Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, June 9, 2023, 10:37 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Revision of Development Cooperation Charter
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I have an announcement today.
Today, June 9, the Cabinet decided on the revision of the Development Cooperation Charter. Since last September, we have been working on the new Charter, taking into account the recommendations from the advisory panel and inputs from a wide range of people, including through meetings held across Japan and the public comment procedure.
The international community is now at a historic turning point and facing compound crises. Under these circumstances, it has become ever more important for the international community to cooperate by transcending differences in values. At the same time, building a peaceful, stable, and prosperous international community under a free and open international order directly leads to Japan’s national interests. In this regard, development cooperation has an ever more vital role to play.
Furthermore, development cooperation based on transparent and fair rules is needed more than ever. In addition, collaboration with various actors, including private companies, and efforts toward mobilizing new funds have become more important.
To adapt to this situation and in light of the National Security Strategy formulated last December, the direction for future development cooperation is presented in the new Development Cooperation Charter.
Under the new Charter, Japan will make further effective and strategic use of development cooperation, expand Official Development Assistance (ODA) in various ways, and strive to enhance Japan’s diplomatic efforts.
That is all from me.
Revision of Development Cooperation Charter (Avoidance of the Use of Development Cooperation for Military Purposes)
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I have a question about the Development Cooperation Charter you just mentioned.
During the Charter review process, concerns were raised that ODA may be used for military purposes. Indeed, it has come to light that passenger ships provided by Japan were used for military purposes in Myanmar. What kind of measures has the Government taken to prevent such incidents from reoccurring? Additionally, if the revised Charter does not set out any new tangible measures, please tell us why.
Minister Hayashi:The new Development Cooperation Charter maintains the so-called non-military principles that state that Japan will avoid any use of development cooperation for military purposes or for aggravation of international conflicts. Before a project is implemented, Japan will continue to make sure with recipient countries that they will comply with the non-military principles. In addition, after a project is implemented, Japan will conduct thorough monitoring and assessment of the situation of recipient countries to further ensure the appropriate use of development cooperation.
Ukraine Dam Collapse
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I have a question about the flooding caused by the dam collapse in Kherson Oblast, southern Ukraine. Please tell us what the Government of Japan currently knows about the damages and what specific kinds of humanitarian assistance are under consideration.
Minister Hayashi:We are aware that the collapse of the dam at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Dnipro River has forced many residents in downstream areas to evacuate. While we are still assessing the extent of the damages, we are aware that, according to the United Nations, at least 16,000 people have lost their homes, and the supply of drinking water to thousands of people is under threat. We express our concerns over the impact of this dam collapse and once again convey our sympathy and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
Russia’s aggression has resulted in the loss of many civilian lives throughout Ukraine and caused damage to civilian facilities, including power plants. Such actions can never be justified, and Japan strongly condemns them.
Furthermore, at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting held on June 7, Japan and Western countries stated, among other matters, that this situation would not have occurred if Russia had not conducted its aggression, and once again strongly urged Russia to stop its aggression and withdraw from Ukraine. Japan will continue to work closely with the international community, including the G7.
Japan is making wholehearted efforts and arrangements to provide emergency humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible to the residents affected by the flooding.
Diplomatic Initiative in East Asia
Pan Orient News, Azhari:Thank you. I am Azhari, Pan Orient News in Japan.
The recent and unprecedented Chinese and Russian air and sea drills near Japan along with the new agreement on cooperation between the US and South Korea on nuclear arms and the recent missile launches by North Korea, plus the escalation war in Ukraine and the tragedies as you mentioned about the dam broken. All these show an increasing arm race in East Asia with the military escalation leading the way, and which illustrates a potential nuclear war or something similar around the corner.
Is there any chance for Japan to initiate a diplomatic approach in East Asia to ease the tension and about such seemingly imminent war? Thank you.
Minister Hayashi:Japan intends to cooperate with its ally and like-minded countries in strategically advancing our efforts to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” and contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region.
Furthermore, Japan’s National Security Strategy sets out that, in the face of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II, Japan will build a multilayered network among its ally and like-minded countries, expand it, and strengthen deterrence.
Moreover, in Asia, ASEAN plays an important role as a center of regional cooperation, and there are multi-layered regional cooperation frameworks, such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.
In coordination with those frameworks, Japan will continue to further enhance cooperation for the realization of FOIP and to uphold a free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region.
North Korea’s Launch of a “Satellite”
NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about North Korea’s launch of a military reconnaissance satellite. North Korea notified the Government of Japan and other organizations that it would launch a “satellite” by June 11, the day after tomorrow, stating that a second launch would be conducted as soon as possible. Could you please share with us your assessment of North Korea’s latest developments? Please also explain what the Government of Japan is currently considering with respect to bolstering its own sanctions against North Korea or measures against sanctions’ loopholes.
Minister Hayashi:North Korea’s series of actions, including the launch using ballistic missile technology on May 31, threaten the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community and are absolutely unacceptable.
Any such launch, even if referred to as a “satellite,” is a violation of relevant UNSC resolutions that prohibit North Korea from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.
We believe North Korea may engage in further provocations, including launching a “satellite.”
I would like to refrain from answering based on speculation about the responses Japan will be taking, including its own measures. We will be considering them in coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Furthermore, Japan will work to ensure that relevant UNSC resolutions are effective and that Japan’s measures are implemented thoroughly.
ALPS Treated Water (Reaction by the ROK)
Sankei Shimbun, Okada:I would like to ask about the discharge of treated water at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS). In late May, an ROK delegation came to Japan and made observations at the site. Prime Minister Han of the ROK has indicated a certain level of satisfaction with the results of the observations, stating that the delegation “received most of the materials it wanted” and the results were “quite satisfying.” While the ROK has repeatedly objected to the discharge into the sea, do you consider that the latest observations will deepen the ROK’s understanding of Japan’s argument? Please also share with us your perspective on the situation in China and island nations ahead of the summer discharge.
Minister Hayashi:Regarding the safety of ALPS treated water, Japan has been providing scientifically based information and explanations to the ROK in a courteous manner through various opportunities, such as director-general-level briefing sessions.
The delegation held a meeting in Tokyo with the Japanese side on May 22. From May 23 to 24, the delegation visited TEPCO’s FDNPS, observed facilities for the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, and received explanations and information from the Japanese side in a courteous manner. In addition, on May 25, a summary session was held in Tokyo, where the Japanese side provided explanations based on scientific evidence in a courteous manner in response to questions and other points raised by the ROK side. We hope that the latest observations will deepen the understanding of the ROK side.
The Government of Japan is continuing to provide scientifically based explanations in a highly transparent and sincere manner, such as by accepting this delegation of ROK experts, so as to foster a deeper understanding in the ROK of the safety of discharging ALPS treated water into the sea.
Furthermore, Japan will make every effort to provide scientifically based explanations in a highly transparent and sincere manner, not only to the ROK but also to the other countries you just mentioned.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Remarks Regarding Okinawa
Yomiuri Shimbun, Yoda: I have a question related to China and Okinawa. According to an article on the front page of the June 4 People’s Daily, an official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping made references to Okinawa, including, “When I was working in Fuzhou, I learned that there was the Ryukyu Pavilion and Ryukyuan graves in Fuzhou and that there were deep ties between Fuzhou and Ryukyu.” Please share with us your reaction to this report.
Minister Hayashi:We are aware of the report you just mentioned, but I would like to refrain from answering about individual reports in China.