News / Asia

    Q&A: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida

    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is interviewed by VOA in Tokyo, February 27, 2013.       Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is interviewed by VOA in Tokyo, February 27, 2013.
    x
    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is interviewed by VOA in Tokyo, February 27, 2013.
    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is interviewed by VOA in Tokyo, February 27, 2013.
    Transcript: VOA's Steve Herman sat down with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss regional territorial disputes and other issues. (The following questions were asked in English; answers are translated from Japanese.)
     
    VOA: Mr. Foreign Minister, members of this Abe administration and some of your own diplomats have, in the past, expressed a desire for Japan to pursue a foreign policy more independent of Washington. How is it possible to do this while, at the same time, having a closer defense alliance with the United States as both Washington and Tokyo seem to desire?
     
    Kishida: First of all, in terms of our countries' diplomacy, the U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone. That is what our country has decided on its own in implementing such policies. Strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance is not only important Japan but to all of East Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions because it leads to regional peace and stability. This was affirmed at the recent Japan-U.S. summit. Our country, at the same time, has to make efforts to strengthen our defense capabilities, including increasing our defense expenditures as well as reviewing our defense program guidelines. Based on the U.S.-Japan alliance we have to strengthen our deterrence. We will place the emphasis on our partnership with the United States.
     
    VOA: Related to that, are you satisfied with the level of support that you're getting from Washington related to the [Senkaku/Diaoyu] island territorial dispute as you confront Chinese vessels and aircraft?
     
    Kishida: Based on the understanding of the United States vis-a-vis Japan's stance on the Senkaku islands, we highly value the U.S. position — its commitment to our alliance. Such understanding and support of the United States was affirmed at the recent Japan-U.S. summit, as well as in the meeting between the U.S. and Japan foreign ministers. All of this is important in light of the escalation of Chinese actions and behavior.
     
    VOA: North Korea remains defiant with a recent nuclear test, and the December missile launch, despite sanctions already being in place. What further sanctions do you intend to put in place against Pyongyang?
     
    Kishida: First of all, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and such an action is a threat to international peace and stability and we cannot accept such an action. In response to this, the international community needs to work together. This was confirmed at the recent Japan-U.S. summit, [and in] my meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State. We also need to have the United Nations Security Council adopt a resolution [of] increasingly strengthened sanctions against North Korea. To achieve that the United States and Japan should work closely with related countries in order to counter North Korea. However, at the same time, we need to deal with North Korea [with] a balance between dialog and pressure. Based upon the [2002] Pyongyang declaration between Japan and North Korea, we need to firmly and strongly continue to ask North Korea for a comprehensive resolution to the nuclear issues, the missiles and the abductions [of Japanese citizens].
     
    VOA: You are planning to go to Africa next month. Can you tell us which countries you are going to and what is the goal of the trip?
     
    Kishida: As for Africa next month, I am planning to visit Ethiopia. That is because we're planning to hold the TICAD-5 (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) in Yokohama this year, and we're making preparations for it.
     
    VOA: Thank you very much.

    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora