Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2023, 2:39 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

G7 Hiroshima Summit (Arrangements for President Zelenskyy’s Visit to Japan)

NHK, Iwasawa:I would like to ask about the G7 Hiroshima Summit. On the very day that he arrived in Japan, the Government announced, that President Zelenskyy of Ukraine would be attending the summit in person. Please explain in detail what led to the change from virtual to in-person attendance.

Please also tell us what preparations the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) made in the lead-up to hosting President Zelenskyy.

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:When Prime Minister Kishida visited Ukraine in March, he extended an invitation to President Zelenskyy to participate in the G7 Hiroshima Summit virtually since the situation in Ukraine would be one of the main agenda items, and President Zelenskyy gladly accepted the invitation.

Thereafter, President Zelenskyy expressed a strong desire to attend the summit in person. The Government of Japan carefully considered the entire agenda and schedule of the summit, and it was decided that President Zelenskyy would visit Japan and attend the summit in person on the final day.

We coordinated in advance with the other G7 members and invited countries. As this relates to diplomatic communications, I would like to refrain from providing further details.

Asahi Shimbun, Uechi:I have a related question. President Zelenskyy’s in-person attendance left an impact on the summit. Some say that it was very significant to have the leaders from the G7 members and a country at war gather in Hiroshima, while others have expressed the view that announcements by countries on providing F-16 fighters and training support to Ukraine weakened the messages of “a world without nuclear weapons” and Hiroshima as “a place praying for peace.” What is your reaction to these views? Do you think it was “a summit leading toward an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation” as Prime Minister Kishida had committed to?

Minister Hayashi:The G7 leaders reaffirmed their unwavering unity at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, which was held at a time when the international community is at a historic turning point.

To realize an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation, the G7 leaders confirmed to demonstrate active and concrete contributions, setting out two pillars, namely, upholding the free and open international order based on the rule of law and strengthening outreach with international partners beyond the G7, including the so-called “Global South.”

In addition, at the Hiroshima Summit, the G7 leaders, along with the leaders of eight invited countries and seven invited international organizations, discussed challenges facing the international community, including food, development, health, climate change and energy, and the environment, and confirmed to address these challenges in cooperation with a broad range of partners beyond the G7. The leaders also shared views, including on concrete actions that we should be taking.

For example, with regard to food, an urgent issue for the international community, the G7 and invited countries issued the “Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security.” The leaders concurred to set forth concrete actions and make joint efforts to respond to the global food crisis and build resilient, sustainable and inclusive agriculture and food systems.

The G7 will continue to respond carefully to the various needs of the Global South, and make active and concrete contributions through a people-centered approach. In addition, we intend to strengthen our relationship with the Global South through these efforts and build on the outcomes of the Hiroshima Summit leading up to the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September, which will be attended by many of the countries that were invited to the G7 Summit.

G7 Hiroshima Summit (Leaders’ Communiqué and China)

Sankei Shimbun, Hiroike: I have a question about the section of the G7 Summit Leaders’ Communiqué on the G7’s policy toward China. The Communiqué contains many phrases that have been used by the Government of Japan, including opposing any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion and building constructive and stable relations. Could you please tell us how MOFA went about compiling this section on China? Additionally, please share with us your assessment of this section.

Minister Hayashi:During the summit, Prime Minister Kishida stated that it was important for the G7 to convey our common concerns directly to China and call on China to take action as a responsible member of the international community, while at the same time cooperating with and building constructive and stable relations with China through dialogue regarding global challenges, including climate change, and in areas of common interest. This view was shared by the G7 leaders.

In the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué, the leaders confirmed that they stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China, recognizing the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.

Furthermore, the Leaders’ Communiqué mentions sustainable economic relations with China, noting that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying, not decoupling or turning inwards.

Additionally, it calls on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and encourages China to support a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace based on the principles and purposes of the United Nations (UN) Charter through its direct dialogue with Ukraine.

The Government will continue to work closely with the G7 members while taking the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué into account.

