Remarks With Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera
Secretary of State
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) We would like to begin this joint press conference at the beginning. Minister Kishida, Secretary Kerry, Minister Onodera, Secretary Hagel will make initial remarks in this order, and after that I will open up the floor for questions. So I would like to invite Mr. Kishida, Minister.
MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter) So let me make some initial remarks. Today, we had, for the first time in Japan, 2+2 meeting participated by the full cabinet-level people. Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel, despite their very busy schedule, have come to Japan and have showed their commitment to the Japan-U.S. alliance, so I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to them.
In the meeting, the security environment area of Asia-Pacific region is becoming increasingly severe. And toward the coming decade, we had a very in-depth discussion and, based on that, what the Japan-U.S. alliance should do for the peace and stability of the region and as well as defense of – for Japan. What should we do? We had a specific discussion on this point.
Our answer to this question is now shown as initial – the strategic vision in the joint statement. Specifically, in order for us to effectively respond to these changing security environments, the Japan and United States must share the same values, should realize an even stronger alliance relationship, and play an even stronger, larger responsibility to the region and the international community.
To realize this, we will officially begin the review process of the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation. And in 15 areas, we’ll expand the security and defense cooperation and we’ll accelerate cooperation for the realignment of U.S. force in Japan. We have agreed on these points.
With respect to the security environment, the security environment that surrounds Japan and the region have witnessed the steady progress of the nuclear and missile program by North Koreans, the attempt to change the status quo through coercion in the seas, and the (inaudible) of duties in the cyberspace and outer space, what we are facing, so it is becoming increasingly severe. This point has been confirmed, and today we have seen a meeting of minds between Japan and the United States with respect to this regional situation. And we are decidedly opposed to the attempt to change the status quo through coercion, and we agreed that particularly the rule of law is critically important for the entire region here, as well as the international community.
In this connection, the U.S. has been saying all along that the Senkaku Islands is – has been under the Japan’s administration and is opposed to any unilateral action that would violate the Japanese administration in the Senkaku region. They have expressed this strong position based upon the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. And also I explained the Abe administration’s security policy based upon Japan’s productive contribution to peace and regarding the Japan-U.S. security and defense cooperation.
Regarding the guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation, we have agreed that we will officially begin a review and the effort will be completed by the end of 2014. Regarding the security and defense cooperation particularly, we agreed that the Japan-U.S. cooperation in the field of cyberspace and outer space would proceed concretely by cutting (inaudible) related government agencies.
With respect to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, first and foremost, there should not be indefinite use of the Futenma Air Station, and this has to be avoided at any cost. This determination has been reconfirmed. And to this end, we have also agreed to work on the relocation of it to Henoko with a strong will. And also we just signed the protocol for amendment to the Guam agreement. Now, we have concluded this protocol for strengthening the deterrence and to reduce the impact on Okinawa.
And we will begin the relocation of Marines in Okinawa to outside of Japan in the first half of 2020s and will implement steadily the return of land south of Kadena. We agreed on this. And in addition, to respond to the voices of people in Okinawa, we have also agreed to work on achievement of a substantive understanding between Japan and United States by the end of November with respect to the new framework for onsite study in the land scheduled to return. The efforts for reducing the impact is something that we would like to move ahead (inaudible).
Now through this historic meeting, we have been able to put forth a vision to realize even stronger Japan-U.S. alliance, so I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the leadership, to Secretary Kerry and Secretary Hagel. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Next, I would like to invite Secretary Kerry, please.
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Fumio. It’s a great pleasure to be here, delighted to be here with you and with Minister Onodera, and especially happy to be here with my friend and my colleague, Secretary Chuck Hagel.
This is an historic meeting, because it does represent the first time that the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have met here together with our counterparts here in Japan. And so on behalf of President Obama and the American people, Secretary Hagel and I are particularly grateful to express our gratitude that we have such willing and such capable partners by our side in this region.
