Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki
Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Election of the Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) (Election of KONDO Masanori)
Mr. YOSHIDA Tomoyuki, Press Secretary: I would like to report on one matter during my opening remarks. It is about the election of the Secretary General of the APT.
The election of the Secretary General of the APT was conducted on December 4 during the 15th Session of the General Assembly of the APT. Mr. KONDO Masanori of Japan, who is currently serving as Deputy Secretary General of the APT, was elected Secretary General.
Winning the election requires receiving a majority of the valid votes cast by the 36 member nations that attend the General Assembly. Mr. Kondo received 35 of the votes. His term as the new Secretary General will be for three years from February 9, 2021.
I believe that Mr. Kondo’s election indicates the high evaluation of Asian-Pacific countries for his excellent attributes and his achievements as Deputy Secretary General of the APT through now.
The APT is an international organization in the Asia-Pacific region that aims for balanced development of telecommunications and information infrastructure. It was established in 1979.
Japan will continue to actively contribute to enhancing Japan’s presence in the telecommunications field in the Asia-Pacific region through activities in the APT. That is all I have to report.
Fifth Armitage-Nye Report (Japan-U.S. Alliance)
Asahi Shimbun, KITAMI: The latest so-called Armitage-Nye Report has been published by a U.S. think tank recently. I believe the report mentions requesting Japan to play a more equal role in the Japan-U.S. Alliance. Can you please tell us again how the Government of Japan can play a more equal role in the Japan-U.S. Alliance?
Press Secretary YOSHIDA: Your question was about the “Armitage-Nye Reports” published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) , a U.S. think tank. The reports have been authored several times in the past by former Deputy Secretary of State Armitage and Professor Nye of Harvard University, who are very well-known in Japan. They are prominent experts on Japan who have an in-depth knowledge of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region. We will firmly respond to the report’s content.
In regard to the equality of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, firstly, the report this time states that there is a bipartisan consensus in the United States on the importance of the Japan-U.S. Alliance. Also, it is my understanding that the report recognized the equality of the Japan-U.S. Alliance by stating that for the first time in its history, Japan is currently taking an equal, if not a leading role in the Alliance, including for promoting a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
Through the Japan-U.S. Alliance thus far, Japan and the United States have divided responsibilities and roles depending on the situation at the time, reviewed this as necessary, and developed to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. We will continue to ensure the further development of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and its equality while closely cooperating, confirming, and dividing our appropriate roles in the Asia-Pacific region, or perhaps I should say Indo-Pacific region, where the security environment continues to grow increasingly severe.
Fifth Armitage-Nye Report (Participation in Five Eyes)
Mainichi Shimbun, TADOKORO: I would like to ask a question in relation to the report. The report has a paragraph about participation by Japan in “Five Eyes,” which is composed of five countries including the United States and the United Kingdom. Various proposals and recommendations about Japan’s participation have been repeatedly mentioned by people in the United States, some people in the United Kingdom, Cabinet ministers and other government officials in Japan, and others. What is MOFA’s current view on whether it is necessary for the Government of Japan to conduct some sort of consideration on this going forward?
Press Secretary YOSHIDA: I am aware of the paragraph in the Armitage-Nye report that recommends that efforts should be made to make the “Five Eyes” network into a “Six Eyes” network with the participation of Japan.
As stated, “Five Eyes” is said to be an information-sharing network composed of the English-speaking countries of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, most of which are members of the Commonwealth of Nations . The Government of Japan has actually been constantly strengthening various cooperation on information with the governments of various countries and related organizations, including the member countries of Five Eyes, particularly the core countries of the United States and the United Kingdom. I do not believe there are any definite objectives I can speak about yet at the present point in relation to how this will be developed. However, Japan will further strengthen cooperation on information including intelligence aspects with the “Five Eyes” member countries, and make efforts to strengthen cooperation on information.
The Adoption of the Draft Resolution on Nuclear Disarmament in the Plenary Meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly
Asahi Shimbun, KITAMI: I would like to ask about the draft resolution on nuclear disarmament that was adopted by the United Nations. The draft resolution was adopted with the support of 10 fewer countries than the draft resolution last year. I believe the draft resolution has been criticized for not mentioning the so-called Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. Please tell us your reaction to the decrease of 10 supporting countries this year.
Press Secretary YOSHIDA: On December 7 New York time, which was December 8 Japan time, the draft resolution entitled “Joint Courses of Action and Future-oriented Dialogue towards a world without nuclear weapons,” submitted by Japan, was adopted in this year’s Plenary Meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The draft resolution this time was supported by 150 countries. The draft resolution was supported by 139 countries when it was adopted in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly in November, so it received support by a further 11 countries when it was adopted in the Plenary Meeting.
The draft resolution this time reaffirms the commitment to the ultimate goal of eliminating nuclear weapons. It also stresses the importance for both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states to take immediate actions and initiatives together as well as to conduct future-oriented dialogue, with a view to maintaining and strengthening the regime of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in an international community where positions are divided, focusing on the 10th NPT Review Conference which has been postponed this year.
As you pointed out, the number of countries supporting the draft resolution fluctuates depending on the year. The number may have decreased compared to the past year you specified. However, the draft resolution has the objective of providing a shared foundation to lead to a successful outcome of the 10th NPT Review Conference, and the Conference is conducted with a consensus format. Due to the fact that nuclear-weapon states that actually possess nuclear weapons must be involved in initiatives to realize nuclear disarmament and elimination of nuclear weapons, it is necessary to adjust the wording of the draft resolution so that it receives the support of both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapons states to be adopted in the NPT.
In that sense, I believe that it is of certain significance that the draft resolution was adopted with the support of 150 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom which co-sponsored the draft resolution.
Incidentally, although the number of supporting countries decreased compared to last year, there have been several resolutions on comprehensive nuclear disarmament submitted to the UN General Assembly this year besides the one submitted by Japan. The vote results were, for example, 143 supporting countries for the draft resolution submitted by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) group. The draft resolution on nuclear disarmament submitted by Myanmar was supported by 123 countries. The draft resolution submitted by the New Agenda Coalition (NAC) was supported by 138 countries. The draft resolution on a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons submitted by countries that support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was supported by 130 countries. Compared to these resolutions, I believe that the figure of 150 countries is certainly not low.