The Government of Japan’s Candidature for the United Nations Security Council 2032–2033

Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe:My question is about the UN Security Council. At this morning’s press conference, the Chief Cabinet Secretary explained that the Government of Japan has started the candidature registration process for the 2032–2033 non-permanent membership. Even if elected, Japan will not be a Security Council member for some time after its current term ends. To date, Japan has served as a Security Council member at an interval of around three to six years, so the situation appears to be quite different this time. Could you please explain the reasons behind this decision? For example, did other leading countries’ earlier announcement of their candidatures for the same Asia-Pacific category have an impact on the Government’s decision? Please share with us your thoughts.

Minister Hayashi:Japan is currently serving its 12th term on the UN Security Council, which is more than any other UN Member State. During both our current term and beyond, we will continue to contribute to the Security Council’s discussions in a variety of ways, aiming to maintain international peace and security and strengthen the international order based on the rule of law.

In any case, Japan will continue its close communication and careful dialogue with other Member States to ensure that the Security Council fulfills its essential role.

At the same time, we will continue to lead the discussions on Security Council reform and seek to strengthen the functions of the UN as a whole.

G7 Hiroshima Summit (G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament)

Kyodo News, Katsurada: If I may come back to the summit, the Prime Minister stated that the Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, which was unveiled during the G7 Hiroshima Summit, was of “historic significance.” The document seems to place particular emphasis on the disclosure of data on nuclear forces. Could you please tell us how MOFA, as the diplomatic authority, intends to pursue nuclear disarmament based on the Hiroshima Vision?

Minister Hayashi: We consider the G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament a powerful, historic document that demonstrates the G7 leaders’ determination and the actions we should be taking to achieve the “ideal” of a world without nuclear weapons.

Notably, it welcomes the “Hiroshima Action Plan” proposed by Prime Minister Kishida last year, and mentions the components of the “Hiroshima Action Plan,” including the importance of continuing the record of non-use of nuclear weapons, providing a significant driving force for taking actions under the plan.

As for new concrete measures for implementing the “Hiroshima Action Plan,” the leaders agreed and confirmed to call for the following concrete measures related to transparency, which constitutes the foundation of future nuclear disarmament:

  • Disclosure of objective data on nuclear forces;
  • Interactive discussion with non-nuclear-weapon states and civil society participants on the national implementation reports submitted by nuclear-weapon states to the NPT Review Conference; and
  • Reporting on civil plutonium to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Building upon the G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, the Government will continue its efforts to engage more nuclear-weapon states and press forward with realistic and practical initiatives, including the “Hiroshima Action Plan.”

Toward a Ceasefire in the War in Ukraine

Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto:The U.S. thinktank, the Eisenhower Media Network, issued an open letter titled, “The U.S. Should Be a Force for Peace in the World,” which was also published as an advertisement in the New York Times.

This letter states that the eastward expansion of NATO triggered the Ukraine conflict, and urges President Biden and the U.S. Congress to use their power to end military escalation and achieve an immediate ceasefire through diplomacy. Mr. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who announced his candidacy for President, has expressed strong empathy with this letter. Depending on the election results, the U.S. foreign policy may be reversed. Does the Government of Japan have a Plan B for an immediate ceasefire?

Minister Hayashi:Even now, after more than a year since Russia began its aggression against Ukraine, Russia is continuing to attack Ukraine while President Putin states that the annexed parts of Ukraine are not up for negotiation. Russia has shown no signs of making any compromises for peace.

Ukraine is fighting to protect its country. It is for the Ukrainian people to decide how and when to engage in negotiations that will determine the future of Ukraine.

At the recent G7 Hiroshima Summit, the G7 leaders were more united than ever and reconfirmed that the G7 would strongly support Ukraine in all aspects and continue severe sanctions against Russia. As the G7 Presidency, Japan will respond to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in cooperation with like-minded countries, including the G7, to bring just and lasting peace to Ukraine as quickly as possible.

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