It’s a pleasure on a personal level to be back in Japan. My grandfather’s cousin served as ambassador here in Tokyo a long time ago, and today I have a cousin who is working in the TOMODACHI program while her husband is in the United States Navy and flying an aviator based at Atsugi and helping to defend Japan. So these personal bonds are strengthened each time I come here, and I’m pleased to be able to be here at this moment, where we’ve had a very important and a very constructive dialogue about the defense relationship, alliance relationship between the United States and Japan.
The alliance between the United States and Japan has, without question, been the cornerstone of peace and stability and prosperity across the Asia Pacific. We have called it – and we do call it – a lynchpin of our relationship in this region. And for more than six decades, U.S. forces in Japan have served to safeguard the political and the economic development of Northeast Asia and the region. And working as partners, the United States and Japan have deterred aggression, responded to natural disasters, combatted terrorism and combated proliferation, and protected the region’s sea lanes, and helped to foster the extraordinary economic growth that is now transforming all of Asia.
Our partnership – it can be said with certainty – remains strong and deep and resilient. And it is grounded both in common interests and in values. It has stood the test of time. And I think it’s fair to say that our relationship has never been stronger or better than it is today. We are continuing to adapt, however, to confront the different challenges of the 21st century. And that was the focus of our discussion today.
Today, we agreed to review our bilateral defense guidelines, and in the months ahead we will work together in order to shape the framework that will guide our alliance for the years to come. I might add this reevaluation of these guidelines has not occurred since 1997. So given the changes that have taken place in the world, just the challenges of cyberspace, the challenges of counterterrorism, it is highly valuable to be undertaking this reevaluation and setting the roadmap for the next 15 to 20 years, and that is precisely what we, I think, have achieved here today.
The defense guidelines, last examined in 1997, obviously have seen an enormous transformation in the nature of the threats. Japan has taken on a greater international role in order to promote peace and security around the world, including sending its self-defense forces to support coalition activities in Iraq and in Kuwait. They’ve deployed peacekeepers to South Sudan and to Haiti, and they have joined in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom through support to operations that we’ve been conducting in the Indian Ocean.
And as I think all of you know, President Obama has made a strategic, serious commitment to rebalance our interests and investments in Asia. Secretary Hagel and I are committed to building on the work of President Obama’s first term.
As a Pacific power, the United States understands the fundamental importance that our Pacific partnership gives to our security and to our prosperity. So we are coming together now to modernize our deep cooperation through both of our military alliance and our diplomatic partnerships, and that is so we can better prevent and respond to the ever-changing threats of the 21st century.
Today, we discussed how to strengthen the flexibility and deterrent capability of our alliance, while creating the conditions for a more sustainable U.S. military presence in the region, including through the Guam International Agreement that we just signed.
The United States particularly welcomes Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to implement our joint plan to realign American forces in Japan, and particularly, as we just heard the Foreign Minister say, to realign our forces with respect to the Futenma Replacement Facility. We are very confident that we can continue to make progress in this area, and we believe that that will benefit our mutual security.
The joint communique that we are releasing today is a substantive roadmap for updating a 16-year-old defense guideline in order to account for the transformation that has taken place in the world. Guidelines to account for growing threats, including from North Korea and the threat to maritime security, have been laid out. We are adapting to transformative challenges in outer space, cyberspace, missile defense. And first responders and military forces from Japan and the United States now also train regularly in order to react to natural disasters, just as we have worked together in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Japan – excuse me. Japan is changing, and so is its neighborhood. And today, we not only look back in pride on the last 52 years of U.S.-Japan alliance, but we look ahead as we define a path toward progress in the Asia Pacific that will ensure the next half century is as successful as the last.
Thank you, Mr. Minister.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) At this moment, I would like to invite Defense Minister Onodera.
MINISTER ONODERA: (Via interpreter) Over Syria issue, he’s been very busy, and he has come all the way to Japan. I would like to thank him very much. Secretary Hagel, I see him almost every month, and tomorrow is his birthday. I would like to say congratulations, happy birthday.
Now in today’s meeting, particularly with respect to the security environment of East Asia, we exchanged views. We say that North Korean, the nuclear and missile concerns, we expressed our concerns. And also in Southeast China there’s tension over some islands with China. We explained that. And we also received (inaudible) as to what we are doing there on the part of Japan.
