Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, April 19, 2022, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Measures to Address Slander against Russian Nationals Residing in Japan and Others
Mainichi Shimbun, Konno: Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, slander against Russian nationals residing in Japan as well as other people of Russian descent has been occurring successively throughout Japan. Please tell us your thoughts on this. I believe this is a serious situation for MOFA, so do you plan to take any measures or initiative about this?
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force, and is an act that undermines the foundation of the international order. It constitutes a blatant violation of international law. As such, it is absolutely unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest terms.
At the same time, we would like to emphasize that this situation is caused by an invasion of Ukraine by the Putin administration. I know that some Russian nationals residing in Japan have raised their voices to oppose the invasion.
I would like to take this opportunity to again call for there to be no ostracism or slander against ordinary Russian people residing in Japan just because they are Russian.
This is the Government of Japan’s position and I have communicated this on various occasions thus far. I will continue to call for this.
The Situation in Ukraine (Economic Sanctions against Russia)
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask your recognition of the results of economic sanctions against Russia.
Recently in an online speech, President Putin stated that despite the economic sanctions against Russia imposed by western countries and Japan, the situation in Russia is stable, indicating that the economic sanctions have failed. You have expressed your recognition in a television program that sanctions have been considerably effective. What is your recognition as of now?
Minister Hayashi: Japan is implementing tough sanctions against Russia with the G7 countries and international community so that Russia immediately stops its invasion.
It is believed that it generally takes a certain amount of time for the effects of economic sanctions to be seen. That being said, I believe that there have already been various effects on Russia’s economy due to the sanctions placed by other countries, including rising commodity prices as well as withdrawal and halting of operations by foreign companies.
Japan will continue to unite with the international community, including the G7, to strengthen diplomatic and economic pressure on Russia.
G20 (Issue of Russia’s Participation)
Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: I would like to ask about the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Yellen will participate in part of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting that will be held from tomorrow. She had indicated that she would not attend a number of meetings due to Russia’s participation, and whether or not she would boycott the meeting garnered attention. The G7, including at the summit level, has stated until now that relations with Russia cannot remain the same as they have been. However, if we look at the G20 framework, there is also a view that this confrontation should not be brought in, including by Indonesia which holds the G20 presidency. I believe that a difference in approach has become clear between the G7 and G20. Please tell us your view.
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting as Japan regarding the responses of other countries, including the United States. If I were to say anything further, it would be that at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, discussions on various matters related to the global economy, including rising food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are expected to be seen. Finance Minister Suzuki will participate from Japan and plans to contribute to the discussions.
Japan will also participate in the G20 meeting and call for the entire international community to put pressure on Russia, in cooperation with relevant countries including the G7 countries.
Visit to Yasukuni Shrine
Kyodo News, Maeda: I would like to ask about the visit to Yasukuni Shrine. The Annual Spring Rites at Yasukuni Shrine will be held soon. Please tell us whether you intend to visit the shrine during that period, or before or after that period.
Minister Hayashi: I will make an appropriate decision as a member of the Kishida Cabinet.