Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Wednesday, June 21, 2023, 6:35 p.m. London
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I have come to the United Kingdom to attend the Ukraine Recovery Conference.
I delivered a speech at the conference in which I reiterated our sympathy and solidarity with the people of Ukraine following the recent Kakhovka dam collapse. I also announced that Japan decided to provide 5 million US dollars in emergency humanitarian assistance in such areas as food, water, sanitation and health, and that Japan will provide equipment through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and implement emergency humanitarian assistance through NGOs.
I spoke about the experience and knowledge that Japan has of achieving recovery and reconstruction following the devastation after the war and a series of natural disasters. I sent out a message that Japan will make use of such experience and knowledge to vigorously implement a uniquely Japanese form of reconstruction assistance in close contact with the Ukrainian people.
In addition, I mentioned that, in order to gain further involvement of the private sector, which is key to the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, Japan established the Council on Preparation for Promotion of Ukraine’s Economic Reconstruction with the participation of all the relevant ministries and agencies.
Furthermore, I announced that the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Reconstruction will be held at an appropriate timing, at some point between the end of this year and the beginning of next year, so that the Japanese public and private sectors can strongly support the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.
It was very meaningful that, within this year when Japan holds the G7 Presidency, I attended this conference with the members of many Japanese private companies, amounting to approximately 20 companies, and conveyed the position of Japan.
Additionally, taking the opportunity of this visit to the United Kingdom, I hosted the third G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting under the Japanese Presidency this year.
At the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken explained the result of his recent visit to China. I then stated that it is important to engage candidly with and convey the concerns of the G7 directly to China, while building constructive and stable relations through dialogue with China. We also exchanged views on regional affairs, including Ukraine and North Korea, and concurred to continue deepening discussion and cooperation on various issues facing the international community, including the Indo-Pacific region.
As for bilateral meetings, I paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shmyhal of Ukraine on the occasion of this visit. We exchanged views toward building on the achievements of the Ukraine Recovery Conference and achieving the reconstruction of Ukraine. During our discussion, I requested Prime Minister Shmyhal’s attendance at the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Reconstruction, which is to be held in Japan at some point between the end of this year and the beginning of next year, and he gladly accepted. At the meeting, I also announced that Japan will provide 5 million US dollars in emergency humanitarian assistance and assistance through NGOs, as well as approximately 160 water purifiers, 30 drain pumps, 4,000 plastic water containers, and 20 large water tanks through JICA, along with the provision of approximately 530 generators and 30 construction machines and the implementation of awareness-raising activities as a mine action for local people through the UNDP.
In addition, I held a meeting with Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Cleverly of the United Kingdom. We confirmed to reinforce our bilateral relations in wide-ranging areas, including security and economy, based on the Hiroshima Accord that was recently unveiled at the Japan-UK leaders’ working dinner. I also held a Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Hasler of Liechtenstein, which was the first-ever such meeting in the history of the two countries, as well as a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Martin of Ireland. Additionally, I briefly held informal talks with Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abazović of Montenegro. We held meaningful exchanges of views on bilateral relations and urgent issues facing the international community.
In the evening, at the invitation of Chatham House, which is steeped in tradition, I was given an opportunity to deliver a speech. I presented three guiding principles, which will flow through Japan-UK cooperation, and stated the issues, the directions of cooperation, and others, that Japan and the United Kingdom should address together as global partners in an increasingly severe international security environment. I believe that I was able to effectively present the importance and possibilities of Japan-UK cooperation in the current international situation, which also drew on the achievements of the G7 Hiroshima Summit, on behalf of the Government of Japan, the G7 Presidency. That is all from me.
Reporter:Promoting private sector participation was the theme of the Ukraine Recovery Conference. What is your view on the current business environment in Ukraine? What do you see as the challenges for the participation of Japanese companies? In addition, what outcomes do you expect from the Ukraine-Japan Public-Private Roundtable that will be held tomorrow?
Minister Hayashi:Improving the business environment in Ukraine was a major item on the agenda of the recovery conference. At this conference, topics, such as economic reform in Ukraine and reducing the risk of war, which are key to supporting the involvement of the private sector including Japanese companies, are being addressed in break-out session format.
