Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Saturday, February 19, 2022, 10:16 p.m. Munich

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I just attended the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting commencing at 12 p.m., local time, for one and half hours. This Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was set up in a hurry amidst the ongoing unpredictable situation in Ukraine. It is my second consecutive week of the whirlwind visit, following on from my visit to Melbourne for the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other meetings and my visit to Honolulu last weekend. At today’s meeting, the G7 Foreign Ministers exchanged candid views and reaffirmed their coordination, and it was highly meaningful.

During today’s discussion, the G7 Foreign Ministers shared grave concerns about Russia’s military build-up around Ukraine and concurred to call on Russia to de-escalate tensions, including actually withdrawing military forces as Russia has announced. In addition, we reiterated the G7’s commitment to pursue a peaceful diplomatic solution and concurred to urge Russia to take up the offer of dialogue, such as by the United States, NATO, and OSCE. Furthermore, we confirmed that any Russian aggression against Ukraine will result in massive costs, including sanctions on Russia. The G7 also reiterated its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in addition to confirming the importance of helping preserve the economic and financial stability of Ukraine and reaffirming support to Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its democracy.

I stated that the current situation in Ukraine is an issue that concerns the fundamental principle of the international community, which is not to allow unilateral changes to the status quo by force and is not an issue limited to European security, and that Japan has consistently supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. I also noted that Prime Minister Kishida urged directly to President Putin to pursue a solution through diplomatic negotiations. Moreover, I stated that Japan will continue to coordinate closely with the international community, including the G7, in dealing with the situation.

At the end of the meeting, Foreign Minister Kuleba of Ukraine arrived and explained Ukraine’s view and position on the current situation. The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement is now being finalized.

During my visit to Munich, I have held bilateral meetings with some countries on the margins of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Munich Security Conference, which has brought together foreign ministers of many countries. I have already held meetings with Foreign Secretary Truss of the United Kingdom, EU High Representative Borrell, and Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs of Latvia, at which we confirmed to continue working closely with each other in addressing the situation in Ukraine.

In the afternoon, bilateral meetings are planned with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, Foreign Minister Aurescu of Romania, and Foreign Minister Liimets of Estonia. I will also participate as a panelist in the “Indo-Pacific” session of the Munich Security Conference before my flight back to Japan tonight. That is all from me.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter: Minister, you just said the G7 confirmed that aggression against Ukraine will result in massive costs, including sanctions on Russia. Are there any sanctions on Russia that the G7 has decided on at this point?

Minister Hayashi: As I stated, the G7 confirmed that any aggression against Ukraine will result in massive costs, including sanctions on Russia. I would like to refrain from explaining the details of our discussion. Based on the actual situation, Japan intends to coordinate with the international community, including the G7, in taking appropriate responses, including sanctions.

Reporter: President Biden stated that Russia has decided to invade Ukraine. At the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, did the Ministers have a shared view on Russia’s response to Ukraine?

Minister Hayashi: I am aware of President Biden’s remark which you referred to. The situation surrounding Ukraine is an issue that concerns not only Europe but the order of the entire international community, and we are closely following the situation with grave concern. Japan has consistently supported Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to engage in persistent diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions. Japan will continue to work closely with the international community, including the G7, to appropriately deal with the actual situation, including imposing sanctions.

Reporter: I believe an online summit meeting will be held as early as the 24th of next week. Could you please tell us the status of the summit meeting and any homework you will be bringing back ahead of the summit meeting?

Minister Hayashi: Yes, arrangements are now being made. I will bring back the outcomes of today’s G7 meeting, and we hope to speed up the arrangements for the summit meeting.

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