Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Friday, March 3, 2023, 2:17 p.m. Delhi

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Since last evening, I have been here in New Delhi, India, attending the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Session at the eighth Raisina Dialogue, and holding bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers.

First, during the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, we held in-person, candid discussion among the Quad foreign ministers on the current international affairs and the future policy of the four countries. As the outcome of the discussions, we released the Joint Statement. The four countries reaffirmed the Quad’s steadfast commitment to support a “free and open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP), which includes cooperation with the ASEAN and Pacific Island countries.

We also reaffirmed important principles such as our stance against any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force.

In relation to Ukraine, we concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible, and underscored the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter. We also emphasized that the rules-based international order must respect sovereignty, territorial integrity, and other elements.

Following the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I participated in the panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue along with the foreign ministers of the United States, Australia, and India. We conveyed to the world that the Quad is not an initiative for fighting against something or conducting military cooperation, but it is an initiative for promoting practical cooperation to realize the vision of FOIP, which the four countries share in the Indo-Pacific region.

Moving on to the bilateral meetings, firstly between Japan and the United States, at the meeting with Secretary of State Blinken, we reaffirmed that we would continue to take a lead in conducting initiatives for realizing a “free and open Indo-Pacific” in close cooperation, based on the outcomes of the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting in January, the Japan-U.S. “2+2” and other meetings.

Secretary Blinken and I also exchanged opinions on regional situations. Now that one year has passed since the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we agreed that Japan and the United States would continue to cooperate to firmly support Ukraine, while maintaining the unity of the international community.

In the Japan-Oman Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Foreign Minister Badr, we agreed to further develop our bilateral relations in a wider range of areas under the Comprehensive Partnership between Japan and Oman.

We concurred to further promote cooperation in the field of clean energy, such as renewable energy, hydrogen, and ammonia, in addition to the traditional energy sector.

In addition, we exchanged views on the collaboration of the international community in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the regional situation in the Middle East, and confirmed to continue to work closely together.

Furthermore, I had the Japan-Comoros Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dhoihir of the Union of Comoros, which assumes the Chair of the African Union (AU) this year. We discussed several issues faced by the international community such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, UN Security Council reform, and unfair and opaque development finance, and agreed to strengthen coordination between the AU and the G7.

At the Japan-Canada Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Joly, we celebrated that this year marks the 95th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Canada. We reaffirmed that the two countries would continue to work closely in realizing the vision of FOIP and cooperating as members of the G7. At the same time, we also exchanged views on regional situations and concurred to impose strict sanctions against Russia and provide firm support to Ukraine.

At the Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting hosted by Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar in a working lunch format, we exchanged views on priority issues as the G7 and G20 Presidencies, in addition to the bilateral relations, and affirmed that we would continue to work closely together.

Although it was a short stay, I was able to carry out a very fulfilling schedule. Japan will continue to promote highly responsive and strong diplomacy at a time when the rule-based and the free and open international order is facing a serious challenge.

That is all from me.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter: I would like to ask about today’s Japan-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that you have just mentioned. India identifies itself as an advocate of the so-called Global South. Since the Government of Japan sets a policy to further strengthen its engagement with those countries, please tell us in what ways Japan, the G7 Presidency, and India, the G20 Presidency, cooperate and increase their engagement with the Global South.

Minister Hayashi: As the international community faces a series of major crises one after another, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, places great importance on cooperation with India, the G20 Presidency. In particular, we consider that the cooperation between the G7 and G20 is highly significant when working on certain global issues such as food, development and health issues.

Furthermore, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, places an emphasis on the G7’s involvement in the Global South. With this regard, we consider that cooperation with India, which is taking leadership in the involvement in the countries that are identified as part of the Global South, such as by hosting the Voice of Global South Summit in January 2023, will become increasingly important. By demonstrating the G7’s active contributions to various important issues of the international community, Japan plans to strengthen the relationship between the Global South and the G7, and to lead in addressing various issues faced by the international community together with India.

Reporter: I would like to ask about the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Following the previous G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the recent meeting held on March 1 and 2 was unable to compile a joint statement once again. There were intense arguments over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine at the meeting, and it seems that the divisions between the Japan-U.S.-Europe side and the China-Russia side have become deeper and more radical. Amid this situation, what is your reaction to the fact that you, the foreign minister of Japan, the G7 Presidency, were unable to participate in the on-site discussions? Please also tell us how you explained your absence from the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the working lunch with Minister of External Affairs of India Jaishankar, and what discussions on future approaches to cooperation you and Minister Jaishankar had as representatives of the G7 and G20 Presidencies.

Minister Hayashi: At the recent G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Mr. YAMADA Kenji, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, firmly stated Japan’s position, including the position as the G7 Presidency. For example, with regard to the situation in Ukraine, State Minister Yamada stated that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is shaking the foundations of the international order and multilateralism, and that Japan condemns such outrageous actions in the strongest terms. In addition, State Minister Yamada stated that threatening the use of nuclear weapons, as Russia had done, let alone the actual use of nuclear weapons, is absolutely unacceptable.

After the conclusion of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on March 1 and 2, the “Chair’s Summary & Outcome Document,” which includes a strong condemnation of the war in Ukraine by most of the member countries. Please note that no joint statement has been released at the previous G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meetings. At the working lunch with Minister of External Affairs of India Jaishankar, I explained that I was unable to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting yesterday due to the deliberation of the Budget Committee at the Diet, I had been informed of the outcome of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, and that I expressed my respect for the leadership exercised by Minister Jaishankar. We then concurred that the two countries would work closely as the G7 and G20 Presidencies.

Reporter: I would like to ask a related question. As you have served as a member of the Budget Committee at the Diet, what is your current view on how cabinet ministers should deal with the situation when the Diet schedule overlaps with important diplomatic schedules?

Minister Hayashi: We make decisions on the attendance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs at international conferences, taking into consideration the schedule and content of those conferences and official matters in Japan comprehensively. Attending the Diet and carrying out diplomatic activities including overseas visits are equally important. I will continue to carry out proactive diplomatic activities while gaining approval from the Diet.

Reporter: I would like to ask about the Joint Statement released by the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. According to the statement, the four ministers concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be inadmissible. Please tell us your thoughts on the significance of the agreement, which involved India.

Minister Hayashi: As a result of a series of exchanges of views among Japan, the United States, Australia and India, we agreed to continue our discussions on our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the serious casualties it has caused, shared the recognition that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons would be inadmissible, and released the Joint Statement. Amidst the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine, which shakes the foundation of the international order, it is a significant outcome that the foreign ministers of the four countries including India sent such a message to the world.

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