Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 10:42 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visit to the Middle East by Foreign Minister Motegi
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I would first like to speak about my visit to the Middle East.
I plan to visit Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, and Qatar from August 15 to August 24.
Peace and stability in the Middle East region are extremely important for the international community, including Japan. Through this visit, I would like to emphasize again Japan’s commitment to the Middle East, as we have contributed to the peace and prosperity of the Middle East region and built robust relations with the region over many years. I would also like to confirm the importance of the free and open international order based on the rule of law.
In addition, due to the global spread of the novel coronavirus, there are Middle Eastern countries where infections are spreading. As various effects have arisen from the spread of virus, I would like to have thorough consultations and hear requests on what to do with our collaboration and cooperation concerning novel coronavirus countermeasures, based on Japan’s track record of assistance.
Although a highly tense situation is continuing in the Middle East, new administrations have just been inaugurated in Iran and Israel, and new movements can be seen including for regional dialogue which transcends the conventional opposing views. Amidst this situation, I wish to hold candid discussions on regional affairs and plans to seek for a close collaboration towards regional stability. That is all from me.
Visit to the Middle East by Foreign Minister Motegi (Iran)
NHK, Yamamoto: I would like to ask about your visit to the Middle East, especially Iran, which you have just announced. On which topics will you discuss in Iran? There are indirect consultations underway between the United States and Iran regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but the negotiations have been suspended since June. Will you exchange views on the JCPOA, and what kind of views will you convey regarding Japan’s position?
Minister Motegi: Japan has consistently supported the JCPOA. I will call on Iran to return to the JCPOA. I believe that a dialogue between Iran and the United States is extremely important, even if it is indirect consultation.
Iran is a major power in the region. I believe that the stability in Iran will truly lead to the stability throughout the whole region. The exact same thing can be said for maritime traffic. I wish to convey that we would like to see Iran contribute to regional stability as a major power, and that regional stability will lead to the development of Iran.
The new Raisi administration has just been inaugurated, and the Iranian Foreign Minister has just assumed his position. I believe that my visit will take place at a good time when Iran is trying to come up with various foreign policies.
Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Relations (Response to Former Minister Soma of the Embassy of Japan in Korea)
Dong-a Ilbo, Kim: I would like to ask about Minister SOMA Hirohisa. On August 1, MOFA ordered him to return to Japan. The ROK is continuing to request for an appropriate measure to be taken on Minister Soma. Please tell us your opinion on what response will be taken. There are also reports suggesting that the order to return to Japan was a de facto dismissal. Is that you recognition?
Minister Motegi: Former Minister Soma was ordered to return to Japan on August 1. As I have been stating until now, decisions regarding personnel working overseas are made appropriately in a timely manner, taking into consideration of matters such as terms of office at posting locations as well as human resource rotations as a whole.
To add, as I have been stating until now, no matter what the situation and context Minister Soma made the statement was, it is very regrettable that he made such an inappropriate statement as a diplomat.