Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, May 16, 2023, 11:26 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Emergency Grant Aid for Syria, Neighboring Countries of Sudan, and the Great Lakes Region
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have one announcement.
Today, the Government of Japan decided to extend additional humanitarian assistance totaling approximately USD 14.3 million in response to the damages caused in Syria by the earthquake, as well as assistance totaling USD 5.5 million as Emergency Grant Aid for refugees and returnees in the neighboring countries of Sudan and Emergency Grant Aid for refugees in the Great Lakes region.
In Syria, many of the people affected by the earthquake that occurred in February still need assistance. In light of this, the Government of Japan will extend assistance totaling approximately USD 14.3 million through international organizations in areas such as non-food items, food, water and sanitation, and health and medical care.
In addition, in the neighboring countries of Sudan, the Government of Japan will implement assistance worth USD 3.5 million in total through international organizations in the areas of shelter, essential goods, food and protection in response to the influx of a large number of refugees and returnees into Egypt, Chad, and South Sudan due to the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that started in April. We will also consider assistance for people in Sudan while monitoring the situation.
Furthermore, in the Great Lakes region, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated due to the increase of armed groups’ activities in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since around February 2022. As a result, a large number of refugees have been flowing into Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Considering this situation, the Government of Japan will provide health, nutrition, water, sanitation, shelter, and essential goods through a total USD 2 million Emergency Grant Aid to international organizations.
This assistance in Africa is in line with the efforts to stabilize the region unveiled at the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) last year, which I attended as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio.
The Government of Japan will continue to support the people of these regions.
That is all from me.
Reopening of the Embassy of Japan in Syria
Pan Orient News, Azhari:Thank you, thank you. My name is Azhari, Pan Orient, Arab in Japan. My question is about Syria. The Arab league invited Syria again to join in the Arab league after about eleven years of being out of it. So is that going to have an impact on Japan through reopening of the Embassy in Syria and how to describe the relations between both countries? Thank you.
Minister Hayashi: I am aware that the Arab League Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on May 7, and that a resolution was passed regarding the reinstatement of Syria’s membership, which had been suspended since 2011. Japan will be closely following the impact of this development on issues including improvement of the political process and humanitarian situation in Syria.
At this point in time, there are no plans to resume our embassy operations in Damascus.
G7 Hiroshima Summit (Final Arrangements for the Schedule of the Visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Other Sites)
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi:The G7 Hiroshima Summit will begin in three days. I believe arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Kishida to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with other leaders on the first day. What are the final arrangements with regard to the route for visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the durations of stay?
Minister Hayashi:We are currently making the final arrangements for the detailed schedule of the G7 Hiroshima Summit and other related events, as well as the content and format of the outcome documents that will be issued. I would like to refrain from disclosing 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. From this perspective, we will be carefully considering until the very end to ensure that the entire summit is meaningful.
Legislation for the Promotion of LGBT Understanding
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I would like to ask about the legislation for the promotion of LGBT understanding. The Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP) plans to submit the legislation to the Diet today, before the G7 Summit, following internal party procedures. The wording of the bill drafted by a cross-party group has been revised, such as “there should be no unfair discrimination” and “gender identity.” Could you please share your opinion on whether this legislation meets international standards and befits the G7 Presidency? Additionally, ambassadors and others from embassies in Japan have made a number of comments on this matter. If the Government has received any recommendations or opinions from other countries, could you please tell us about them?
Minister Hayashi:We are aware that the legislation for the promotion of LGBT understanding is being discussed as lawmaker-initiated legislation, and that preparations are underway for its submission. As the Prime Minister has stated, the Government will be closely monitoring the situation.
As regards our communication with other countries, I would like to refrain from disclosing the details. The Government, in any case, will continue to listen to the voices of the people and fully address the matter to realize a society in which diversity is respected and everyone values each other’s human rights and dignity and can enjoy vibrant lives.
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I have a related question. Regarding video messages from foreign ambassadors and others in Japan concerning the development of the LGBT legislation, Mr. WADA Masamune, House of Councillors member from the LDP, posted on Twitter that, “If the U.S. Ambassador wants to use his position in any way to influence Japan, we will take action to send him back to his country,” referring to the tweet made by the U.S. Ambassador. Does the Government consider the recent actions by ambassadors and others in Japan as interference in Japan’s domestic affairs?
Minister Hayashi:While I am aware that video messages by 15 foreign embassies in Japan, including the United States, were circulated on May 12, I would like to refrain from commenting on each message.
In any case, the Government will continue to listen to the voices of the people and address the matter to realize a society in which diversity is respected and where everyone values each other’s human rights and dignity and can enjoy vibrant lives.