North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Foreign Minister Hayashi Attends the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
On April 7, commencing at 9:45 a.m. (local time; same day, 4:45 p.m. JST) for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Belgium. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- Minister Hayashi attended NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the invitation from NATO, for the first time as Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Japan attended this meeting. Foreign Minister Hayashi participated in the NATO Partner Session, which was attended by the foreign ministers from 30 NATO member countries and invited partner countries (Japan, Australia, Finland, Georgia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, Ukraine, and the EU). They held discussions on issues such as the situation in Ukraine and the international security situation.
- The outline of the speech by Minister Hayashi at the meeting is as follows.
- (1) I am highly honored I to attend the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs for the first time as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. As we confront serious challenges to the international order, as symbolized by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, , the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region cannot be discussed separately. Now is the time to strengthen cooperation between NATO and its partners, including Japan.
- (2) It is heart-wrenching to witness the Ukrainian people whose lives are being threatened and who are being forced to evacuate abroad due to Russia’s outrageous act. The atrocities, such as the recently revealed killing of civilians in Bucha near Kyiv is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and absolutely unacceptable. Japan vehemently condemns such acts. Russia must be held seriously accountable.
- (3) Japan stands with the people of Ukraine who are fighting to defend their sovereignty, territory, and their homeland. Japan has decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance reaching a total of 200 million dollars and defense equipment in an unprecedented manner.
- (4) I recently visited Poland and witnessed and heard first-hand the situation of evacuees. During my visit to Warsaw, I had a face-to-face meeting with Foreign Minister KULEBA and expressed Japan’s strong determination to continue sanctions against Russia as well as our support for Ukraine. We evacuated people displaced from Ukraine to Japan by our government aircraft. Japan is committed to continuing our support for Ukraine.
- (5) The aggression by Russia is a serious act undermining the very foundation of the entire international order. It is absolutely unacceptable, and Japan has swiftly taken unprecedented, forceful sanctions. Last month, Russia condemned such actions by Japan and declared a suspension of negotiations of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia, which we have been working on for many years. Japan will not flinch against such declaration.
- (6) Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are unacceptable regardless of which region they take place. It is regrettable that some countries are directly or indirectly supporting such attempts. In addition, China has not yet condemned Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. Furthermore, North Korea has utilized this moment of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in repeatedly launching ICBM-class ballistic missiles.
- (7) With the end of the post-Cold War era and as we enter into an era of complex interstate competition, Japan has been making efforts to respond to changes in the power balance of the region, by focusing on strengthening its own defense capabilities and reinforcing the deterrence and capabilities of the Japan-US alliance. This Russian aggression has revealed the importance of establishing a new international order. In this regard, the preservation and development of an international order based on universal values is vitally important for the peace and stability of the world, and to that end, it is essential to enhance cooperation among like-minded countries who share fundamental values.
- (8) Today, the presence of Japan and other Asia-Pacific partners in this meeting will send a strong message that demonstrates our solidarity with the international community.
- (9) Japan welcomes the efforts of Secretary-General Stoltenberg and NATO to enhance its relationship with Asia-Pacific partners. In order to promote concrete cooperation for NATO’s further engagement in the Indo-Pacific and to establish a new international order based on the rule of law, I would like to strengthen cooperation towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”.