Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, July 4, 2023, 11:00 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IAEA Director General Grossi’s Visit to Japan
NHK, Iwasawa:I have a question about your meeting with IAEA Director General Grossi. Regarding the plan to discharge ALPS treated water accumulated at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the sea, what is the position of Japan that you wish to reiterate to the IAEA at the meeting today? Additionally, will the IAEA’s report on the findings of its comprehensive assessment of safety be explained to you by Director General Grossi?
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I understand that, today, Director General Grossi will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Kishida and hand over the Comprehensive Report. Director General Grossi will also be having a meeting and working lunch with me today and has other engagements between July 4 and 7.
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. From this standpoint, during his visit, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, intends to confirm cooperation with the IAEA to address various issues, such as the issue of non-proliferation, including the nuclear issues of North Korea and Iran, and the issue of the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.
As to your question about the timing of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, a decision will be made after the whole Government has confirmed its safety and the progress of measures to counter harmful rumors. That is all.
The Use of Russia’s Frozen Assets
Pan Orient News, Azhari:Thank you. Pan Orient News, Arab in Japan. My question is about some European countries reportedly said they will donate the frozen Russian assets they hold and give it to Ukraine for its reconstruction. We don’t know reconstruction during the war or after the war. What is Japan’s position on that and in case you have Russian... Japan has the Russian frozen assets how much is the amount of those frozen assets in Japan? Would you also plan to donate these assets to Ukraine? Thank you.
Minister Hayashi:The questions of how to secure financing for assistance for the reconstruction of Ukraine and other issues, and how to pursue Russia’s responsibility, are vital issues. In this regard, we are aware that there are various international discussions on the use of Russia’s assets, including the confiscation of the assets.
We have not disclosed the amount of Russian assets that Japan has frozen, and I would also like to refrain from speculating about future actions of Japan. In any case, Japan will address this matter in close coordination with relevant countries, including the G7 members.
ALPS Treated Water
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I would like to ask about the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea. While China, the Republic of Korea, and other neighboring countries are expressing concerns, what do you think should be the important factors in determining the timing of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea? In addition, does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have any plans to explain the content of the IAEA’s report to the countries that are expressing concern?
Minister Hayashi:As I stated earlier, the timing of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea will be decided after the whole Government has confirmed its safety and the progress of measures to counter harmful rumors.
Regarding the IAEA’s report, it is primarily the responsibility of the IAEA to explain its substance. With regard to the safety of discharging ALPS treated water into the sea, the Government of Japan will continue to provide thorough explanations based on scientific evidence in a highly transparent manner to further deepen the understanding of the international community.
Media Reports on Allegations surrounding President Biden and His Son, and the Next U.S. Presidential Election
Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto:A U.S. Internal Revenue Service agent in active service who was in charge of the tax evasion investigation of Mr. Hunter Biden, the second son of U.S. President Biden, has blown the whistle publicly, saying that the U.S. Department of Justice interfered in the investigation. Major U.S. media outlets are reporting on this one after another. Depending on how this case proceeds, President Biden may face impeachment and have to resign during his term, not to mention the effect on the next presidential election. Do you not consider that it may be risky to blindly follow the Biden administration? For example, say that Robert Kennedy Jr. is elected in the next presidential election. He advocates for an immediate ceasefire in the Ukraine conflict, the complete withdrawal of overseas U.S. forces, and the unraveling of the U.S. military empire. Would his agenda not be a complete reversal of the Biden administration’s? Will the Government of Japan be able to build a partnership with such an administration? Can you please explain?
Minister Hayashi:While we are aware of the reports you mentioned, the Government would like to refrain from commenting on the internal affairs of other countries.
Furthermore, we would like to refrain from commenting on each matter related to U.S. domestic elections. That said, we are following those matters with interest.
The Return of the United States to UNESCO
Yomiuri Shimbun, Kudo:A proposal to approve the return of the United States to UNESCO was adopted at an extraordinary session of UNESCO’s General Conference at the end of last month. It looks as if the United States will be rejoining the organization. Please share your thoughts on this.
Minister Hayashi:Japan welcomes that a proposal to advance the process of the return of the United States to UNESCO was adopted at the fifth extraordinary session of UNESCO’s General Conference held on June 29 and 30.
Japan led the effort to solicit the co-sponsors of this proposal and has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to enable the early return of the United States to UNESCO.
UNESCO plays an ever more important role in education, sciences, culture, and other areas amidst the mounting issues that undermine the international order.
Against this backdrop, we consider that the return of the United States holds vital significance for UNESCO to address these issues more actively and effectively.