Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki

Wednesday, July 7, 2021, 3:47 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (Visit to Japan by President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK))

Asahi Shimbun, Abe: There are reports that President Moon Jae-in of the ROK will visit Japan during the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Based on Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato’s statement yesterday, I believe it has not been officially decided. Has the ROK side conveyed that they want him to visit Japan?

Mr. YOSHIDA Tomoyuki, Press Secretary: As you have mentioned in your question, it is as Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato answered in regard to reports about President Moon, but I will state the main points just in case. Participation by dignitaries from each country in the Tokyo Olympic Games is being coordinated between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of various countries. This is not limited to certain countries and is the same for all countries. The Government of Japan does not issue invitations, and we have not yet been notified of the results of the coordination. So this is still at the stage of ongoing coordination.

In terms of whether or not there has been a notification sent from the ROK, there has not been such notification at this point.

Asahi Shimbun, Abe: The Government of Japan has been repeatedly requesting the ROK to remedy its breach of international law concerning the comfort women issue and other issues. Please tell us again the Government of Japan’s view on what is needed now to hold a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting.

Press Secretary Yoshida: I believe you are asking what conditions there would be for holding a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting and about the pending issues between Japan and the ROK. Firstly, as stated, Japan-ROK relations are in a very difficult situation, including the issue of the former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula and the comfort women issue. We have been repeatedly stating that we would like the ROK to take responsibility in responding to resolve the pending issues between our countries. We are waiting for the ROK’s proposals to resolve these pending issues.

Furthermore, it is important to restore healthy Japan-ROK relations. For that, it was agreed at the Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other occasions to continue communication between our diplomatic authorities. That is our recognition of the current situation surrounding Japan-ROK relations.

Therefore, as various communication is conducted and continues to be conducted between Japan and the ROK, Japan’s view is that we would like the ROK to bear in mind what I have just stated.

Novel Coronavirus (Protection of Japanese Nationals Living in Indonesia)

NHK, Watanabe: In relation to the novel coronavirus situation in Indonesia, if we look at the news from Jakarta this morning, it is reported that six Japanese nationals died from the novel coronavirus. The situation of Japanese nationals living overseas losing their lives is quite serious. Is the Government of Japan preparing any sort of special response at this point? Also, I believe that Japanese nationals are now able to leave Indonesia. In terms of the current operations, what is happening to Japanese nationals who are not in an area with an international airport? Are they able to move to Jakarta? Please tell us the current situation regarding what I have just described, and whether a special framework is being considered for support, including vaccines.

Press Secretary Yoshida: You asked few questions regarding the situation in Indonesia. In regard to the current novel coronavirus situation in Indonesia, as an Islamic country, movement of people have increased, particularly after May due to the holiday period after fasting. Against this backdrop, it is said that since June, the level of newly infected people has increased to over 20,000 per day. Moreover, amidst this situation, there is an increasing number of cases of the Delta variant, which is a concern around the world.

The Government of Japan has repeatedly issued notifications regarding the novel coronavirus situation to Japanese nationals living abroad through websites, consul emails, and other means. We also continuously provide support by providing consultation service at consulate counters for Japanese nationals who are very concerned and are in trouble.

Since there are Japanese nationals who have lost their lives, we will continue to provide as much support as possible for those people and their families.

Additionally, in regard to immigration in Indonesia, as Foreign Minister Motegi explained in response to a question asked during his press conference yesterday, the Government of Indonesia has announced in a notification dated July 4 that it was strengthening restrictions on foreign nationals entering and leaving the country.

In particular, there has been a restriction stating that foreign nationals staying in Indonesia must be vaccinated if they move inside and outside the country. This could have a serious effect on Japanese nationals who wish to leave Indonesia. We inquired the Government of Indonesia and requested that the movement of Japanese nationals not be restricted excessively.

As a result, we have confirmed that foreign nationals staying in Indonesia who directly leave the country do not need to show proof of vaccination. We informed Japanese nationals living in Indonesia about this through a consul email and other means.

However, as you have just stated in your question, people who wishes to travel within Indonesia still need to have proof of vaccination, so we are continuing to urge the Indonesian side to not restrict such movement unnecessarily.

The embassy and consulate-general will carefully respond to various worries and questions concerning this matter.

