Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Friday, June 11, 2021, 1:11 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
G7 Summit (Provision of Vaccines)
NHK, Yamamoto: I would like to ask about the G7 Summit that begins today and vaccines. The United Kingdom, which holds the G7 Presidency, indicated the possibility that the G7 could agree to provide one billion vaccine doses within next year. Can you please tell us whether the G7 is currently leaning toward doing that?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The G7 Summit in Cornwall will begin today. I believe that matters such as novel coronavirus countermeasures and international cooperation on vaccine provision will of course be discussed during the Summit.
I would like to refrain from speaking based on speculation about what the conclusions will be as the discussions are beginning from now. I believe it will be important to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines in all countries and regions toward achieving Universal Health Coverage.
There is financial support, as well as support by providing vaccines themselves.
Japan and Gavi cohosted the COVAX AMC Summit on June 2. During the Summit, Japan announced its additional contribution of $800 million USD to the COVAX Facility, and its intention to provide, when circumstances allow and at an appropriate time, around 30 million doses of vaccines manufactured in Japan to various countries and regions on a multilateral and bilateral basis, including through the COVAX Facility and other organizations.
Last week, as part of this, Japan delivered free of charge 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Japan to the people of Taiwan, in response to the request from Taiwan.
In addition, in Cornwall in the United Kingdom yesterday, President Biden announced the U.S. policy to contribute 500 million vaccine doses to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries around the world. Japan welcomes this.
I believe that the G7 President ultimately decides how to word the compilation documents, including on what direct contributions the various countries can make. In addition, in regard to Japan’s vaccine provision, we will conduct consideration bearing in mind various aspects such as the domestic vaccine production conditions, requests from the international community, and infection conditions and vaccine needs in various countries and regions. In regard to countries and regions that we will provide vaccines to, we have received a considerably high number of requests and we will carefully conduct coordination on the provision.
G7 Summit (Japan’s Main Agenda)
Pan Orient News, Azhari: With Japan being the only Asian country in the G7 Summit, what is on the agenda of Prime Minister Suga regarding the Summit and also regarding Asian affairs? Especially West-Asian affairs, where the Middle East is a part of.
Minister Motegi: The United Kingdom, which holds the G7 Presidency, announced that the central themes of the G7 Summit in Cornwall, the United Kingdom, which will be held from today, will be recovery from the novel coronavirus, “Building Back Better,” vaccine provision to developing countries, as well as global issues such as climate change and girls’ education.
Moreover, in addition to these issues, as the sole G7 member country from Asia, Japan will lead the G7 discussions on important issues such as realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and the increasingly severe regional situation toward shaping the post-novel coronavirus international order, based on results such as those at the G7 Foreign and Development Minister's Meeting.
Inspection and Escort of a Japanese Fishing Boat by Russia
TV Asahi, Sato: The Eiho Maru, which was escorted by Russia, was released yesterday. Please tell us again the assessment of the Government of Japan on the release of the fishing boat. Also, Russia is still claiming that it has absolute proof that the fishing boat was conducting illegal operations in Russia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Please tell us the Government of Japan’s position on this claim.
Minister Motegi: At 6:10 a.m. today, the fishing boat and all its 14 crew members safely returned to port in Wakkanai. I have heard that none of the crew members have any health issues.
It is Japan’s recognition that the fishing boat was operating in Japan’s EEZ at the time. Through diplomatic channels, we have lodged a protest to the Russian authorities concerned that the pursuit, inspection, escort, and detention of the fishing boat, including the warning shots, by the Russian side are unacceptable.
Additionally, as the Eiho Maru returned to port early this morning, I believe the Japanese authorities concerned will investigate the facts of this case going forward.
G7 Summit (Contact Between the Leaders of Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK))
Dong-a Ilbo, Kim: I would like to ask about the G7 and Japan-ROK relations. Prime Minister Suga and President Moon will attend the G7 Summit. The ROK has emphasized its position of being open to dialogue with Japan, and it has been pointed out that informal contact may be possible. Of course we could not predict, but in the current situation, please tell us your view on what meaning or significance there would be if the leaders of Japan and the ROK held an informal dialogue or meeting.
Minister Motegi: The G7 Summit will begin today. I believe that the G7 meeting as well as the later discussions that also include the outreach countries consisting of the ROK, Australia, India, and South Africa will be held until tomorrow morning U.K. time.
If we look at the schedule this time, we can see that there is considerably limited free time on the fringes. Coordination will be conducted going forward on what bilateral meetings can be added in consideration of each country’s circumstances, but nothing has been decided at present.
Inspection and Escort of a Japanese Fishing Boat by Russia
Hokkaido Shimbun, Furuta: I would like to ask about the seizure of the Wakkanai fishing boat. As Japan and Russia both have conflicting claims that the fishing boat was operating in their own EEZ, it has been disclosed that the Japanese fishing boat paid a fine. Please tell us again MOFA’s recognition on whether this response was appropriate.
Minister Motegi: As I stated earlier, the fishing boat and crew have just returned to Japan, so the authorities concerned will firstly investigate the facts of this case.
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (Meetings with Foreign Dignitaries)
Pan Orient News, Azhari: Regarding the Olympic diplomacy, are there any planned summits with dignitaries planning to visit Japan during the Olympics? Could you name some of these people if confirmed?
Minister Motegi: During past Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, London, and Beijing, many foreign dignitaries, including summit leaders, visited the host countries. The Tokyo Olympic Games will be held while exerting all efforts for novel coronavirus countermeasures. I believe that a certain number of dignitaries will attend from various countries. Coordination will be conducted going forward on what meetings will be held.