In particularly today, we talked about the review of the Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines. As was mentioned before, the – we have now come to a formal agreement to start the review of the guidelines, so that the Ministry of Defense would like to start working right away.
And also, when it comes to the individual cooperation, I think particularly with respect to North Korean nuclear program, in Kyoto (inaudible) city, the Kyogamisaki sub-base has been selected as a site for additional deployment of our TPY-2 radar.
And we also explained the establishment of our working group on cyber between the two governments. Now this morning, myself and Secretary Hagel, with respect to cyber defense, established a working group on cyber. We also discussed – we confirmed this. And also in the cyberspace, in the outer space, we confirmed that we would cooperate.
With respect to the issue of realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, we would like to see successful conclusion of the 17-year effort concerning the relocation of Futenma Air Station. We reconfirmed the strong determination of the four people who are here. And also we discussed other specific measures that would lead to tangible results toward the reduction of the impact on Okinawa.
And also regarding the return of land in line with the integration plan of April this year, that’s been advancing ahead of schedule, but we confirmed that we’ll make further efforts to return the land as quickly as we can.
Regarding Osprey, we agreed that we would reduce the impact on Okinawa by increasing the training outside of Okinawa prefecture, using a variety of opportunities while maintaining deterrence. And also regarding the operation of Osprey in Japan, we are aware that the U.S. has been making maximum effort to comply with agreement of the Japan-U.S. joint committee of September last year. But two squadrons are now ready, so I hope this agreement will be complied with, and at the same time the safety would be something that maximum care would be taken. The Japan and U.S. will cooperate.
Regarding the partial lifting of restriction of use of Hotel/Hotel training area, by the end of November there should be a general agreement between Japan and the United States. And we also agreed to continue to have consultations on other possible measures. Based on these, we will steadily implement efforts for realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.
And overall, the security environment in East Asia must be stabilized, and that would lead to the economic growth in Asia and Japan, and the United States would benefit from that. We agreed on this point, I believe.
At any rate, for strengthening Japan-U.S. alliance, we would like to make every effort so that the Japan-U.S. alliance is very important common goods for East Asia. That is all I have to say. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Next, Secretary Hagel, please.
SECRETARY HAGEL: Thank you. Good afternoon. I was honored to join my distinguished colleagues today for this historic 2+2 meeting, which is itself a testament to the unprecedented strength and enduring importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship.
As the ministers and Secretary Kerry have all noted, our two countries play an indispensible role in sustaining international peace, security, and prosperity. Our bilateral defense cooperation, including America’s commitment to the security of Japan, is a critical component of our overall relationship and to the Obama Administration’s rebalance to the Asia Pacific.
Today, we took a significant step forward with our announcement that we will revise the guidelines for U.S.-Japan defense cooperation. As has been noted, this is the first time we’ve done this since 1997. Following today’s decision, our two governments will work closely together to update the roles and the responsibilities for each of our countries during peacetime and for all contingencies. Our goal is a more balanced and effective alliance, one where our two militaries are full partners, working side by side with each other and with other regional partners to enhance peace and stability.
As this process unfolds over the next year, we will identify new technologies and capabilities that we will need to meet emerging security challenges, including those in space and cyberspace. Cyber cooperation in particular has emerged as a focus area for the alliance, as has been noted in the statements here this afternoon. These are particularly important with our nations having received and recently signed the terms of reference for the cyber defense policy working group.
Another key priority is missile defense, given the threat posed by North Korea’s ballistic missiles to both of our countries and to the region and to the world. Today, we announced our plans to deploy a second TPY-2 radar site in the key Kyoto prefecture. This additional radar will bolster our ability to defend the U.S. homeland and in Japan against North Korean ballistic missiles, and it enhances an important 21st century alliance capability.
Today’s meeting also underlined our commitment to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, which will make our presence more geographically distributed, operationally resilient, and politically sustainable for the long term. The new protocol for the Guam International Agreement, which we just signed, as has been noted here, is an important indicator of the progress we’re making on this realignment plan. We will continue to develop Guam as a strategic hub where U.S. and Japanese forces can train together.
