Interviews & Articles

December 8, 2022

Excellencies, distinguished participants, thank you for inviting me to the Reuters Next Virtual Forum. It is a great pleasure to be virtually with you today. Speaking of the theme of today's forum,“A New Vision for a Better Tomorrow”, under our very nose, attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force or coercion are unfolding head-on. The world order is being shaken, as some put it as“the end of the post-Cold War era”. Today, I would like to share with you how I look at the current difficult situation which the international community is facing. And I would like to give some thoughts on the future we should all aspire to.

Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukraine is a clear violation of international law. It is an unacceptable and outrageous act, threatening the very foundation of the international order which we have built at the expense of much sacrifice and efforts. We are also seriously concerned about Russia’s nuclear threat, which is absolutely unacceptable. It goes without saying that Russia must never use nuclear weapons. The UN Security Council was rendered dysfunctional following Russia’s aggression. And the G7 members, who share fundamental values and principles, are now coordinating our policies more closely than ever. The G7 Foreign Ministers have already held a total of ten meetings this year, including the recent meeting in Münster, Germany. This is unprecedented frequency. We have worked closely together to strongly implement sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine. The G7 has demonstrated leadership in the international community. We have confirmed our strong determination that any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force must not be tolerated anywhere in the world, whether it is in Europe or East Asia. Japan, as the G7 presidency next year, will work to renew G7’s robust commitment to defending an international order based on the rule of law. Such a message needs to receive broad supports from the international community. Over the past year, I have visited Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Oceania, Africa, and other parts of the world to deepen relations with my counterparts and to work together to defend the international order. Prime Minister Kishida conveyed Japan’s position at the recent ASEAN-related Summit Meetings, G20 Bali Summit and APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. I did the same at APEC Ministerial Meeting.

At the same time, no country or region in the world can shrug off Russia’s aggression as “someone else’s problem". In fact, challenges to the international order continue in East Asia as well. For example, unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas have not been stopped, but rather increased. The same can be said about North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments. The peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are also important.  

Japan will seek to build a stable international order through dialogue, not confrontation. However, at the same time, we must always be prepared for the emergence of those who trample on the peace and security of other countries by force or threat without respecting the rules. As a means of preventing such situations and protecting Japan, it is important to enhance our deterrence and response capabilities. This will be absolutely essential if Japan is to learn to survive in the new era and keep speaking out as a standard-bearer of peace. The Japanese government is determined to fundamentally reinforce Japan's defense capabilities within the next five years. We will strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. We will also make efforts to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific" in cooperation with other countries and regional partners. Bearing this in mind, the Japanese Government will set out a new National Security Strategy by the end of this year. Also, we will announce a new FOIP plan before next spring. Our new FOIP plan will place an emphasis on such area as maritime security and law enforcement, as well as cyber, digital, green, and economic security. Since the end of World War II, Japan has consistently followed the path of a peace-loving nation under our Constitution. Moreover, Japan will make unceasing efforts to maintain and strengthen peace and stability in the region in a manner based on changes in the international environment.

The interview video can be viewed at the video link below (FM Hayashi appears from 02:09:09).

YouTube page of the interviewOpen a New Window

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