison Office has been established. May I ask you to discuss the facts you are aware of at this stage and the response you will be taking going forward?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes, I will speak on this. On Wednesday, July 4, today, around 6:35am, a Japan Coast Guard (JCG) aircraft noticed the vessel, "Quanjiafu," carrying Taiwanese activists during its navigation within a Japanese contiguous zone approximately 19.9 nautical miles west of Uotsuri Island. Around 7:13am, JCG issued a warning by wireless. As the vessel entered the territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands, the JCG patrol vessel continued to issue a warning by wireless and monitored the vessel. Afterwards, the vessel wandered within the territorial waters, and I understand it is still navigating the waters. Even later, one vessel of Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration (CGA), which I understand is an agency like the JCG, has entered the territorial waters. It is plausible that the vessel was dispatched from the Taiwanese side as well to issue a warning. At the Prime Minister's Office, at 7:13am, a Liaison Office of the Prime Minister's Office was established, and information gathering was reinforced. We will continue to take necessary responses, including the required monitoring and surveillance, etc. based on close coordination and cooperation under the leadership of the Prime Minister's Office. This is the situation at this point in time.