In addition to realigning our forces, we’re making them more effective, more effective by deploying our most advanced capabilities to the region. The United States Marine Corps has successfully introduced two squadrons of MV-22 aircraft, and we’re increasing training with self-defense courses. More than half of MV-22 flight operations are now taking place outside Okinawa, on mainland Japan, and throughout the region.
I can also announce today that the United States Navy will make its first deployment of P-8 maritime patrol aircraft outside of the United States later this year in Japan. The cutting edge capabilities of the P-8, which I saw demonstrated last summer, will greatly enhance the alliance’s maritime demand and domain awareness and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.
And in our discussion today, we also talked about key challenges in the East China Sea. We reiterated the principles that govern longstanding U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands, and we affirmed that since they are under Japan’s administrative control they fall under United States treaty obligations to Japan. We strongly oppose any unilateral coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administrative control. We will continue to consult especially closely on this issue.
The United States-Japan relationship has underwritten the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region for more than a half century. Today, we have helped ensure this alliance continues to do so in the 21st century.
I’d like to personally thank Minister Kishida and Minister Onodera and all the people of Japan for their warm hospitality, their strong friendship, and all their sacrifices that they have made as we have gone together forward, as we are today, in establishing even a more effective relationship and partnership in alliance.
I also want to thank all of the American troops and their families who are stationed here in Japan. I thank them on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States for their service and for their sacrifice. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) At this moment, we would like to open the floor for questions. If you are designated, we have a microphone – two microphones here and there. And please come to the microphone and please state your name and affiliation and say to whom your question is addressed.
First, we have a question from the Japanese press. Yes.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I’m a member of the Foreign Minister’s – Foreign Ministry press club. I have a question to Mr. Kerry and Mr. Kishida. Now, for the first time in 16 years, the U.S. and Japanese Government have come to an agreement to revise the guidelines, and the background is the North Korea is not abandoning the nuclear missile program, and also the China is continuing to strengthen its military capabilities; I think because of this a change of strategic environment.
So Mr. Kerry, now based on the changed guidelines with cooperation of Japan and the U.S, how are you going to cope with the increasing threat from China? How do you see – what is your view about the China government ships recently?
And Mr. Kishida, the guidelines that is changed, and the Abe administration is trying to work on the collective self-defense, and that is inviting some concern from the countries around Japan. And how is Japan going to deal with these concerns of the countries surrounding Japan?
MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter) Then, Mr. Secretary. Yes, then I would like to first answer the question. Based upon the changes happening in the international environment, based upon the collaboration – the principle of collaboration with international community, based on the productive contribution to peace, we would like to collaborate with the country concerned. And for peace and stability of the region, more than before, we would like to make active contribution. And in doing so, Japan is a peace-loving nation, and this remains unchanged.
And with respect to the study of the illegal races for security, well, based upon international law, countries are allowed to do something. And within that scope, study will be made. This is something that I need to mention. Also already, with respect to this thinking, Prime Minister Abe and myself, in international conferences and also bilateral meetings, are on various occasions. We are beginning to make explanation.
Now in this 2+2 meeting, this thinking of the Government of Japan has been, once again, communicated to the U.S. side. And in the joint statement, it is mentioned in that, the United States – well, Japan’s roles in the security area has been welcomed and the collaboration with Japan has been made clear.
To the neighboring countries of Japan, this sort of an explanation should be made appropriately with clarity and carefully with transparency, and that is what we intend to do. So the things that I mentioned, these would be explained so that we can have an understanding and so that we can have a good environment.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter.) Secretary Kerry, please.
SECRETARY KERRY: A good question, and you asked about both China as well as the DPRK. First of all, let me say that the relationship with Japan and our alliance to all the countries of the region is really at the center of our discussion here today. And the strength of this alliance is that for all of these years we have stood together around a clear set of values, a clear set of interests, and those have not changed. And we believe that other countries in the region understand that.
