Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, August 2, 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

Attendance at the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: From tomorrow, August 3 to August 6, I will be visiting Phnom Penh, Cambodia in order to attend the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings. The Japan-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting are planned to be held on August 4, and the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting are planned to be held on August 5. This will be the first time in three years that a series of meetings will be held in-person.

ASEAN is a long-standing close partner of Japan and is a key to realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP). I would like to affirm close cooperation towards realizing FOIP and the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific”, as well as for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2023.

In addition, during the meetings, I plan to exchange views on regional and international affairs, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the East China Sea and South China Sea, North Korea, and Myanmar. During these meetings, I will firmly explain Japan’s policies and views, and affirm the strengthening of cooperation with relevant countries.

Furthermore, coordination is underway to hold meetings with Cambodia, the ASEAN Chair, as well as other participating countries. That is all from me.

Visit to Taiwan by Speaker of the House Pelosi of the United States

Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: It is being reported that during her visit to Asia, Speaker of the House Pelosi of the United States will visit Taiwan tonight. It is expected that this will cause tensions in U.S.-China relations as China will inevitably oppose the visit. Please tell us your reaction to this.

Minister Hayashi: I believe I am not in the position to comment on behalf of the Government of Japan about the foreign visits of Speaker Pelosi. If I were to say anything further in a general sense, it would be that Japan believes that stable U.S.-China relations are extremely important for the international community.

ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings

Jiji Press, Tanaka: In relation to the ASEAN-related Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, please tell us if you also plan to hold a Japan-China or Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. In particular, regarding Japan-China relations, you have not held a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in-person since assuming your position of Foreign Minister. Please tell us about the necessity and significance of repeatedly holding dialogue with China.

Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, coordination for bilateral meetings is currently underway. Nothing has been decided about Japan-China or Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I intend to hold frank exchanges of views regarding bilateral relations as well as urgent regional and international affairs with the countries with which we arrange bilateral meetings.

Relations with the Unification Church (Former Name)

NTV, Mori: Relations between politicians and the so-called Unification Church, which is becoming a social concern due to matters such as its supernatural-related business practices, are being brought to light one after another. Do you have any relations with the Church, such as receiving election support? In addition, given that the so-called Unification Church is an organization becoming a social concern, what are your thoughts on relations between such organization and politicians?

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government of Japan regarding political activities of Cabinet ministers and Diet members.

Generally speaking, I would say that it is important for each politicians to act responsibly in their political activities. I also believe that it is important to provide careful explanations from the perspective of politicians regarding relations with organizations that are becoming social issues.

Furthermore, I myself do not have any relations with the organization you pointed out.

State Funeral for Former Prime Minister Abe

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: I would like to ask about the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe. Please tell us where you are with the receiving foreign dignitaries and preparations, as well as how you wish to make this an occasion for diplomacy through condolence visits.

Minister Hayashi: On July 22, following the Cabinet decision regarding the state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe, we have sent information regarding the state funeral, including date, time, and location, to countries and others with which we have diplomatic relations.

The specific attendees are still undecided at this point. Centered on the Special Secretariat for the State Funeral for former Prime Minister ABE Shinzo established within MOFA, we will continue to be sure to welcome attendees coming from abroad for the state funeral.

It has been decided to hold a state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe in light of his heavy responsibility of holding premiership over a total of eight years and eight months, the longest period in Japan’s constitutional history, with outstanding leadership and execution ability. It was also taken into consideration that Mr. Abe has received extremely high praise from the international community, including foreign leaders, and has received condolences and mourning widely from within Japan and abroad for this incident.

By holding the state funeral, we will mourn former Prime Minister Abe and show our determination that we will not give in to violence and will resolutely defend democracy. We will also convey to the world our sentiments to inherit Japan full of vitality and pave the way to the future.

Sado Island Gold Mines (World Heritage Site Registration)

TV Asahi, Sawai: I would like to ask about the World Heritage Site registration of the Sado Island Gold Mines. UNESCO already pointed out on February 28 the insufficiency of the submitted recommendation document. Please tell us the facts regarding this issue. I think it was about five months before the decision was made to resubmit the recommendation document last week. There was no notification to Niigata Prefecture, where the mines are located. What kind of negotiations was MOFA engaged in with UNESCO?

Minister Hayashi: After the UNESCO Secretariat made a decision that some parts of the recommendation document for the Sado Island Gold Mines were insufficient, we have continued discussions with UNESCO to request for a reconsideration of the decision. In addition to the efforts made by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), MOFA has also been repeatedly and persistently urging UNESCO at various levels.

We have decided to resubmit the recommendation letter for the Sado Island Gold Mines. MOFA will closely cooperate with relevant ministries and agencies, including MEXT, and continue to work on this issue.

Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee, which was scheduled to be held in June 2022 in Russia, was postponed. The schedule and venue for the postponed 45th session as well as the schedule and venue for the 46th session are undetermined at this point, so it is difficult to say anything certain about the future schedule regarding the Sado Island Gold Mines.

Visit to the Middle East by Prime Minister Kishida

Pan Orient News, Azhari: Prime Minister Kishida is reportedly planning to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar after attending TICAD later this month. I am wondering what the main goal of this visit is and are you accompanying him?

Minister Hayashi: Nothing has been decided about the schedule for overseas visits by Prime Minister Kishida following TICAD.

Detainment of a Japanese National in Myanmar

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the detainment of a Japanese national in Myanmar. A Japanese man in his 20s was detained in Yangon, Myanmar. Please tell us the latest situation that the Government of Japan is currently aware of, as well as the status of the response by the Government.

Minister Hayashi: On July 30, the Embassy of Japan in Myanmar confirmed with local police the detainment of a Japanese man in his 20s who was filming a demonstration in Yangon City.

The Embassy is requesting the Myanmar authorities for the early release of the Japanese national. We will continue to gather information, and request his early release.

In addition, from the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals, we are providing as much support as possible, including contacting his family. We will continue to take appropriate responses.

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