Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 3:44 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Situation in Ukraine (Co-Chairs’ Meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues)
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: A meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Foreign Affairs Division was held today and criticisms were made one after the other about the Co-Chairs’ Meeting of Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues that Foreign Minister Hayashi attended yesterday. According to those present, I have heard that there was criticism saying that holding the meeting while holding the Japan-Ukraine Summit Meeting was incongruous.
Thus, my question is about the decision to hold the two meetings at almost the same time. Moreover, what is MOFA’s perception of the significance of holding the Co-Chairs’ Meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues amidst this situation?
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: As you stated in your question, the Co-Chairs’ Meeting of the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues between Foreign Minister Hayashi and Minister of Economic Development Reshetnikov of Russia was held in the video teleconference format yesterday, February 15.
Foreign Minister Hayashi brought up various trade and economic issues between Japan and Russia, including the current situation in Ukraine. He and Minister of Economic Development Reshetnikov stated that they hope to continue the dialogue.
Furthermore, Foreign Minister Hayashi requested the early repeal of the mandate to attach an inspection certificate for radioactive material to Japanese food products from six prefectures which are still required by Russia.
In addition, regarding Ukraine, as Japan follows the situation with grave concern and places importance on the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity, Foreign Minister Hayashi firmly conveyed Japan’s position of urging Russia to relieve tensions and seek a diplomatic solution.
As for your question, as I have repeatedly stated in my press conferences, Japan is monitoring the situation in Ukraine with grave concern. From that perspective, we took this opportunity to urge Russia to relieve tensions and seek a diplomatic solution. Foreign Minister Hayashi firmly conveyed Japan’s position from that perspective to Minister of Economic Development Reshetnikov of Russia.
The Government of Japan will continue to urge Russia at various levels to relieve tensions. At the same time, there is no change to our policy of appropriately responding while cooperating with the G7, including the United States, relevant countries, and others.
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: What is your view on the significance of having the meeting itself? It was said in the LDP Foreign Affairs Division meeting today that MOFA’s stance of valuing maintaining such channels was indicated. If that is the case, I would like to ask you to explain its significance in your own words. My second question is, how did Minister of Economic Development Reshetnikov react to Foreign Minister Hayashi conveying “grave concern”?
Press Secretary Ono: The Co-Chairs’ Meeting was held at the suggestion of the Russian side to have an exchange of views regarding the current state of cooperation in the areas of economy and exchange between Japan and Russia. As I stated before, Japan took this opportunity to firmly convey to Russia our positions in a wide-ranging manner, including matters of concern to Japan.
Foreign Minister Hayashi’s statements conveyed Japan’s basic positions. I have heard that the Minister of Economic Development Reshetnikov did not make any statements regarding the situation in Ukraine during the meeting.