With respect to the question of China and its interests, we seek to have a relationship with China that’s based on an understanding of the ways in which we can find cooperation on the major issues. There will be differences. We acknowledge that there will be those differences. Our leaders met recently in California. I just met last week with Foreign Minister Wang Yi . And we have discussed these differences in a very transparent and respectful way. But we also seek to find the things that we can cooperate on.
But even as we define a new model relationship, as the presidents have called it, we’re very clear about our interests and about those things that we think represent lines that shouldn’t be crossed. For instance, the United States has made it clear, in a longstanding policy that has not changed, that, while we don’t take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, we do recognize Japan’s administration over those islands. And we have urged the parities not to engage in any unilateral action that challenges that, but rather to engage in dialogue and diplomacy as an effort to resolve it.
With respect to many other issues, we are working with China very closely to try to find the rule of law, find a dialogue as a way of dealing with – whether it’s the South China Sea or the code of conduct or other issues, trade and other kinds of things, we want to work with China. And I think Japan does. I think all of us want to find the common ground in order to allow rule of law and diplomacy to govern our choices and our actions. And we will continue to do that.
A rising China is welcome, as long as that China wants to engage according to international standards and values and work with the community of nations in constructive ways to solve the problems that we all face.
With respect to North Korea, North Korea is a nation that has behaved outside of any standards of rule of law and any of the norms of international behavior. And North Korea needs to understand that the United States of America is prepared to engage in negotiations, providing North Korea makes it clear that those negotiations begin with the issue of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
And I think the six parties involved in the Six-Party Talks have made it crystal clear we are prepared to reengage in those talks, we are prepared to have a peaceful relationship with North Korea, we are not engaged in regime change, we are prepared to sign a non-aggression agreement – providing North Korea decides to denuclearize and to engage in legitimate negotiations to achieve that end. But we have said again and again we are not going to get into a repeat of past negotiations which go around in a circle, where there’s some concession, some agreement, and then the agreement is broken, and the nuclear program continues and gets even further down the road. We’re simply not going there.
And China, I believe, has become an important partner, making very significant decisions in the last months to help to bring North Korea to a place of understanding the importance of denuclearizing. So we’re unified. Japan, the United States, and China and Russia and Korea – South Korea, the Republic of Korea – are unified in the requirement that the North must commit to denuclearizing. And that is the peaceful path forward, and that is what we’re committed to.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Then we would like to take up a question from the foreign press. Please raise your hand if you have any.
SECRETARY KERRY: I’ll take Anne Gearan from The Washington Post.
MODERATOR: Yes, with the (inaudible) coat, please.
QUESTION: Hi. Anne Gearan, Washington Post. First for Secretaries Hagel and Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had some pretty harsh commentary the last couple of days at the UN and in an NBC interview about the prospect for a U.S. rapprochement with Iran, essentially saying that you all are being played for suckers. What is your response? And is it a foregone conclusion that a better U.S. relationship with Iran comes at the expense of a U.S. relationship with Israel?
And for Ministers Kishida and Onodero, could you – would you like to see a rollback of the sanctions on Iran so that Japan could again scale up its oil imports? Thank you.
SECRETARY HAGEL: You want me to go, or you go first?
SECRETARY KERRY: Go ahead.
SECRETARY HAGEL: I’ll go first, only because I’m going to hand this over to the Secretary of State for the bulk of the answer, because as we all know, this is Secretary Kerry’s area of responsibility.
That said, I would respond this way. First, I understand Israel’s concern. I speak often with Defense Minister Yaalon of Israel. Our military-to-military relationship is very close, very important. So I don’t minimize their concerns.
Second, I also think that there may be an opportunity, which Secretary Kerry will address in more detail, with a possibility of opening a dialogue and engaging. Engagement is not appeasement. It’s not surrender. It’s not negotiation. But I think we are wise, if the Iranians have reached out – which they have – to, in a very clear-eyed way – and we are – test their actions with their words.