At the Hiroshima Summit, the G7 welcomed the establishment of the Support for Ukraine’s Reconstruction and Economy (SURE) Trust Fund in the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) to support private sector involvement, as well as the Ukraine Investment Platform led by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and the leaders confirmed the importance of the role of the private sector in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.
Japan considers that all countries, institutions, and enterprises engaged in reconstruction must share the overall picture of reconstruction and operate in a transparent and fair manner in line with international rules and standards.
Tomorrow, we will hold the Ukraine-Japan Public-Private Roundtable, which is a unique initiative of the Government of Japan and will serve as a forum for members of the Japanese and Ukrainian public and private sectors to exchange their views. Views will be exchanged on the investment environment in Ukraine and the business activities and interests of Japanese and Ukrainian companies. Japan will seek to promote cooperation between the public and private sectors in Japan and Ukraine, including cooperation with third countries and synergies with ODA, as well as cooperation between companies.
Reporter:When President Zelenskyy of Ukraine held a meeting with Prime Minister Kishida in Kyiv this March, I understand the President encouraged Japanese companies in sectors such as the automotive industry, as well as lithium and other mineral production, to conduct business in Ukraine. Looking ahead to a long-term reconstruction, what is the possibility that Japanese companies in these sectors will conduct business in Ukraine?
Minister Hayashi:According to World Bank estimates, the long-term recovery and reconstruction needs of Ukraine are projected to exceed 400 billion US dollars, making contributions from not only the public sector but also the private sector critical. This aspect was indeed a major agenda item of the conference. Individual matters essential to supporting private sector involvement are being addressed in the break-out sessions of the conference.
The Government of Japan is well aware that trade and investment with Ukraine in wartime pose high risks for private companies. In this context, the Government is conducting reviews to provide proactive support, rather than leaving it solely up to the efforts of private companies. Given the circumstances, I would like to refrain from speculating at this point in time about the manner in which Japanese companies will engage in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine in individual sectors. We understand that companies have a high level of interest, as demonstrated by the participation of numerous Japanese companies in this conference and tomorrow’s Ukraine-Japan Public-Private Roundtable.
The Government will continue to exchange views on the investment environment in Ukraine and the business activities and interests of Japanese and Ukrainian companies, promote cooperation between the public and private sectors in Japan and Ukraine, including cooperation with third countries and synergies with ODA, as well as cooperation between companies, and support the efforts of individual companies.
Reporter:I have a question related to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that was held today. You stated that Secretary of State Blinken explained about his visit to China. Following his explanation, what did the member countries discuss on China? Based on today’s meeting, can you also tell us how Japan intends to carry out diplomacy and dialogue with China, including consideration of Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to China?
Minister Hayashi:On June 21, I hosted the third G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting under the Japanese Presidency this year for approximately 55 minutes from 12:15 p.m.
At the beginning of the meeting, I expressed my appreciation for the United Kingdom’s efforts to hold the Ukraine Recovery Conference, and stated that I would like to continue close coordination among the G7 in order to restore peace and prosperity to Ukraine.
Following that, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken explained the result of his recent visit to China. I then stated that it is important to engage candidly with and convey the concerns of the G7 directly to China, while building constructive and stable relations through dialogue with China, and thus am paying close attention to the result of Secretary Blinken’s visit to China. Furthermore, the G7 confirmed that we will continue to coordinate closely, including through the follow-up on the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano, and the G7 Hiroshima Summit. Regarding North Korea, I mentioned that North Korea launched at least two ballistic missiles on June 15, both of which landed within Japan’s EEZ. I emphasized that these launches, as well as the satellite launch on May 31, violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions, and they are absolutely unacceptable. I stated that I would like to continue working closely as the G7 on this issue, and further deepen our discussion on the Indo-Pacific.
Regarding Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to China, nothing has been decided at this time. The Kishida administration’s consistent approach to Japan-China relations is to maintain the positive momentum achieved at the Japan-China Summit Meeting last November. Both Japan and China must work to build a constructive and stable relationship in which Japan will firmly maintain and assert our position and strongly request China’s responsible actions, while at the same time continue dialogue including on the concerns and cooperate on matters of common interest.
Japan will continue to maintain close communication at all levels based on this approach.