Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 1:24 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Humanitarian Assistance to the People of Myanmar Affected by the Coup D'état
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have one announcement
On February 1, two years after the coup d'état in 2021, the Myanmar military announced a further extension of the declaration of a state of emergency. This is a matter of serious concern. In light of the recent situation in Myanmar, including this extension, Japan’s policy is to not carry out new ODA projects with the military-led regime. On the other hand, as humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar remains a matter of urgency, Japan will continue to actively provide humanitarian assistance through international organizations and NGOs that directly reaches the people of Myanmar.
Since the coup d'éta, the humanitarian situation in Myanmar has continued to deteriorate further. According to the Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar announced by the United Nations on January 25, 17.6 million people, including internally displaced persons, are in need of humanitarian assistance. In response to this situation in Myanmar, the Government of Japan has decided to provide additional humanitarian assistance totaling approximately US$60.3 million.
Specifically, through international organizations such as UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, and AHA Centre, the Government of Japan will provide food, medical items, and shelters as well as water and sanitation infrastructure, nutrition improvement, medical services, access to education, and measures to combat illegal drugs.
The Government of Japan will continue to actively provide various forms of assistance, while urging the Myanmar side to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access. The Government will continue to firmly stand with the people of Myanmar who are facing hardships.
That is all from me.
Attendance at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Kyodo News, Ueda: I would like to ask about the G20. It is anticipated that you will not attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that will be held in India over two days from March 1, as you will attend the Diet Budget Committee meeting. Some people have reacted that it deals a heavy blow to diplomacy for the country holding the G7 Presidency to be absent from the G20 meeting, which will be an opportunity to confirm unity for Ukraine. Please tell us your thoughts on this.
In addition, please tell us the outlook on your attendance at the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in conjunction with the G20 meeting.
Minister Hayashi: We have not decided on the attendee from the Government of Japan to the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which you pointed out, though we are currently making final arrangements while taking into account various circumstances.
In any case, during the upcoming G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Japan will firmly make its statements as the G7 Presidency.
In addition, with regard to the Quad, as announced by the United States, arrangements have been made to hold the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi on March 3.
The Quad’s initiatives are to cooperate as four countries that share fundamental values and to promote various forms of practical collaboration in wide-ranging fields towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Japan will firmly participate in the Quad’s discussions.
We are currently making arrangements for how Japan will participate in the meeting.
Sanctions against Russia
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about the sanctions against Russia. During the Cabinet meeting this morning, I believe that there was agreement on the new sanctions against Russia recently announced by Prime Minister Kishida. Even during a recent television program, you stated that preventing circumvention of sanctions against Russia…
Minister Hayashi: Preventing what?
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I believe that you stated that it is important to prevent any attempts to circumvent sanctions. Please tell us your thoughts on how to raise effectiveness in terms of closing loopholes.
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from speculating about Japan’s future response to sanctions against third-countries. However, the recent G7 Leaders’ Statement calls on third-countries to cease providing material support to Russia. Japan will continue to gather and analyze relevant information, and appropriately respond in close cooperation with relevant countries including the G7.
Significance of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
Mainichi Shimbun, Takeuchi: I would like to ask question in relation to the G20 from earlier. During the recent television program, you stated that you would work in cooperation with developing and emerging countries known as the Global South while working with India, the G20 Presidency, in relation to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Please tell us again your thoughts on the significance of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Minister Hayashi: You asked about the significance of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I, of course believe that it is a very important opportunity for the G20 foreign ministers to gather to hold various discussions. I believe it is significant for the G20, the premier forum for international economic cooperation, to firmly hold such discussions on matters such as food, development, climate change, energy, and health.