Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Friday, October 1, 2021, 10:46 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I believe this will probably be my last press conference under the Suga administration. Thank you all for your support during the past year, or perhaps I should say two years including my term under the Abe administration. That is all from me.

Summary of Diplomacy during the Suga Administration and Expectations for the Next Administration’s Foreign Policy

Nikkei Shimbun, Tobita: As you have stated just now in your opening remarks, today is your last press conference under the Suga administration. Please tell us your reflections on diplomacy under the Suga administration, and your expectations for diplomacy during the Kishida administration.

Minister Motegi: The Suga administration was inaugurated in September 2020. I believe the administration was able to strongly promote diplomacy amidst the continuing global spread of the novel coronavirus, as well as major changes in the international community of the situation in Myanmar that arose with the coup d’état on February 1, and the situation in Afghanistan in August.

There have been some limitations to face-to-face diplomacy due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Amidst this situation, Prime Minister Suga promoted active summit-level diplomacy by holding a Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting on April 16 as the first foreign leader to visit the United States under President Biden’s presidency, and by visiting Europe and Southeast Asia and holding online meetings.

In terms of novel coronavirus countermeasures, I believe vaccination is the deciding factor in curbing the spread of infections. Japan cohosted the COVAX AMC Summit with Gavi on June 2 in order to ensure equitable access to vaccines. Japan has also conducted major provision of vaccines to countries and regions including in Southeast Asia, and is probably the third largest contributor of vaccines. Furthermore, Japan has went on with initiatives, such as the highly regarded “Last One Mile Support.” These initiatives have been highly appreciated by various countries.

The Japan-U.S. Alliance, which is the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy, has seen robust trust relations been built between Japan and the United States and the personal relationship of trust between President Biden and Prime Minister Suga. Under these, we have worked to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy and security.

In addition, toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP), foreign ministers’ meetings of the Quad have been held since 2019. The first Quad summit meeting took place online in 2021, and recently an in-person summit was convened. Japan has also deepened various forms of cooperation and collaboration with relevant countries, including ASEAN and European countries, toward realizing FOIP.

Furthermore, in addition to working to build stable relations with neighboring countries, Japan has shown leadership toward expanding free and fair economic sphere, including the conclusion of the Japan-U.K. Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the economic front.

In this way, I believe the Suga administration has achieved results in ensuring Japan’s peace, stability, and prosperity, and exerted all efforts to advance diplomacy toward building a free and open international order.

The Kishida administration will finally be inaugurated next Monday. As the world faces issues including the novel coronavirus and climate change, under multilateralism, I expect that Japan will promote proactive diplomacy to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, realize FOIP, and instruct new international rule-making, in order to protect Japan’s national interests and contribute to global peace and prosperity.

Incoming Prime Minister Kishida served the longest ever term as a Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, and achieved various accomplishments including the 2015 Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) agreement and President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima in 2016. I expect that the Kishida administration as well will make major diplomatic achievements.

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