Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 7:06 p.m. United States

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I suppose there are many of you to whom I should say, “Good morning.” For the first time in two years, I am visiting New York during the High Level Week of the United Nations General Assembly, for two days starting today. Almost all of the meetings during the High Level Week last year were held online. This year, some of the meetings are being held in-person, and many foreign ministers have gathered in New York. Taking this opportunity, I plan to attend various multilateral and bilateral meetings and hold discussions regarding urgent matters faced by the international community.

Today is the first day. Firstly, because Japan is the chair country this year, I served as the chair of the Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G4 Countries on UN Security Council Reform. Together with the foreign ministers of Brazil, Germany, and India, I exchanged views regarding collective efforts to bring about concrete progress on UN Security Council reform, and we reaffirmed our solidarity and resolve as the G4. The ministers also expressed support to the President of the General Assembly and the Common African Position, and agreed to cooperate toward the early commencement of the text-based negotiations while cooperating with relevant countries, including African countries.

The G20 Foreign Ministers’ Extraordinary Meeting on Afghanistan was held after the G4 meeting, and I attended the meeting. It is important for the international community to ensure safe departures of those who wish to leave Afghanistan, respond to the serious humanitarian crisis, and prevent Afghanistan from again turning into a “hotbed of terrorism.” We confirmed the importance of sending a unified message so that the Taliban does not take steps in the wrong direction. The Government of Japan will continue to exert all efforts for Japanese nationals, local staff members, and other such people to safely and swiftly leave Afghanistan.

After the G4 meeting and the G20 meeting, I held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Truss of the United Kingdom, who assumed her new position of Foreign Secretary. We have a trusting working relationship from our negotiations on the Japan-U.K. Economic Partnership Agreement when she was in charge of trade issues. This was my first in-person meeting with her since she became Foreign Secretary. We confirmed that we would closely cooperate toward further strengthening Japan-U.K. relations in security, economy, and other fields. We also exchanged views regarding regional affairs including the East China Sea, the South China Sea, North Korea, and the situation in Afghanistan. In addition, the United Kingdom holds the G7 Presidency this year. We agreed to further advance cooperation through the G7, and confirmed further cooperation in responding to the issue of climate change and novel coronavirus countermeasures.

Following my meeting with Foreign Secretary Truss, my schedule was very full. I held a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Secretary of State Blinken. We agreed to continue to strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance. We also confirmed that we would deepen cooperation among allies and like-minded countries through various frameworks, including Japan-U.S. as well as Japan, the United States, Australia, and India, in order to achieve a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” taking into account the trilateral security partnership among Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS) which was announced last week. Furthermore, we exchanged views regarding Afghanistan and China. With regard to North Korea, we exchanged views on their recent nuclear and missile activities including the recent ballistic missile launches, and reaffirmed that Japan and the United States will closely cooperate to respond to North Korea, including the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

After that, the Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in the same hotel, following our last meeting in May. I believe it was an extremely timely exchange of views since it was held immediately after North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launches. I stated that North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile activities, including the latest ballistic missile launches, pose a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community. I also stated that Japan will further advance collaboration with the United States and the ROK towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea in terms of reinforcing diplomatic efforts, fully implementing United Nations Security Council resolutions and strengthening regional deterrence. The three countries agreed on such recognition. I also asked for continued understanding and cooperation from the two Ministers on the abductions issue, and gained their support. We also exchanged views regarding regional affairs including Myanmar and China, and efforts to realize a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Furthermore, we discussed global issues such as climate change, and concurred that Japan, the United States, and the ROK will further advance our collaboration and cooperation.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter:You have engaged in a series of meetings including the Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Japan’s prime minister will change next month. Was there any instance where you provided an explanation on Japan’s political situation?

Minister Motegi:I actually did not hold any discussions on Japan’s domestic political situation. As I have stated before, there were many issues that needed to be discussed today, including bilateral issues and regional affairs such as North Korea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, Afghanistan, and Myanmar, as well as climate change and novel coronavirus countermeasures. There were various meetings and there were also time constraints, so the discussion did not cover Japan’s domestic situation.

Reporter: I would like to change the subject to the TPP. China just requested to join last week, and now Taiwan has announced that it has applied to join. Could you tell us your reaction to this?

Minister Motegi:Taiwan is our extremely important partner with close economic ties to Japan with which we share fundamental values of freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law. I believe Taiwan has publicly made various efforts toward applying to join the TPP for some time now. Japan would like to firstly welcome that Taiwan has submitted its application to join.

Additionally, as I have stated until now, the TPP11 is a high-level agreement in terms of market access and rules. Japan believes that careful assessment is needed on whether countries and economies such as Taiwan that have submitted applications to join are prepared to completely fulfil the TPP11’s high-level agreement.

In terms of how to handle economies that have submitted applications to join, there needs to be consultations among other participating countries. Japan will respond based also on a strategic perspective and the understanding of our people.

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