Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Friday, July 9, 2021, 10:53 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Visit to Central America and the Caribbean by Foreign Minister Motegi
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I would firstly like to report on two matters.
The first matter is my visit to Central America and the Caribbean next week. If various circumstances permit, I plan to visit four countries in Central America and the Caribbean – Guatemala, Panama, Cuba, and Jamaica – from July 15-21.
This January, I made visits centered on the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region, including Mexico. Following on from that, this will be my second visit to the LAC region. After this visit, I will have visited a total of nine LAC countries this year, which I believe would be the highest ever for any Japanese Foreign Minister. Of course, I am not competing the number of countries visited.
During this visit, in addition to the meetings with the foreign ministers and leaders of the countries, I would like to strengthen relations with the entire region by holding Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, some of them online, with member states of organizations in Central America such as the Central American Integration System and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
I would like to strengthen Japan’s economic relations with Central American and Caribbean countries, which are our important partners and have traditionally been in friendly relations, and confirm our cooperation in maintaining and strengthening of the rules-based free and open international order. I would also like to thoroughly exchange our views in person regarding global issues such as the novel coronavirus and climate change as well as regional affairs.
Central America also has unique issues such as immigration. The region is also extremely important for the United States, and at the same time, there are countries that diplomatically recognize PRC and countries that recognize ROC. I would like to exchange our views with them. Also, when we think of cooperation in the international arena, Central America has a large number of countries, and I believe that strengthening cooperation with these countries will be extremely important for Japan to take various responses in the international arena.
(2) Response to Solitude, Isolation and Associated Issues
Minister Motegi: The other matter is our measure to tackle solitude and isolation among Japanese nationals living overseas. Various measures are proceeding in Japan, and from today, in order to respond to the issue of solitude, isolation and associated issues among Japanese nationals living overseas, MOFA will begin initiatives in cooperation with five NPOs in Japan.
Each organization have networks with Japanese nationals living overseas. We will specifically introduce the five NPOs cooperating with MOFA to Japanese nationals living overseas via MOFA’s Overseas Safety Website, the websites of our diplomatic missions, consul emails, and other means.
Through such measures, we would like to assist Japanese nationals living overseas to directly consult with these NPOs via chat and social media.
There is also a possibility that such consultations from Japanese nationals may include cases that are extremely serious or cases that is determined to require emergency response. To prepare for such cases, a system of communication will be established between the NPOs and MOFA.
This could be said for those living in Japan, but especially the people living abroad face such issues of solitude and isolation. We would like to make efforts to carefully listen to the voices of such people.
While the novel coronavirus has spread globally since last year, we have been providing support such as assisting the return of Japanese nationals from abroad. I have reinforced my view that the protection of Japanese nationals living abroad is one of the most important duties of MOFA. MOFA will continue to make efforts for the careful protection of Japanese nationals, and our measure this time is part of such efforts.
Please inquire with the Japanese Nationals Overseas Safety Division of the Consular Affairs Bureau for more details. That is all from me.
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (Visits to Japan by Foreign Dignitaries)
Asahi Shimbun, Sugawara: I would like to ask about the visits to Japan by foreign dignitaries for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The dignitaries are invited by the NOCs of each country, but MOFA is in charge of welcoming them when they visit. Yesterday, it was decided that Olympic events will be held without spectators in four prefectures. How will that affect the visits of foreign leaders to Japan?
Minister Motegi: As you have stated, although MOFA will welcome the dignitaries who have decided to visit Japan, whether or not they visit is a decision of each country, and whom to approach is indeed an issue of host organizations.