Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, July 26, 2023, 3:15 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Replacement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China
Kyodo News, Ueda: I would like to ask about the dismissal of the Chinese foreign minister. Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang of China was dismissed. What are your thoughts on the replacement of the counterpart, and partner, of the Japanese foreign minister, after only a short time in office? Furthermore, China remains steadfast in opposing the discharge of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) into the sea, and Japan has urged China not to politicize the issue of treated water. Please also tell us what impact the replacement of the foreign minister will have on your future discussions with China.
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: We are aware that, on July 25, Mr. Qin Gang, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, was dismissed from his position, and Mr. Wang Yi was appointed as his successor.
The Government of Japan is not in a position to answer about personnel changes within the Government of China. In any case, Japan will firmly maintain and assert our position and strongly request China’s responsible actions, while at the same time continue dialogue including on concerns and cooperate on matters of common interest. It is important that both Japan and China make efforts to build a “constructive and stable relationship.” Japan intends to maintain close communication with China at all levels, including with Mr. Wang Yi.
Recently, on July 14 to be more precise, during the meeting between Minister Hayashi and Mr. Wang Yi in Jakarta, Minister Hayashi made Japan’s position clear regarding the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, and called upon China to act based on a scientific standpoint, and conveyed Japan’s readiness to communicate with China from such standpoint.
Based on the conclusions presented in the IAEA Comprehensive Report, the Government of Japan will continue to provide detailed explanations on this and other aspects of the safety of ALPS treated water to the international community in a highly transparent manner. In addition, we will request that China make conclusions that are based on scientific evidence.
70th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice (Visit to North Korea by Chinese and Russian Dignitaries)
TBS, Miyamoto: I have a question related to North Korea. Tomorrow, July 27, North Korea plans to hold a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, or as North Korea calls it, the victory in the Fatherland Liberation War. China and Russia have sent their respective delegations for the ceremony. I believe this is the first time since early 2020 that visits to North Korea by foreign dignitaries have fully resumed following their long interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What is the view of the Government of Japan on these recent developments? Please share any analysis you can provide if there is any.
Press Secretary Ono: We are aware of the moves you noted. While the Government of Japan strives to regularly collect and analyze information on North Korean moves, I would like to refrain from commenting on them individually.
In any case, the Government will continue to monitor the moves with grave concern, including those relating to the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice you referred to.
ALPS Treated Water (Measures against Disinformation)
NHK, Morita: I have a question about ALPS treated water. I understand that coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on measures against disinformation was on the agenda at both the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held recently in Jakarta and the Director-General level consultations held last week. Specifically, what sort of actions do you mean when you say coordination with other countries?
Press Secretary Ono: At the Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on July 14 and the Japan-U.S.-ROK Vice-Minister level telephone talk on July 24, the three sides discussed coordination to prevent the spread of disinformation on ALPS treated water. As this was a diplomatic discussion, I would like to refrain from answering about the details.
In any case, the spread of malicious disinformation threatens the universal values upon which our society is built, such as freedom and democracy. At the same time, it hinders the reconstruction of the affected areas and deeply hurts the feelings of the local people who are working hard to restore them. The Government of Japan firmly opposes disinformation and its dissemination.
Japan, in cooperation with the international community, including the United States and the ROK, will take necessary measures against the spread of malicious disinformation and will continue to provide accurate and detailed information based on scientific evidence in a transparent manner.
ALPS Treated Water (Explanation to the ROK)
Yomiuri Shimbun, Tanikawa: You just released a press release stating that a briefing session on ALPS treated water was held for the ROK yesterday. Could you please elaborate on the communications that took place at the briefing session?
Press Secretary Ono: As is stated in the press release that was issued a short while ago, a briefing session to the ROK Government regarding the handling of ALPS treated water at TEPCO’s FDNPS was held in person yesterday, July 25.
During the briefing, the Japanese side explained that it will continue its efforts to ensure the safety of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea based on the position as explained at the recent Japan-ROK Summit Meeting among others. In particular, the Japanese side provided supplementary explanations and reiterated that Japan will, after the discharge has commenced, publish monitoring information in a transparent and prompt manner while undergoing the review by the IAEA under the authority of the IAEA statute, and should a problem be detected during this monitoring process such as unusual value in the concentration of radioactive materials, Japan will take appropriate measures as planned, including immediate suspension of the discharge.
The ROK side, based on its position of respecting the contents of the IAEA Comprehensive Report, explained the efforts of the ROK government, including an explanation of the contents of the assessment announced by the ROK government on July 7.
The Japanese side also stated that it would continue to communicate with the ROK based on scientific evidence and both sides concurred on the prompt organization of another briefing session.