Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 12:23 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Maritime Research Within Japan’s EEZ by the Republic of Korea (ROK) Research Vessel
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: An ROK research vessel conducted maritime research within Japan’s EEZ near Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture, despite protests from the Japanese side. This action seems to dampen the expectations that Japan-ROK relations will improve with the inauguration of the new administration. Please tell us your opinion.
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: From the evening of May 28 to 30, a patrol vessel of the Japan Coast Guard that was on patrol confirmed that the “Hae Yang 2000” research vessel belonging to a ROK national maritime research organization was navigating in Japan’s EEZ north of Takeshima while drawing in a wire-like object.
In response to this, Japan lodged a strong protest that it is unacceptable for the ROK to repeatedly implement maritime scientific research without the prior consent of Japan in Japan’s EEZ, and should be stopped immediately.
The Government of Japan will continue to appropriately respond in accordance with international law and related domestic laws under our determination to resolutely defend Japan’s territorial land, territorial sea, and airspace.
Kyodo News, Matsuura: In relation to this, I believe that the action of the ROK research vessel is damaging the Japan-ROK relationship of mutual trust. When you visited Seoul in the ROK, you indicated that you would like to have a meeting with the Foreign Minister of the ROK in Japan. Is there any change in your view that this kind of momentum for dialogue between Japan and the ROK should be maintained?
Minister Hayashi: In this case, we have responded based on our communication with the ROK side and onsite information-gathering.
In regard to our future response, as I stated earlier, the Government of Japan will continue to appropriately respond in accordance with international law and related domestic laws under our determination to resolutely defend Japan’s territorial land, territorial sea, and airspace.
Strengthening Relations with the Middle East
Pan Orient News, Azhari: Japan has received very favorable impression by the Middle East people in the MOFA survey, foreign affairs survey announced last week. What was the reason for making that survey and the timing of it and how could that survey be translated into more investment, economic, technical cooperation and tourism with that part of the world when we see that the Foreign Ministry is warning Japanese people and companies against travelling to most middle east and Arab countries based on what some call as stereotype image of danger zone there.
Minister Hayashi: We conduct the Opinion Poll on Japan surveys to observe the general impression of Japan and understanding of Japan’s foreign policy overseas. It is conducted every year to use as reference for the formulation of foreign policy and other purposes.
The Opinion Poll on Japan in FY2021 was conducted from December 2021 to February 2022.
In terms of Overseas Travel Safety Information, including that for the Middle East, which you just mentioned, it is issued following comprehensive assessments on the political, social and the security situation in the country.
In any case, the Government of Japan has been actively developing diplomatic efforts to ease the security tensions and stabilize the situation in the region by leveraging the good relations Japan has built up with various Middle Eastern countries. We would like to connect such efforts to strengthening relations between Japan and the countries of the Middle East and Africa, including for investment, economic and technical cooperation as well as tourism, which you have just mentioned.
Strengthening Relations with Pacific Island Countries
Japan Times, Fee: The new administration of Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is stating that it has a plan to deepen engagement with various South Pacific islands and contribute to climate change countermeasures in the region. Does Japan have a similar plan to increase its presence in the region? If so, please tell us more about the plan, and if climate change countermeasures are included.
Minister Hayashi: Through the process of the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM), which we have been hosting for over 20 years, Japan has been cooperating with Pacific Island countries to further deepen our long-standing friendly relations.
During PALM9 held last year, urgent matters including climate change countermeasures were identified as the five priority areas, and actions to be taken by Japan and Pacific island countries were compiled in the “Joint Action Plan,”. I also visited Fiji and Palau in early May and had meaningful exchanges of views on such efforts by Japan.
In regard to the issue of climate change, we recognize that it is a particularly important field, as the Pacific Island countries have described it as the “single largest threat”. In cooperation with Pacific Island countries, Japan would like to take leadership in the international arena toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, focusing on mitigation and adaptation. At the same time, we would like to contribute to addressing climate change and develop disaster-resilient infrastructure in cooperation with like-minded countries.
Furthermore, Japan has decided to newly establish the Embassy of Japan in Kiribati. We will continue to steadily advance Japan’s Pacific Bond (KIZUNA) Policy and strengthen cooperation with Pacific Island countries toward achieving a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”