Press Conference by the Prime Minister on His Thoughts after the State Funeral for the Late Abe Shinzo and Other Matters
September 29, 2022
(On his thoughts after the state funeral for the late former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo)
The day before yesterday, we held a state funeral for the late former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo as scheduled without delay with 4,183 people present, including those from overseas, and sent him off in a solemn and heartfelt manner. I would now just like to pray that former Prime Minister Abe may rest in peace. More than 25,000 citizens offered flowers at the flower offering stand set up at Chidorigafuchi alone. Many people from a broad range of backgrounds expressed their gratitude to former Prime Minister Abe and sincere condolences for his unexpected death. As chairman of the funeral committee, I would like to express my gratitude again. I am truly grateful to all of you. At the state funeral, we were honored to have received more than 700 guests from 217 countries and regions, including 48 leaders and former heads of state, as well as those from embassies in Tokyo. I myself held 38 separate meetings with a total of 42 foreign dignitaries, while also taking the opportunity to extend my gratitude in person to representatives from various countries who attended the funeral, as we made as much effort as time permitted to respond with civility to the condolences expressed by countries around the world. In those meetings, I received many words of respect for the late former Prime Minister Abe, honoring him as an outstanding world leader and praising his many accomplishments. I stressed that we will inherit the diplomatic legacy left by former Prime Minister Abe and remain firmly committed to the cornerstones of the Japanese foreign policy, such as a strong Japan-US relationship, a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and the maintenance and strengthening of the international order based on the rule of law. Those meetings also provided me opportunities to exchange various views on recent international affairs and other issues. While the state funeral for the late former Prime Minister Abe has ended as planned, we need to take seriously the various opinions and criticisms expressed by the public to reflect them in our future policies. From now until the year-end, we will face a series of important events, such as an extraordinary Diet session and budget compilation. We will once again brace ourselves and proceed with various policies to address growing challenges facing our country.
(On his thoughts regarding the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China and the possibility of holding a summit meeting)
Japan and China today celebrate the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations. I have just exchanged messages with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to commemorate the 50th anniversary. Currently, Japan-China relations face many challenges and concerns, as well as various possibilities. At the same time, both countries have a great responsibility for peace and prosperity in the region and the world. I believe that it is important for us to revisit the starting point of how the two countries achieved the normalization of diplomatic relations 50 years ago, as well as to build constructive and stable Japan-China relations through the efforts of both sides, while also looking ahead to the next 50 years. As for your question about a Japan-China summit meeting, nothing has been determined at this point, but our stance is to steadily engage in dialogues with China at various levels, including the series of challenges, while making our cases where we should and requesting that China behave responsibly.