Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, June 16, 2023, 10:59 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visit to the United Kingdom and France
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I have three announcements at the outset.
Firstly, I plan to visit London, the United Kingdom, and Paris, France, from June 20 to 24.
In London, I am scheduled to attend the Ukraine Recovery Conference co-hosted by the Governments of the UK and Ukraine. At the conference, the main focus is expected to be on encouraging private sector participation, which is essential for the recovery of Ukraine, as well as on necessary measures to realize this. Japan intends to contribute actively to the discussions to implement recovery support that is “unique to Japan.”
In addition, on this occasion, I have been invited by Chatham House to deliver a speech at the think tank. Under the title, “Japanese Diplomacy at a Crossroads in History and a New Chapter of Japan-UK Relations,” I will be speaking about the challenges that Japan and the UK should address together as global partners, as well as the direction of our cooperation.
In Paris, I am scheduled to attend the “Summit for a New Global Financing Pact” hosted by the Government of France. The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is in jeopardy as many developing countries face complex crises, with the financing gap for their achievement widening. Based on this awareness of the issue, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, intends to lead the discussions at this conference as well, with a view to achieving the SDGs by the entire international community.
(2) Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visit to Akita Prefecture (“Local to Global” Project)
Minister Hayashi:Secondly, on June 17, I will be visiting Akita Prefecture with members of the diplomatic corps in Japan for the fourth round of the “Local to Global” Project that aims to promote the attractiveness of regional areas of Japan worldwide. During the visit, I will be accompanied by Mr. TAKEI Shunsuke, State Minister for Foreign Affairs.
During this visit, I will visit a local sake brewery, a facility for folk performing arts heritage, and an offshore wind farm together with members of the diplomatic corps, and will exchange views with the local government and members of the local business community.
In particular, the promotion of clean energy, including offshore wind power generation, was discussed at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, and it is hoped that this visit will serve as a good opportunity for Ambassadors to Japan to understand Japan’s efforts for decarbonization.
In addition, I am scheduled to hold a roundtable dialogue with people including youths based in Akita who are actively contributing to a wide range of fields, and exchange views on Japan’s diplomacy and the promotion of the attractiveness of Akita, among other matters.
(3) Emergency Grant Aid for Humanitarian Assistance in the Sudan
Minister Hayashi:Thirdly, today, the Government of Japan decided to extend USD 5 million as Emergency Grant Aid for humanitarian assistance in the Sudan.
In response to the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April, the Government of Japan decided immediately to provide and extend assistance through international organizations to neighboring countries of the Sudan facing an influx of refugees and others. In response also to the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Sudan caused by the ongoing lack of improvement in the security situation, the Government of Japan will implement additional assistance through international organizations in such areas as food, non-food items, health and medical care.
A Grant Aid of approximately USD 1.46 million to be implemented through Japanese NGOs via the Japan Platform in the Sudan and Chad was also decided.
With regard to the situation in the Sudan, at the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May, the G7 leaders concurred to work toward realizing a ceasefire as early as possible. The Government of Japan intends to continue to extend the necessary assistance to this end.
That is all from me.
Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Attendance at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi:I would like to ask about the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London that was just mentioned in your opening remarks. I understand that private sector participation will be one of the major agenda items of this conference. Could you please tell us, if you know, the size and the industries of the companies that will be attending this conference from Japan? Additionally, a “Level 4 Evacuate and Avoid all travel” Travel Advice and Warning has been issued for all of Ukraine. Please tell us what measures the Government is considering to ensure the safety of companies engaged in recovery support and to compensate companies in the event of human or material damages.
Minister Hayashi:I am aware that Japanese companies are also scheduled to be attending the conference. However, as Japan is not the host country and as the host countries, the UK and Ukraine, decide on which companies to invite, I would like to refrain from giving out the names of individual companies.
Travel Advice and Warnings are issued for countries and regions where particular caution is considered necessary when traveling to or staying there, based on a comprehensive assessment of the security situation that takes into account the threats to the lives and physical well-being of Japanese nationals. Currently, a Level 4 “Evacuate and Avoid all travel” Travel Advice and Warning remains in effect for all of Ukraine.
