Genba wants China in loop with U.S., firm on Takeshima

by Masami Ito

Staff Writer

Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said Tuesday he strongly hopes to establish a Japan-U.S.-China framework to deal with Asia-Pacific issues.

During his foreign policy speech in the Diet, Genba stressed that while Japan-U.S. relations will continue to be the core of the nation’s diplomacy and security, the two countries need to include China to establish an “open and multitiered network” in the Asia-Pacific region to maximize its growth opportunity and minimize risk.

“It is important not only for the region but for the stability and prosperity of the world for China to play a constructive role,” Genba said.

“Now, more than ever, holding strategic dialogue and cooperation between Japan, the U.S. and China is important for the peace and stability of the region . . . and I would like to start up a trilateral dialogue, as I proposed last year.”

Genba cited South Korea as “the most important neighbor, which shares fundamental values,” although bilateral ties have seen some friction over the “comfort women” issue, which pertains to the Japanese military’s wartime sex slaves, and the sovereignty dispute over Takeshima, a group of islets controlled by South Korea, which calls them Dokdo, but claimed by Japan.

“Difficult problems may arise at times, but both Japan and South Korea need to be future-oriented and cooperate from a broader viewpoint,” Genba said.

But he was firm on Takeshima.

“The Takeshima issue is not something that can be resolved in a short period of time, but it goes without saying that I will tenaciously take measures and be firm in telling South Korea what we cannot accept,” he said.

Genba also briefly mentioned that the government would submit Japan’s ratification to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and necessary legislation to the Diet.

He did not elaborate, however, about what the government intends to do about the current cases of children who had been abducted to or from Japan, even though the treaty can’t be applied retroactively.