Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, June 30, 2023, 11:38 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) IAEA Director General Grossi’s visit to Japan
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I have two announcements at the outset.
The first is that H.E. Mr. Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will make a working visit to Japan as a guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) from July 4 to 7. On July 4, I will be hosting a meeting and a working lunch. During his stay in Japan, Director General Grossi will also have meetings with senior officials and others and visit TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) and other sites.
Japan attaches importance to the work of the IAEA, which plays a significant role in promoting nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. On the occasion of the Director General’s visit, we will strive to further strengthen the relationship between Japan and the IAEA.
(2) Mid-Career Recruitment Examination by MOFA
Minister Hayashi:The second announcement is about MOFA’s new initiative to conduct its own Mid-Career Recruitment Examination. We will be accepting applications for the posts of Deputy Director and Assistant Director, respectively, and hiring them as career-track personnel.
The international environment surrounding Japan is changing at an unprecedented speed, and the diplomatic issues facing Japan are increasing in number, magnitude, and complexity. Under these circumstances, State Minister for Foreign Affairs YAMADA Kenji and other members of MOFA have held discussions. We reached the view that it is essential for the future diplomacy of Japan that personnel with abundant professional experience and diverse backgrounds fully leverage their expertise and play an active role at MOFA. Therefore, we have decided to conduct recruitment examinations.
Applications will be accepted from Monday, August 7, to Friday, September 29. For more information, please see the examination details on MOFA’s website.
We look forward to receiving applications from those who wish to leverage their experience and play an active role on the front line of diplomacy for realizing peace and prosperity in Japan and the rest of the world.
That is all from me.
IAEA Director General Grossi’s Visit to Japan and Disinformation regarding ALPS Treated Water
Kyodo News, Katsurada: I have a question regarding Director General Grossi’s visit to Japan that was mentioned in your opening remarks. Is my understanding correct that, as has already been reported, Director General Grossi will meet with Prime Minister Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Office on July 4 and present a comprehensive report, which will contain an assessment of Japan’s plan to discharge ALPS treated water into the sea? Please also tell us if the visit to Japan is at the request of the IAEA.
Furthermore, with regard to the report by a Republic of Korea (ROK) media outlet that the Government of Japan obtained the IAEA’s final report beforehand and influenced its content, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China commented at its recent press conference that “The Japanese Government has a responsibility to give a credible explanation.” Does the Government of Japan intend to do anything on this matter?
Minister Hayashi:Director General Grossi is scheduled to have a meeting and working lunch with me on July 4 during his visit to Japan.
The rest of the Director General’s itinerary in Japan, including a courtesy call on Prime Minister Kishida, is currently being arranged, and I would like to refrain from answering about the details at this time.
As far as I am aware, IAEA Director General Grossi stated in early June that the comprehensive report you just mentioned will be compiled in a few weeks’ time. In any case, the document is being prepared under the IAEA’s responsibility, and I ask that you inquire with the IAEA.
Director General Grossi has been invited to make a working visit to Japan as a guest of MOFA.
The Government of Japan is not in a position to comment on the reported IAEA document. We understand that the IAEA is aware of the existence of a forged document, and acknowledges that it is not an IAEA document and does not reflect the position of the IAEA.
To reiterate, the IAEA’s comprehensive report is a document being prepared under the responsibility of the IAEA, and the Government of Japan is not in a position to manipulate its content.
Furthermore, the Government of Japan firmly opposes any attempts to undermine the independence and neutrality of the IAEA through the dissemination of disinformation.
ALPS Treated Water
Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi:I would like to ask about the discharge of treated water at FDNPS into the sea. I believe you and other relevant ministers exchanged views earlier today at the Prime Minister’s Office. Can you tell us what was discussed and whether the Prime Minister gave any instructions?
Minister Hayashi:The Prime Minister and other relevant ministers gathered this morning to share information regarding the work of the relevant ministries related to ALPS treated water. The Prime Minister instructed ongoing government-wide efforts to ensure safety, thoroughly counter harmful rumors, and explain and disseminate information carefully to people domestically and internationally.
IAEA Director General Grossi’s Visit to Japan
NHK, Iwasawa: I have a question related to IAEA Director General Grossi’s visit to Japan that was mentioned in your opening remarks. At the meetings between Director General Grossi and you and other senior officials, what kind of discussions do you hope to have regarding the plan to dilute treated water accumulated at FDNPS to concentrations below regulatory standards and discharge it into the sea.
Minister Hayashi:We plan to exchange various views with Director General Grossi during his stay in Japan, including about the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea. The Government hopes to have discussions fully keeping in mind the upcoming plans, including the pre-operation inspection by the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the comprehensive report to be issued by the IAEA.
ALPS Treated Water
Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi:You stated earlier that the Prime Minister instructed ministers to provide careful explanations to people domestically and internationally. China is strongly opposed to the discharge into the sea. Does the Government consider that the discharge should not be conducted as long as neighboring countries have not expressed their understanding?
