Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki
Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 3:44 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
An Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Test by Russia
Mr. YOSHIDA Tomoyuki, Press Secretary: On November 15 Moscow time, the Government of Russia conducted an ASAT test in which it shot down one of its satellites with a missile. This has resulted in a large number of space debris.
On the same day, a large number of debris came close to the International Space Station (ISS), which Japan participates in, and crew members took shelter in spacecraft docked at the ISS.
The amount of space debris orbiting the Earth, such as manmade satellites that have finished an operation and the upper detached parts of rockets, is increasing annually with massive scattering due to ASAT tests conducted by other countries, collisions of manmade satellites, and other causes.
Space debris orbiting the Earth at high speed has the potential to cause major damage by colliding with manmade satellites. As a result, this has become a major threat to the stable use of space.
Japan will continue to request the countries concerned to take responsible actions in space, from the perspective of ensuring sustainable and stable use of space and for security. That is all from me.
An ASAT Test by Russia
Asahi Shimbun, Abe: You just mentioned that the creation of space debris is a major threat. Has the Government of Japan somehow approached the Government of Russia, lodge a protest, or taken other such action?
Press Secretary Yoshida: Currently, we are gathering information and diligently analyzing this case with cooperation among relevant ministries and agencies in the Government of Japan. We will consider what to do about lodging a protest or other such issues given the results of the information-gathering and analysis as well as various internal and external circumstances regarding this case.
Visit to Takeshima by the Commissioner-General of the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s National Police Agency (KNPA)
Asahi Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about something different. Concerning the visit to Takeshima by the Commissioner-General of the KNPA, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno commented in his morning press conference that it is extremely regrettable if the visit occurred. He said, “If the visit occurred.” Have you been able to confirm whether the KNPA Commissioner-General visited Takeshima in your communication with the Government of the ROK?
Press Secretary Yoshida: Regarding the issue you asked about, I am aware that in his morning press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno stated that if the reports are true, then it would be absolutely unacceptable and extremely regrettable since Takeshima is indisputably an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based on international law.
There was an advance report on November 15 about this situation, so in response, we immediately lodged a protest calling for the plan to be canceled. On November 16 when it was reported that the visit was made, we again lodged a severe protest.
On whether or not the visit was made, the situation is still the same. We have determined to consider that the visit was made based on various circumstances and thus lodged the protest I described just now.
Response to Mr. and Mrs. Komuro in New York
Asahi Shimbun, Abe: I would like to change the subject. Eyes are on the start of the newlywed life of Mr. KOMURO Kei and Mrs. KOMURO Mako in New York. There is a Japanese consulate in New York. Is the consulate taking care of the couple’s life in New York somehow?
Press Secretary Yoshida: Mr. and Mrs. Komuro have arrived in New York. We of course provide consul-related administrative services to Japanese nationals living abroad if needed. We will respond accordingly if needed.
Beijing Winter Olympic Games
Sankei Shimbun, Toyota: About the Beijing Olympic Games in February 2022, local reports are suggesting that the Biden administration will soon announce a diplomatic boycott of the Games. Please tell us your reaction to this. Please also share with us the Government of Japan’s response policy.
Press Secretary Yoshida: I am aware of the reports on the response of the Government of the United States to the Beijing Olympic Games. On the other hand, this is a matter of the view of the Government of the United States and is still something that is only reported, I believe it is inappropriate for me to directly comment.
That being said, regarding the response to the Beijing Olympic Games, as I have explained until this day, the way it works for foreign dignitaries attending the Olympic and Paralympic Games is that the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of various countries and regions make requests, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) approve them.
I believe that consideration is underway for the Beijing Olympic Games according to this system as well. At this point, nothing particular has been decided about the participation of dignitaries from Japan.
As I have been saying up to now, Japan expects that the Beijing Winter Games will be held as an event for peace under the Olympic and Paralympic ideals and spirit. I hope such an environment will be fostered.
An ASAT Test by Russia
Kyodo News, Matsuura: Regarding the ASAT test by Russia which you mentioned in your opening remarks, how do you analyze Russia’s aim to be at this point?
Press Secretary Yoshida: As I stated before, currently the ministries and agencies concerned are collecting and analyzing various information. Therefore, we are not at the stage in which I can speak about what the background behind the test was, etc. When it comes to Russia’s intention behind the test for that matter, we are not in the position to presume.