Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, September 6, 2022, 10:39 a.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

(1) Holding of the Japan-India “2+2” and the Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have two announcements.

First, Defense Minister HAMADA Yasukazu and I plan to hold the second Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ and Defense Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”) in Tokyo in a face-to-face format on September 8.

Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar and Defense Minister Singh plan to attend from India.

In addition, on the same day, I plan to hold the 14th Japan-India Strategic Dialogue with Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar.

India is Japan’s “Special Strategic and Global Partner” with which we share fundamental values and strategic interests, and is an important member of the Quad along with the United States and Australia. By taking advantage of these meetings, I would like to hold candid exchanges of views on bilateral relations including security and trade cooperation with India, regional and international affairs, and other such matters, and make this an opportunity to strengthen Japan-India relations in a wide –range of fields.

(2) Emergency Grant Aid in Response to the Flood Disaster in Pakistan

Minister Hayashi: Another announcement is that Japan has decided to implement emergency grant aid on a scale of $7 million as humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in response to the flood disaster caused by heavy rain, which has continued and expanded from mid-June to this day.

This cooperation will be provided as humanitarian assistance through international organizations such as the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) based on the local needs.

Furthermore, prior to this assistance, on August 29, Japan decided to provide emergency relief goods (tents and plastic sheets) to Pakistan. All the relief goods were delivered to Pakistan by September 4.

The Government of Japan will continue to provide considerate support to the people of Pakistan. That is all from me.

Japan-Russia Relations (Suspension of the Validity of the Agreement on the Four-Island Exchange and Free Visits)

Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: Yesterday, the Government of Russia announced that it will end the agreement with Japan on visa-free travel to the Northern Territories. Please tell us the Government of Japan’s reaction and response.

Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the announcement you pointed out. In March, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the measure to suspend the Four-Island Exchange Program and the like, claiming that Japan was taking unilateral unfriendly measures in relation to the situation in Ukraine. At that time, Japan strongly protested by stating that Russia’s stance and response of attempting to shift responsibility to Japan, despite the situation entirely arising due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, was extremely unjust and absolutely unacceptable.

Amidst this development, I believe that the Government of Russia’s announcement of a government order to suspend the validity of the agreement on the Four-Island Exchange Program and the like is extremely unjust and absolutely unacceptable.

The Russian side has not sent us any notification regarding this matter to date. On September 6, the Deputy Director-General of the European Affairs Bureau conveyed this view to the Vice Consul of the Embassy of Russia in Tokyo and again lodged a strong protest.

Earthquake in Sichuan Province, China

Mainichi Shimbun, Kusakabe: There was a major earthquake yesterday in Sichuan Province, China. Please tell us what is being considered to assist them in response to this.

Minister Hayashi: I am aware that at around 2 p.m. on September 5 Japan time, an earthquake occurred in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, China, which caused casualties.

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the victims and their families, as well as my heartfelt prayers for the recovery of those injured and the rapid reconstruction of the disaster-affected area.

So far, I have not received any information on the death or injury of Japanese residents. We will continue to monitor the local situation and exert all efforts to ensure the safety of Japanese residents. Nothing has been decided on assistance at this point.

Situation in the United Kingdom (Election of the Leader of the Conservative Party)

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the election of the leader of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. Liz Truss was selected as the new leader of the Conservative Party. Please tell us your impressions on the result of the party leader election. In addition, please tell us your thoughts on how to advance Japan-U.K. diplomatic relations.

Minister Hayashi: The result of the Conservative Party leader election in the United Kingdom was announced on September 5 local time. I personally feel very reassured that Foreign Secretary Truss, with whom I have closely cooperated until now, including at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, will lead the United Kingdom as Prime Minister.

The United Kingdom is Japan’s Global Strategic Partner with which we share fundamental values. Japan will continue to closely cooperate with the next administration and further strengthen Japan-U.K. relations. We will also work with the United Kingdom on various issues of the international community, including realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Setting a Price Cap on Russian Oil

TV Asahi, Sawai: I would like to ask about setting a “price cap” on Russian oil. At the G7 Finance Ministers’ Meeting last weekend, there was an agreement on setting a price cap on Russian oil from December. However, I believe that it would be necessary to involve China and India to secure the effectiveness of this measure. Please tell us the outlook for this. Furthermore, the Minister of External Affairs of India will visit Japan this week for the “2+2” as you just announced, and Prime Minister Modi will also visit Japan at the end of this month for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Abe. Does the Government of Japan intend to encourage India to become involved in strengthening sanctions against Russia?

Minister Hayashi: As you just stated, the meeting of the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held on September 2. I understand that during the meeting, it was agreed to introduce a “price cap” measure, which means to prohibit imports of Russian seaborne oil and oil products above a certain price as well as services, to decrease Russia’s revenue from energy and defend against the surging global energy prices and pressure of inflation caused by Russia’s aggression.

I am aware that the price level and details of the system will be discussed with relevant countries going forward. I believe that the “price cap” will be useful as a policy to ensure a stable energy supply of various countries while limiting Russia’s revenue from energy sector.

Regarding India, during the Japan-India “2+2,” which I mentioned earlier, we plan to hold discussions mainly regarding Japan-India relations including security and defense cooperation, Japan-India cooperation as well as Japan-Australia-India-U.S. cooperation towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and regional and international affairs. I would like to refrain from speculating about the specific content of discussions with India.

Issue of the Former Unification Church

Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto: I would like to ask about the issue of the former Unification Church. It has come to light that the former Unification Church has provided a great deal of support to North Korea since 1991. Since the main source of funding of the former Unification Church is donations from its Japanese branches, it is suspected that the donations from its followers in Japan ultimately have been used as funding for North Korea’s nuclear missile development. Is there any plan by MOFA to investigate the flow of funds from the former Unification Church? Please tell us your view on this.

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting one by one on individual news reports. In any case, I believe that North Korea’s nuclear and missile development poses a threat to the peace and security of Japan and the international community and is absolutely unacceptable.

Japan will continue to promote the complete implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and aim for the denuclearization of North Korea while implementing close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation and cooperating with the international community.

Japan-ROK Relations (Issue of the Former Civilian Workers from the Korean Peninsula)

Mainichi Shimbun, Kusakabe: I would like to ask about Japan-ROK relations. In relation to the lawsuit of the former civilian workers, the justice of the ROK Supreme Court working on the matter has retired. Some people view that this will result in a delay of the conclusion on the re-appeal concerning the order on liquidation. Furthermore, it is being said that the public-private consultation group for the resolution will temporarily end, and that the Government of the ROK will proceed with coming up with the resolution. Please tell us your view and reaction to this.

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting one by one regarding developments of the ROK side. I believe that if the seized assets of Japanese companies were to be liquidated in relation to the issue of the former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula, it would lead to an extremely serious situation for Japan-ROK relations and must be avoided. Japan has repeatedly conveyed this to the ROK side, including at the ministerial level.

During the foreign ministers’ meeting in July, Foreign Minister Park stated that he would make efforts to have a desirable solution before liquidation takes place. Additionally, he and I shared the view to swiftly resolve this issue. Based on this, our diplomatic authorities have been in close communication, and we will continue this communication going forward.

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