You also asked about vaccines. In principle, we are providing information on what to do if Japanese nationals can be vaccinated locally. However, due to various circumstances, there are of course many Japanese nationals living overseas, not just in Indonesia, who are very worried about being vaccinated in their country of residence.

I believe there was a discussion about this before. A survey was conducted among Japanese nationals living overseas. We received many replies from Japanese nationals saying that they wish to be vaccinated in Japan, so we are conducting preparation to enable them to temporarily return to Japan and be vaccinated at vaccination sites set up in Narita Airport and Haneda Airport starting from August 1. We are informing Japanese nationals living overseas about this arrangement.

U.S.-China Relations (50th Anniversary of the Visit to China by U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger)

Kyodo News, Asada: I would like to ask about U.S.-China relations and Japan’s response. July 9 will mark the 50th anniversary of the secret visit to China by U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger, which paved the way for the normalization of U.S.-China relations. The United States and China went over the head of Japan and got closer with Secretary of State Kissinger’s visit to China. It was a major shock to the Government of Japan at the time, and it is said that it has led Japan to move towards normalizing Japan-China relations. Now, the international community is entering a new phase that is called the new Cold War between the U.S. and China.

Amidst this situation, what is MOFA’s view on the movement toward reconciliation of U.S. and China 50 years ago triggered by Secretary of State Kissinger’s secret visit to China? Are there lessons we should learn?

Press Secretary Yoshida: I believe that the term “Nixon shock” is used to refer to the series of events in which then-National Security Advisor Kissinger made the secret visit to China which was followed by President Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972. This of course came with a huge surprise by the international community, and I reckon that it gave a huge effect to the international affairs afterwards.

Basically, rather than making specific value judgments on past events, the Government of Japan’s official view is to leave it up for historians to study. If I were to say anything further, it would be that after President Nixon visited China in February 1972, Prime Minister Tanaka visited China on September 25 of the same year. I believe that saying that the “Nixon shock” greatly affected the normalization of Japan-China relations is probably a historically self-evident assessment.

On the other hand, as Japan and China are neighboring countries separated by sea, I do not believe that the abnormal relations during the post-war era would have continued indefinitely. I believe that the path of normalization would have come sooner or later, and the “Nixon shock” gave a push.

That being said, back then was right at the height of the Cold War between the East and West, and the United States was involved in the Vietnam War. I cannot help but say that the international situation surrounding both the United States and China was the background of “Nixon shock.”

Relations among the United States, China, Japan, and other relevant countries and the surrounding international environment have changed dramatically in the 50 years since then. China now has the second largest economy in the world, supports various countries around the world, and is making economic advancement. Its external activities, actions, and responses have changed significantly. Amidst this situation, the Biden administration in the United States considers China to be its greatest competitor. I believe that we are now in a completely different world from 50 years ago.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, the necessity of international cooperation has been growing even more. It is extremely important for the United States and China, the largest and second largest economies in the world, to build stable relations not only for the two countries, but also for the international community.

In terms of Japan-China relations, Japan and China are the third largest and second largest economies in the world. Japan-China relations have an extremely important presence not only for our two countries but also for the region and the international community. At the same time, it is true that there are various pending issues including the Senkaku Islands and the East China Sea, and concerns among the international community regarding human rights and Hong Kong. Japan will say what needs to be said and request China to take specific actions by conveying our views and positions to the Government and leadership of China, so that China follows the rule of the international community, fulfills its responsibility and meets the expectations of the international community. That is our current position.

Situation in China (Statements by President Xi Jinping at the Ceremony for the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party)

Asahi Shimbun, Abe: You have just mentioned that Japan will request China to meet the expectations of the international community. However, in his recent speech for the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping clearly indicated the stance that China will not allow sanctimonious preaching or allow criticism by the international community. His remarks were made during the Party ceremony. What is your view of this stance by the leader of China?

Press Secretary Yoshida: I am aware of President Xi’s statements made in his speech on July 1 for the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, which you have mentioned in your question. Basically, because the speech was made on domestic affairs in the Chinese Communist Party, and was directed at domestic audience, I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government of Japan.

If I were to say anything further, it would be that, as I stated earlier, China is the second largest economy in the world, and each of its actions significantly affect the international community. We would like the Government of China and its leaders to fully recognize how the international community views China, what the international community is concerned about, and what expectations the international community has for China. From that perspective, Japan’s stance is that we will directly say what needs to be said.

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