While it is true that trade with and investment in Ukraine during wartime pose high risks for private companies, the need to promote the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine is widely shared among the international community, including the G7.
The Government is fully aware of such risks. We intend to work in cooperation with the Ukraine side as well in exploring ways to facilitate necessary company activities even in these challenging circumstances, including through leveraging IT and providing war insurance, giving top priority to the safety of Japanese nationals.
Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visit to Akita Prefecture (Observation of Offshore Wind Farm)
NHK, Iwasawa:I have a question related to your opening remark regarding your visit to Akita. Through this visit, ambassadors from emerging and developing countries known as the “Global South” will observe offshore wind farms, which is considered one of the measures to address climate change. What are your thoughts on this objective?
Minister Hayashi:Based on arrangements made in light of local requests and other factors, ambassadors to Japan from Paraguay, Mexico, South Africa, Liberia, Norway, Bulgaria, Laos, Sri Lanka, and India are scheduled to accompany me on this visit to Akita.
At the recent G7 Summit, the G7 leaders confirmed to contribute to expanding renewable energy globally and bringing down costs by increasing offshore wind capacity by 2030. Furthermore, the G7 leaders issued the standalone leaders’ statement, the “Clean Energy Economy Action Plan,” which states that the G7 will deepen its cooperation with and support for partners around the world in view of low- and middle-income countries.
I expect that the scheduled visit to the offshore wind farm will provide a good opportunity for us to disseminate Japan’s efforts based on these outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to the participating diplomatic corps, including so-called Global South countries, and for those countries to use it as a reference for their own efforts on the issue. Also, I expect it will serve as an opportunity to promote efforts to address climate change, which is an urgent common issue for all mankind.
ALPS Treated Water
Dong-a Ilbo, Lee:My question is regarding the treated water in Fukushima. It has been reported that the IAEA Director General will visit Japan next month and meet with Prime Minister Kishida. Could you tell us about the arrangements being made for the dates and schedule? In addition, a delegation from the Republic of Korea (ROK) recently visited the site. What arrangements will Japan make for communicating about the discharge of treated water to the ROK and other neighboring countries?
Minister Hayashi:We are aware of the report you just mentioned.
In April, I held a video conference with IAEA Director General Grossi. I expressed my gratitude for the IAEA’s activities, such as safety and regulatory reviews on ALPS treated water, and conveyed that Japan will continue to take steps in a sincere and transparent manner in handling ALPS treated water. As of now, nothing has been decided with regard to the Director General’s visit to Japan.
For the ROK, 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. Amidst these circumstances, following the outcome of the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting on May 7, a delegation of Korean experts visited TEPCO’s FDNPS in May to observe facilities related to the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea. We hope that the latest observations will deepen the understanding of the ROK side.
Through hosting the delegation and other opportunities, the Government of Japan will continue to provide scientifically based, sincere explanations in a highly transparent manner, and continue to make efforts to further deepen the understanding of the ROK side concerning the safety of discharging ALPS treated water into the sea.
Indictment of a Hong Student by Hong Kong Authorities
Kyodo News, Katsurada: I have a question about the regulation of freedom of speech in Hong Kong. Yesterday, June 15, Hong Kong authorities indicted a Hong Kong woman, who was studying in Japan and temporarily returned to Hong Kong, for charges related to posting content about Hong Kong independence and other matters on social media. It is believed that the charges cover content she posted in Japan, suggesting that Hong Kong authorities may be severely cracking down even on freedom of speech outside of Hong Kong, including Japan. Please share with us the reaction of the Government of Japan.
Minister Hayashi:We are aware of the report you mentioned.
Regarding the situation in Hong Kong, the national security law was enacted in June 2020, and there have been various developments since then, including arrests of pro-democracy figures. In addition, the provisions of the Hong Kong Basic Law regarding the electoral system in Hong Kong were amended in March 2021. Such developments have undermined confidence in the “One Country Two System” framework, and inevitably, Japan’s grave concern is intensifying.
Japan has been working in close cooperation with the international community in calling on China and the Hong Kong authorities at a variety of levels, including the foreign minister level, to protect freedom of speech and the press stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law, and we will continue our efforts.