http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121231a4.html

Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

CABINET INTERVIEW
Altering nonnuclear principles not on the table, Kishida says

By MIZUHO AOKI
Staff writer
The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is not considering revising the three nonnuclear principles that forbid the possession, manufacture or storage of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil, new Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says.

Fumio Kishida
In a group interview with the media recently, Kishida said the Cabinet is not discussing relaxing the principles so that U.S. ships can carry nuclear arms when visiting Japanese ports. In July last year, a report by the Liberal Democratic Party’s national strategy office advocated altering the three principles to “2½.”

“The three nonnuclear principles are very important rules that previous Cabinets have valued,” said Kishida, 55, who was appointed foreign minister on Wednesday. “This should be kept in the future. We are not having a discussion on a revision.”

Unlike Abe, the former state minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories affairs is not regarded as a hawk. In fact, his appointment is viewed by some as an effort by Abe to placate foreign governments.

“I know that Abe’s Cabinet is considered rightwing or hawkish. But we have to explain (to the public that) there is a positive side as well, such as to execute things that we must do as a nation,” Kishida said.

“But I think it is also important to show our breadth . . . and show a sense of balance,” Kishida said, adding he hopes to help bring balance to the Cabinet.

However, he showed no compromise on the Senkakus dispute with China, insisting that the islets in the East China Sea are historically, and by international law, part of Japan.

He also emphasized that it was important to keep the lines of communication open with China to avoid any incidents.

Since Japan purchased three of the five Senkaku islets from their Saitama-based owner in September, Chinese vessels have been cruising near or inside Japan’s territorial waters around the disputed islets, which are called Diaoyu in Chinese. On Dec. 13, a Chinese state-owned plane breached Japanese airspace for the first time on record near the islets.

On the issue of nuclear weapons, Kishida, a native of Hiroshima Prefecture, said he wants to work toward abolition.

Noting that the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative, a 10-country coalition formed in 2010, will be holding ministerial-level talks in Hiroshima in 2014, Kishida said he wants to use the opportunity to improve cooperation with other nations.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Kishida said the LDP remains opposed to entering into negotiations as long as they are premised on abolishing all tariffs without conditions.

“If the prime minister visits the United States sometime soon, I presume (they) will touch on the TPP issue,” Kishida said.

As for joining The Hague Convention against child abductions by estranged parents, Kishida only said that relevant parties will be looking into the matter.

In March 2011, the DPJ government decided to prepare to ratify the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects on International Child Abduction.

“It is embarrassing that Japan can’t even have discussions about this issue due to confusion at the Diet,” Kishida said.

The government submitted draft legislation for joining the convention to the Diet in March, but it has been shelved due to confrontation between the ruling and opposition camps.

A graduate of Waseda University, Kishida worked at the defunct Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan before starting his political career as a secretary to his father in 1987. Kishida won a seat in the Lower House in 1993.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120122p2g00m0dm109000c.html

 

Foreign minister to take charge of locating kids in international custody rows

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s foreign minister will be responsible for collecting information on children abducted to the country by one of their parents in determining their whereabouts and settling cross-border custody disputes as a result of failed international marriages, according to newly compiled guidelines made available to Kyodo News on Sunday.

The guidelines compiled by the Foreign Ministry in preparation for Tokyo’s accession to an international treaty that sets procedures for the settlement of international child custody disputes state that the foreign minister can seek the help of local governments, police, schools, childcare facilities and shelters for abused people to determine the whereabouts of children in such cases.

The government is aiming to submit a bill to parliament in March to endorse the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and have it enacted during the 150-day regular parliamentary session to be convened Tuesday.

The bill will state that a central authority will be established at the Foreign Ministry to locate children wrongfully removed or retained by one parent and secure their voluntary return in response to requests made by the other parent, according to government officials.

The guidelines state that those requested by the foreign minister to provide information on abducted children will be required to do so “without any delay.”

The foreign minister could also inform parents abroad and their former spouses who have abducted children to Japan about the system of mediation by Japanese courts as a way to resolve their disputes, according to the guidelines.

The planned submission of the bill to endorse the Hague Convention based on the ministry’s guidelines is in line with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s pledge to U.S. President Barack Obama during their talks in November. Around 10 countries including the United States have been pressing Japan to join the treaty.

Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major countries yet to join the convention after Russia acceded to it in July. At present, 87 countries are parties to the treaty, which came into effect in 1983.

(Mainichi Japan) January 22, 2012