Minister Hayashi:As I stated earlier, the Prime Minister instructed ongoing government-wide efforts to ensure safety, thoroughly counter harmful rumors, and explain and disseminate information carefully to people domestically and internationally. As there were no particular instructions on other matters, I would like to refrain from commenting about them.
Memorial Services at Sea by Former Islanders and Others of the Northern Territories
Hokkaido Shimbun, Araya: I have a question concerning the memorial services at sea in the Northern Territories. The Governor of Hokkaido announced recently that memorial services at sea will be held between late August and late September. What government support will be provided for their implementation? In addition, at a meeting of the Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Problems, you responded that Russia has not given an affirmative response to the resumption of the Visits to the Graves in the Northern Territories. Please tell us how Japan intends to overcome this situation.
Minister Hayashi:Recently, the Governor of Hokkaido, the representative of the League of Residents of Chishima and Habomai Islands, and others requested Prime Minister Kishida for support for the memorial services at sea you just noted.
During their meeting, at which I was also present, the Prime Minister stated that the Government would listen carefully to the views of relevant parties and provide the necessary support. While we are aware that the Cabinet Office will assume the leading role in handling this matter, MOFA will also take appropriate responses in close coordination with the Cabinet Office.
That being said, Russia has not given an affirmative response to the resumption of the Visits to the Graves in the Northern Territories. Resumption of the Four-Island Exchange Program, including the Visits to the Graves in the Northern Territories, is one of the top priorities of future Japan-Russia relations. With regard to this, the Government of Japan will continue to request Russia to resume the program with a particular focus on the Visits to the Graves in the Northern Territories.
The EU’s Import Measures on Japanese Food Products
Nikkei Shimbun, Kobayashi:I would like to ask about the EU’s import measures imposed on Japanese food products following the accident at FDNPS. The EU still imposes measures on some Japanese food products, and this regulation is to be reviewed before June 30, 2023. What is the status of the review? Please share with us any outlook on the import measures of the EU.
Minister Hayashi:The EU is currently conducting an internal review of its import measures on Japanese food products. The Government of Japan is aware that there are positive moves toward lifting the measures, and we welcome such moves.
The Government of Japan has seized various opportunities at different levels to urge the EU and its member states towards the early lifting of the measures. I myself have taken the lead in vigorously calling on my counterparts in the EU and its member states to lift the measures.
The lifting of the measures will also provide a significant boost to reconstruction in the affected areas. As such, we hope that the review will realize the lifting of the measures.
China’s Counter-Espionage Law
NHK, Iwasawa: I have a question about the revision of China’s Counter-Espionage Law. While the revised Counter-Espionage Law is to enter into force tomorrow, there are concerns that China will further strengthen its crackdown based on the broadened definition of espionage. What is the view of the Government? How does the Government intend to alert Japanese nationals in China? Please also give us an update about the Japanese male employee of a major pharmaceutical company who was detained by Chinese authorities in March of this year, including the holding of any consular meetings.
Minister Hayashi:We are aware that China’s so-called revised Counter-Espionage Law will enter into force on July 1 of this year.
The Government would like to refrain from commenting on each domestic law of another country. However, with regard to this law, we have asked the Chinese side to explain the details and have called on China to ensure transparent law enforcement and judicial processes.
At the same time, we have been alerting Japanese nationals in China. Taking into account the revision of the Counter-Espionage Law and other factors, we will continue to work to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in China by disseminating detailed information and issuing alerts.
In addition, regarding the Japanese man in his 50s who was detained by Chinese authorities in Beijing this March, Japanese Embassy personnel in China conducted the third consular meeting with the Japanese national on June 14. As with the previous meetings, we confirmed with the man that he has no particular health problems.
I lodged a protest with the Chinese side during my visit to China in April, and we have strongly reiterated Japan’s resolute position on this matter, including the Japanese national’s swift release. We will continue to strongly urge China to swiftly release this citizen.
Furthermore, in terms of protecting Japanese nationals, we have continued to do everything possible, such as contacting families and other parties involved, and we will continue to respond appropriately.
Situation in Russia (Movement of Prigozhin)
Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto:I have a question on the situation in Ukraine. About a month before the attempted coup by Prigozhin of the Wagner Group, the Washington Post reported on May 15 that Prigozhin was in contact with the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. Former Russian President Medvedev also warned about the seriousness of the rebellion, saying that a coup in a nuclear power would bring the world to the brink of annihilation. If these reports are true, it means that Ukraine, the United States, and other Western countries had known about the planned coup but neglected it. Was this information shared with the Government of Japan, including you and Ambassador to Ukraine MATSUDA Kuninori? Please clarify and share your opinion with us.
Minister Hayashi:While the Government is following the movements of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group with grave concern, we would like to refrain from answering about each media report.
In any case, the Government will continue to deal with the matter appropriately in close coordination with the G7 and other like-minded countries.