I have never believed that foreign policy is a zero-sum game. We all have security common interests. And the challenge is the threats that face the world today are global. They’re not nation-to-nation, they’re not regional, but they’re global. And aren’t we wiser if we can find ways to resolve disputes, recognizing danger, being very clear-eyed, keeping the strongest military in the world – which we have – to protect our interests along with our allies and strong alliances, aren’t we wiser to pursue engagement?
Now, that’s my perspective. I think what Secretary Kerry has been doing deserves some considerable recognition and credit. I applaud President Obama’s efforts and his leadership and his courage on this issue.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Secretary Hagel. Let me be crystal clear: Nothing with respect to the security of Israel will be allowed to come between the relationship between the United States and Israel. We are firmly determined that Israel’s security remains paramount, is paramount, is at the centerpiece of part of our relationship – not all of it, part of it, there’s a lot more to the relationship.
But I want to be clear that I did not interpret Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments as suggesting that we are being played somehow for suckers. I understood it to be a warning, don’t be played. And I can assure the Prime Minister, as I would assure all the people of Israel and everybody in the world, and particularly Iranians, there is nothing here that is going to be taken at face value, and we’ve made that clear. The President has said and I have said that it’s not words that will make a difference, it’s actions. And the actions clearly are going to have to be sufficient that the world will understand that not only will they not be able to be on the road to get a weapon, but there’s no ability to suddenly break out and achieve that.
Now, Israel itself suggested that we engage with sanctions. Israel was a supporter of these sanctions, because Israel understands that there was a need to put to test the question of whether or not this program can be stopped by peaceful means, by agreement. And we have an obligation – it would be diplomatic malpractice of the worst order not to examine every possibility of whether or not you can achieve that before you ask people to take military action or do what you have to do in order to prevent something from happening. And I think that people understand that. You have to exhaust the remedies that are available to you before you ratchet up to a next tier of remedies that may have much more dramatic consequences.
So we are going to look very, very carefully at this. We hope it could work, because we think the world will be better off, the Middle East would be better off, Iran would be better off, Israel would be better off, if there is a way to achieve a verified certainty to the elimination of a nuclear program for weapons purposes in Iran. And the President has made it clear that Iran can have a peaceful nuclear program.
A country that genuinely wants to have a peaceful program does not have difficulty proving that it is, in fact, peaceful. So this ought to be able to be done. And the test we face now over these next weeks and months – not a long period of time, mind you, over a short period of time – is determine whether or not that is, in fact, what Iran intends. If they do intend it to be peaceful, I believe there’s a way to get there. But the question is whether or not we find a willingness in all parties to achieve that goal.
I think that President Rouhani deserves credit for reaching out and offering this. And (inaudible) Minister Zarif likewise has indicated they’re ready to, and we know that there are people in Iran who don’t believe that. We know there are people who are pushing back, who want to go a different road, a far more dangerous road. So our hope is that we can find a way forward.
But I assume Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel that nothing that we do is going to be based on trust; it’s going to be based on a series of steps that guarantee to all of us that we have certainty about what is happening. And if that can’t be achieved, as I have said to the Prime Minister, as the President has said to the Prime Minster, no deal is better than a bad deal, because a bad deal could put you in a worse predicament.
MINISTER KISHIDA: (Via interpreter) Now I would like to answer the question about the Japanese Government’s response to Iran. Now first, to Iran so far, we have had the dialogue and the pressure with this policy. We have been collaborating with the other – the United States and other countries.
On the other hand, with Iran we have had a special relationship historically. Also this time in Iran we have had the President Rouhani, so a new administration started in Iran. So given this, last week in the – on the occasion of the UN General Assembly, I visited New York, and in New York the new Foreign Minister of Iran and I held a Japan-Iran foreign ministers meeting. On that occasion, to the Iranian Foreign Minister, I said it is important to show flexibility. Dialogue is important to show flexibility. I so urged him to be flexible.
So I would like to focus on my eyes to the response from Iran. At any rate, I would like to collaborate with the United States.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. I feel this is quite regrettable, but we have gone overboard with respect to our schedule. So it is quite unfortunate, but we would like to conclude this press conference. And the Secretaries and Ministers will leave this hall. The journalists, please remain where you are.