Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, March 1, 2022, 4:44 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

The Situation in Ukraine

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Regarding the situation in Ukraine, during the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which I attended on February 27, the countries again shared the recognition that Russia’s invasion infringes upon Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, constitutes a serious violation of international law prohibiting the use of force, and that such violence is utterly unacceptable. It was agreed in the Cabinet meeting today to implement severe sanctions against Russia, including sanctions on individuals such as President Putin and organizations as well as freezing the assets of Russia’s central bank. Furthermore, we are taking measures appropriately and quickly including sanctions on Belarus.

The Government of Japan and the hearts of the people of Japan are with Ukraine. During the Japan-Ukraine Summit Telephone Talk yesterday, Prime Minister Kishida conveyed to President Zelensky that Japan is prepared to newly provide emergency humanitarian assistance of $100 million for Ukrainian people facing hardship. In addition, our policy is to take measures to extend the periods of stay of Ukrainians staying in Japan who wish to do so. Japan will continue to provide as much support as possible in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

At the same time, the Government of Japan is also exerting maximum efforts for the safety of Japanese nationals staying in Ukraine. As announced by Prime Minister Kishida yesterday, Japan established a temporary liaison office in Rzeszow City in Poland in addition to the one in Lviv City in western Ukraine to support Japanese nationals evacuating to Poland via land routes. In relation to this, I requested the Foreign Minister of Romania on February 19 as well as the Foreign Minister of Poland on February 26 for cooperation on allowing smooth entry into their countries by Japanese nationals staying in Ukraine who evacuate via land routes. Both foreign ministers stated that they would provide as much support as possible.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine undermines the foundation of the international order and is a blatant violation of international law. We will take resolute actions in solidarity with the international community, including the G7, to defend the foundation of the international order, and will show clearly that this kind of outrage comes with a heavy price. That is all from me.

The Situation in Ukraine (Call from the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan for Participation in an International Legion)

Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: I would like to ask about Ukraine’s call for an international legion. The Embassy of Ukraine in Japan is calling for this using social media in Japanese and has received many inquiries. Please tell us if MOFA has kept in contact with Ukraine and if there are actually people who want to participate from Japan. Please also tell us if there are legal issues with this, such as whether it would be equivalent to preparations for a private war.

Minister Hayashi: I am aware that the Embassy of Ukraine in Japan is making such a call. In any event, MOFA has issued a recommendation for evacuation from all of Ukraine and would like Japanese nationals to not travel to Ukraine no matter the reason.

The Situation in Ukraine (Economic Cooperation with Russia)

Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about economic cooperation with Russia. You just explained economic sanctions against Russia in your opening remarks. Until now, Japan had been continuing consultations with Russia under the view that the window to dialogue should not be closed. Please tell us your thoughts on how you will advance economic cooperation and the peace treaty negotiations in light of the invasion of Ukraine.

Minister Hayashi: The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia is an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force. It is an act that undermines the very foundation of the international order. It constitutes a blatant violation of international law. As such, it is unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.

Now is the time for us to unite in taking resolute actions to defend the foundation of the international order fully. Japan will decisively take action to demonstrate this stance. We will show clearly that this kind of outrage comes with a heavy price.

The international community now believes that because of Russian aggression, it can no longer carry on relations with Russia in the same way it used to. Together with the other members of the G7 and the international community as a whole, Japan will impose even more stringent sanctions on Russia.

The Discussion on Nuclear Sharing

Kyodo News, Maeda: I would like to ask about nuclear sharing. In relation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some people, including people within the Liberal Democratic Party, are voicing the view that there needs to be a discussion on nuclear sharing. Please tell us what your position is on whether there needs to be a discussion on nuclear sharing.

Minister Hayashi: I am aware that there have been statements like you pointed out. There is no change to the Government of Japan’s intention to uphold the three non-nuclear principles as our policy. I believe that it would not be acceptable in terms of upholding the three non-nuclear principles if we had a framework in which we shared nuclear deterrence with the United States for national defense by, for example, having U.S. nuclear weapons placed in Japanese territory during peace times and maintained the posture of being able to load the weapons on Japanese fighters and operate them during an emergency.

Sanctions Against Russia (Measure to Prohibit Flight by Russian Aircraft Within Japanese Airspace)

Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about sanctions against Russia. Various European countries have prohibited Russian aircraft from passing through their airspace, and Russia has taken the same measure against European aircraft. Will Japan take the same measure?

Minister Hayashi: I am aware that various European countries have taken the measure of prohibiting flight by Russian aircraft within their airspace as part of their sanctions against Russia.

Japan is responding to the current situation while placing importance on cooperating with the international community, including the G7. Additionally, in deciding our specific sanction measures against Russia, Japan has been making comprehensive decisions on what measures would be appropriate. In terms of the issue you asked about, I believe we need to take into consideration aspects such as the differences in the geographic conditions between Europe and Japan as well as the effects on the distribution of goods.

I would like to refrain from answering about the details of consideration regarding individual measures. In any event, we will continue to resolutely respond to the situation.

The Situation in Ukraine (Support for Refugees)

Radio France, Nishimura: I would like to ask about Ukraine. Has the Government of Japan already begun consideration of allowing entry into the country by the families, parents, and siblings of Ukrainians who reside in Japan? Please also tell us your opinion on this point.

Minister Hayashi: I stated in my opening remarks that we stand with the people of Ukraine. In addition to providing loans on a scale of $100 million which was already announced, we will also provide $100 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians facing hardship.

We believe it is important to quickly and appropriately protect people who evacuate from Ukraine.

From this perspective, we will continue to respond appropriately in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies, including the Immigration Services Agency, while taking into consideration the circumstances of individual Ukrainians based on the situation in Ukraine going forward.

The Situation in Ukraine (Social Media Posts by the Embassy of Russia in Japan)

Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: The Embassy of Russia in Japan made a social media post stating that Japan has supported the Nazis twice, meaning the Hitler administration for the first time and the administration in Ukraine for the second time. What is your reaction to this?

Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the statement you mentioned. I believe that such a claim by Russia is baseless and unacceptable.

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