Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Thursday, August 25, 2022, 12:52 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, I am traveling to Tunisia to attend the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Kishida.

Africa, which is supported by its young population, is a continent where dynamic growth can be expected. On the other hand, there is an urgent need to respond to the challenges that hinder Africa’s great progress, such as soaring food and energy prices resulting from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, early recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfair and opaque development finance. Amidst this situation, cooperation between Japan and Africa through the TICAD process, as well as with the international community, has become more important than ever.

Amidst this situation, through TICAD 8, Japan, as a “partner growing together with Africa” will work to overcome Africa’s challenges. We hope that this will lead to further growth for both Japan and Africa.

Prime Minister Kishida will not be able to attend in person this time, but he plans to participate in as many events as possible online and through other means. As the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Kishida, I would like to deliver the Prime Minister’s message directly to various African leaders through bilateral meetings and other occasions in Tunisia.

By taking this opportunity, I plan to hold meetings with government dignitaries from Tunisia, the venue for TICAD 8, as well as bilateral events with Tunisia.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter: Regarding the situation in Ukraine, there are countries in Africa that abstained from the resolution to condemn Russia in the United Nations. Some African countries believe that the current food crisis is due to sanctions against Russia. What do you think is the cause of this gap between Africa and the West, including Japan? Furthermore, how do you intend to respond to this through this TICAD?

Minister Hayashi: Regarding the current rising food prices, the sanctions against Russia do not target food, so the fundamental reason for the rising food prices around the world is, needless to say Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. What is important is to provide careful explanation of this fact to various countries, including countries that are affected by the rising food prices. I will also firmly explain this at TICAD. In addition, as our response to the global food crisis, Japan has already announced to implement a total of $200 million in support for mainly Ukraine, Africa and the Middle East, which are facing food shortages. Japan will make sure to provide precise information on the efforts we have made, including our track record of support, and deepen cooperation with various African countries.

Reporter: Japan has been promoting investment in Africa, but investment has been sluggish. What do you think are the challenges to promoting investment? On the other hand, there are development finance issues by China and others. How do you intend to resolve this?

Minister Hayashi: This is related to the investment decisions of private companies, and it is entirely up to the independent management decisions of individual companies. It has been pointed out that there are various causes for the generally sluggish investment by Japan in Africa, including the COVID-19 pandemic causing global disruption of distributions and the ensuing cost increases, as well as withdrawal of companies due to sluggish resource prices and decreasing profits. Given this situation, the Government of Japan has been making efforts such as the conclusion of investment agreements by holding meetings of the Japan Business Council for Africa (JBCA) and the Bilateral Committee on the Improvement of the Business Environment since TICAD 7 in order to overcome the opacity from a business perspective and help private companies take their first step in doing business in Africa. I believe that the investment environment is steadily improving. In addition, while there is a major need for capital in Africa, I recognize that we need to urgently respond to development finance that does not follow international rules and standards, including unfair and opaque lending, which you asked about. I would like to have firm discussions at TICAD 8 about the importance of strengthening the free and open international economic system.

Back to Press Conferences