Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Saturday, June 17, 2023, 3:55 p.m. ANA Crowne Plaza Akita
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:Today, I am here in Akita for the fourth round of the “Local to Global” Project that showcases Japan’s regional attractions to the world.
In the morning, nine ambassadors to Japan and I observed a sake production process and tried lifting pole lanterns used in the Akita Kanto Festival, which is one of the leading festivals in the Tohoku region. These experiences made me realize once again the charms of Akita steeped in history. Later, we exchanged candid views on disseminating information about regional attractions and on Japan’s foreign policy together with the governor of Akita Prefecture, the deputy mayor of Akita City, and local business representatives.
In the afternoon, we visited the Akita Offshore Wind Farm. Offshore wind power is key to decarbonization, as was also discussed at last month’s G7 Hiroshima Summit. I believe this visit deepened the understanding of the ambassadors on Japan’s efforts in this field. I also expect this visit to the offshore wind farm will serve as a reference for the participating countries’ future efforts in this field, and by extension, contribute to tackling global climate change.
In addition, we just held a round-table dialogue with people in Akita who are active in diverse fields, including young people. We held a meaningful exchange of views on matters such as increasing inbound tourism, selling local products overseas, and communicating local culture. I myself was truly inspired listening to the efforts of everyone working hard to make the attractiveness of Akita known to the world as well as address regional and global challenges.
Based on the opinions and insights shared by the local people throughout this visit, I intend to take the lead in showcasing Japan’s regional attractions to the world and contribute to stimulating inbound tourism and further vitalizing the regions.
Reporter:Ambassadors from emerging and developing countries known as the “Global South” were among those participating today and visiting Japan’s offshore wind farm. Can you please tell us how you think this visit will help address global climate change? Please also tell us how Japan will support the Global South in the field of climate change.
Minister Hayashi:Climate change, or more aptly called “climate crisis,” is an issue common to all humankind that cannot be postponed. As the G7 cannot address this alone by any means, it is essential that the international community as a whole, including countries known as the “Global South,” work together in tackling this issue.
At the recent G7 Hiroshima Summit, the G7 was joined by invited countries and international organizations and discussed climate change, and the G7 affirmed the need to engage in global decarbonization efforts in collaboration with countries around the world, including Asia.
Today, many ambassadors from the countries of the so-called Global South also participated. I expect that getting a close look at Japan’s offshore wind facilities will serve as a reference for further advancing decarbonization efforts in the respective countries, and by extension, contribute to tackling global climate change.
In advancing global decarbonization, countries must pursue the common goal of net zero in various pathways that leverage all technologies and energy sources in accordance with each country’s situation. Based on the circumstances of each country, including the so-called Global South, Japan will support their energy transitions without compromising their economic growth through such initiatives as the Just Energy Transition Partnership and the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC) concept.
Reporter:A U.S.-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Beijing tomorrow. They are expected to discuss the Taiwan Strait, Ukraine, and other issues. What aspects of this discussion is Japan focusing on? In addition, I believe you will be visiting London and Paris next week. What are your thoughts on the need for a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?
Minister Hayashi:We are aware that both the Governments of the United States and China announced that U.S. Secretary of State Blinken will be visiting China from June 18 to 19.
I would like to refrain from commenting on the discussions between third countries. That being said, Japan considers that stable U.S.-China relations are critical to the international community. Japan will continue to urge China to fulfill its responsibilities as a major power while advancing various forms of cooperation based on our strong relationship of mutual trust with our ally, the United States.
As the G7 Presidency, Japan will continue to ensure close coordination among the G7 members. However, nothing has been decided yet regarding a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in London.
Reporter:I would like to ask about offshore wind power. Today, you saw the operational offshore wind facility from Selion firsthand. Could you please share with us your impressions and the reactions of the ambassadors? Akita is at the forefront of offshore wind power, which is considered a trump card in decarbonization. Please also tell us how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs intends to make this known to the world.
Minister Hayashi:The offshore wind farm we visited earlier is Japan’s first large-scale offshore wind farm that just began operation on a commercial basis in Akita Port this January, and I myself found the tour highly interesting. The ambassadors who were with me also listened to the representatives’ explanations with great interest and actively asked questions. Building on today’s experience, I will take the lead in continuing to fully showcase to the world Akita’s pioneering initiatives in promoting clean energy, in addition to its diverse attractions such as food, culture, and tourism.
Reporter:Could you please share with us what impression or opinion you have of Akita at the conclusion of your visit?
Minister Hayashi:In Akita, I had the opportunity to visit various places and exchange views with the local representatives, and I was able to rediscover the diverse and profound attractions of Akita. It was a meaningful opportunity in order to share these wonderful attributes with the world through the nine ambassadors who joined me. I was also able to have discussions with six people who are active in diverse areas in Akita, and hear firsthand about their very interesting experiences in their fields, as well as their thoughts. Based on their continued efforts to showcase the attractions of Akita, I see a bright future for the prefecture. I was deeply impressed by the programs to promote international exchanges and traditional culture and increase inbound tourism, which are rooted in the heartwarming community nurtured by Akita’s sometimes severe natural environment.
Based on the various opinions and insights shared by the local people throughout this visit, I will strive to take the lead in showcasing Japan’s regional attractions to the world and contribute to stimulating inbound tourism and further vitalizing the regions.