Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 10:52 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
U.S. Presidential Election (Timing of a Japan-U.S. Summit Telephone Talk)
NHK, YAMAMOTO: I would like to ask a question in relation to the U.S. presidential election. Mr. Biden held a telephone talk with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and has begun his diplomatic activities toward the inauguration of his new administration. I believe that coordination is being conducted for a telephone talk with Prime Minister Suga, but when is it preferable to hold the telephone talk? President Trump is still not at the stage of conceding. Should Prime Minister Suga hold a telephone talk with Mr. Biden in this situation?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, on behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to offer sincere congratulations to Mr. Joe Biden and Ms. Kamala Harris for their victory in this presidential election.
In response to the news that Mr. Biden was projected to win the election, Prime Minister Suga and I uploaded Tweets conveying congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris in the early morning of Sunday.
The Japan-U.S. Alliance is one of allies that share values based on freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights, the rule of law, and more. We will continue to closely cooperate with the United States in order to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance, and to ensure the peace, freedom, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
From that perspective, coordination will be conducted for a telephone talk between Mr. Biden and Prime Minister Suga and other matters. However, at the present point nothing has been decided on the schedule. We will consider an appropriate timing.
U.S. Presidential Election (Timing of the Visit to the United States by Prime Minister Suga)
Independent Web Journal, HAMAMOTO: Kyodo News reported on October 27 based on talks with several people related to the government that if Mr. Trump were to be reelected, Prime Minister Suga would seek to quickly visit the United States to congratulate President Trump and give his inauguration address. However, if Mr. Biden were to win, Kyodo News reported that coordination would start to postpone Prime Minister Suga’s visit to the United States for their first meeting until Mr. Biden was inaugurated in January 2021. Is that true?
Minister MOTEGI: There are various reports, but I would like to refrain from commenting about which individual reports are true or false.
U.S. Presidential Election (Negotiations on Host Nation Support (HNS) for the U.S. Forces Japan)
NHK, YAMAMOTO: I would like to ask about HNS. Defense Minister Kishi recently announced in his press conference that the official negotiations are scheduled to be conducted in Washington D.C. this week. In terms of matters such as formulation of the draft budget for the next fiscal year, I believe there would only be a period of about one month to conduct the negotiations. What conclusion is being aimed to be achieved?
Minister MOTEGI: The governments of Japan and the United States are scheduled to hold the first round of official negotiations on HNS for the U.S. Forces Japan in Washington D.C. this week. The current agreement is valid until the end of March 2021, so the negotiations must be concluded before then. During the unofficial negotiations through now, coordination has been conducted on each side’s views and other matters. Japan currently believes that the current HNS for the U.S. Forces Japan is appropriately divided between Japan and the United States. There is no change to the Government of Japan’s policy of appropriately responding based on the increasingly severe regional security situation and Japan’s severe financial situation, regardless of the presidential result and other such matters. We will negotiate with the determination to achieve an agreement as quickly as possible.
Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Relations (Visit to Japan By the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director of the ROK)
Dong-a Ilbo, KIM: I would like to ask about Japan-ROK relations. Director Park Jie-won of the NIS of the ROK is currently visiting Japan and there are reports that he will meet with Prime Minister Suga today. Chairman Kim Jin-pyo of the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union is also scheduled to visit Japan from this Thursday. Amidst cooling Japan-ROK relations, there is a view that such exchanges are movements toward improving relations. What is your reaction and view regarding this?
Minister MOTEGI: Firstly, Director Park Jie-won of the NIS of the ROK is currently visiting Japan. I would like to refrain from commenting about communication between Director Park and people related to the Government of Japan as this is related to cooperation with a foreign intelligence agency. However, amidst the extremely severe situation of Japan-ROK relations, I believe it is significant that high government officials from the ROK, including Director Park, are visiting Japan and having dialogue with people from the Japanese side regarding Japan-ROK relations and the situation in North Korea.
U.S. Presidential Election (The United States’ Stance Toward China)
Sankei Shimbun, ISHINABE: I would like to ask about China. I believe that the Trump administration has taken a strong stance on security and economic aspects against China. If there is a change to a Democratic Party administration, do you believe that stance will change?
Minister MOTEGI: As Mr. Biden advances various preparations toward the start of his inauguration, I believe he will establish policies concerning diplomacy and domestic affairs. We will closely monitor the situation. As stated, within the United States and its Congress, there is currently an extremely severe stance toward China among both the Democratic and Republican parties. At the present point, basically I do not presume that there will be a major change.