Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, May 12, 2023, 9:32 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
G7 Hiroshima Summit (Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visit to Hiroshima)
NHK, Iwasawa:I have a question on the G7 Hiroshima Summit. Will you be visiting Hiroshima City coinciding with the summit that is due to start next week? If you visit Hiroshima City, will you attend the summit or related events, or have meetings with government dignitaries from the member countries, representatives of international organizations, or others?
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:If circumstances permit, I will also visit Hiroshima, and I plan to sit in on some of the events, including bilateral summit meetings.
I will continue to fully support the Prime Minister to ensure that meaningful discussions take place between the leaders, while taking into account the outcomes of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano, and other ministerial meetings.
G7 Hiroshima Summit (Discussion on Ukraine, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi:I also have a general question about the Hiroshima Summit. The summit will undoubtedly be held amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. How does Japan, as the Presidency, intend to lead the discussions to end the invasion? In addition, could you share with us the Government’s coordination about the leaders’ visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum or meeting with survivors of the atomic bombing, which have been sought by the locals to show the realities of the use of nuclear weapons?
Minister Hayashi:In order to bring Russia’s aggression against Ukraine to an end as soon as possible, it is important for the entire international community, including the so-called Global South, to raise a united voice for Russia to abide by the principles of the United Nations Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. We intend to share this view with the G7 members at the G7 Hiroshima Summit.
The detailed schedule of the G7 Hiroshima Summit is still under consideration, so I would like to refrain from mentioning the details.
I will say that it is important that Japan fully conveys the realities of the use of nuclear weapons as the starting point for all initiatives toward nuclear disarmament. With this in mind, we are carefully considering the schedule of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to ensure that it is meaningful, including a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum co-hosted by the EU and Sweden
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I have a question on the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum that you are attending this weekend. I believe you attended the previous first meeting virtually. Please tell us the reason you decided to attend in-person this time. Please also share with us what role Japan, as the G7 Presidency, hopes to play at this meeting.
Minister Hayashi:As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and other affairs make the international security environment more severe, there is a growing recognition that the security of Europe and that of the Indo-Pacific can no longer be discussed separately. In this context, this forum offers a critical opportunity to gather for foreign ministers of like-minded countries in Europe and the Indo-Pacific and representatives of participating countries.
It is extremely significant that Japan, the G7 Presidency, attends in-person to further enhance the cooperation among like-minded countries for maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law, with the shared view that any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force cannot be tolerated anywhere in the world.
Prime Minister Kishida on the Cover of U.S. Magazine Time
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi:My question is about Prime Minister Kishida’s interview published in the online edition of the U.S. magazine Time. Could you please tell us if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took any kind of action in response to the headline, as well as the reason and the background?
Minister Hayashi:Prime Minister Kishida was interviewed by Time magazine on April 28. I am aware that the cover and the associated article were published in the online edition of Time magazine dated May 9, U.S. time.
I would like to refrain from making individual comments on the article’s headline and so on. In the interview, Prime Minister Kishida explained the severe and complex security environment that Japan finds itself in as well as the position of the Government of Japan on a range of matters, including the reinforcement of Japan’s defense capabilities and our economic policy. Furthermore, in the conclusion, the article describes Prime Minister Kishida as a leader assuming a historic role in preventing divisions in the world. We view that the article overall reflects those explanations.
We pointed out that there is a discrepancy between the title and the content itself. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of our communication.
G7 Hiroshima Summit (Attendance of U.S. President Biden)
Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about U.S. President Biden’s attendance at the summit. In the United States, the negotiations on raising the debt ceiling are stalling, and President Biden has hinted that he may attend the summit virtually or not attend at all. Could you tell us about the current discussions between Japan and the United States? If the incumbent President of the United States were not to attend, what impact will it have on the summit’s message and significance?
Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the remarks made at U.S. President Biden’s press conference and other opportunities regarding the debt ceiling issue. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the internal affairs of another country. We have not received any notice or the like pertaining to this matter from the Government of the United States.
I am aware that, on April 25, the Government of the United States announced that President Biden will be attending the G7 Hiroshima Summit. As to whether it will make the message of the summit weaker, I would like to refrain from answering a hypothetical question.