Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, July 18, 2023, 11:00 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Situation in Ukraine (Termination of the “Black Sea Grain Initiative”)

NHK, Morita:I have a question related to the situation in Ukraine. Yesterday, the Government of Russia announced the termination of the agreement on the export of Ukrainian agricultural products. Please tell us the reaction of the Government of Japan and how it will respond.

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have just issued a statement on this matter. On July 17, Russia unilaterally terminated its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), despite the strenuous mediation efforts of the United Nations (UN) and Türkiye. Japan deplores the current situation and condemns Russia for terminating its participation. It is Russia that bears ultimate responsibility for the negative effects stemming from this decision.

Since its launch in July last year, the BSGI has delivered more than 32 million tons of grain and other commodities to countries around the world through the Black Sea, mainly to the Global South, and has contributed to global food security and food price stability. Japan is concerned by the ramifications of Russia’s decision on the global food supply and is paying close attention to the situation.

Japan appreciates the arduous work done by the UN and Türkiye to extend and implement the BSGI. We will continue to closely monitor and support the efforts of both parties.

In addition, Japan has stressed the importance of the BSGI and highlighted the need for the international community to support it in both the G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communiqué and the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security, which the G7 and invited countries issued at the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May. In cooperation with the international community including the G7, Japan will continue to strongly urge Russia to return to the international framework and to resume grain exports from Ukraine.

Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (ALPS Treated Water)

Kyodo News, Ueda:I would like to ask about your recent meeting with Mr. Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China. During the meeting, you objected to China’s “politicization” of the issue of treated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. China has expressed its opposition to the discharge of treated water. In what specific context did you make this “politicization” remark during the meeting and what was Mr. Wang Yi’s response?

Minister Hayashi:At my meeting with Director Wang on July 14, while referring to the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Comprehensive Report, I clearly reiterated Japan’s position, objected to the politicization of this matter, and once again called upon China to act based on a scientific standpoint. I also reiterated Japan’s readiness to communicate with China from such standpoint.

Director Wang expressed the position of China.

However, I would like to refrain from providing any further details, as this was a diplomatic discussion.

NPT Review Conference

Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi:My question concerns the meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) taking place in Vienna, Austria at the end of the month. I believe the past two NPT Review Conferences have failed to reach consensus, which indicates the difficulty of making progress towards nuclear disarmament. Firstly, what outcomes will the Government of Japan aim to achieve at the meeting of the Preparatory Committee?

Minister Hayashi:The division within the international community over nuclear disarmament has become even greater, and coupled with Russia’s nuclear threats, the path to a world without nuclear weapons has become even harder. However, it is precisely these circumstances that make the NPT, in which both nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon States participate, essential as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

As you mentioned, last August’s NPT Review Conference did not adopt the final document due to the objection of one country, Russia. This was deeply regrettable. Nonetheless, the document provided a basis for future discussions on nuclear disarmament, and the Conference reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and strengthening the NPT regime.

The first meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the NPT Review Conference, commencing on July 31, is an important in that it will initiate the process for the next NPT Review Conference scheduled for 2026. Japan will stress the importance of continuing and enhancing realistic and practical measures by implementing each of the initiatives under the “Hiroshima Action Plan,” which was proposed by Prime Minister Kishida at last year’s NPT Review Conference, while positioning the G7 Leaders’ Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament as a solid stepping stone. In doing so, we intend to build up the momentum of the international community.

Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I have a related question. Prime Minister Kishida attended the Conference last year, which was a first by a Japanese prime minister. Will you, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, or the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs attend this year’s Preparatory Committee meeting, or will it be working-level staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? What is the Government considering at this time?

Minister Hayashi:We are currently coordinating who will attend. Nothing has been decided yet.

Japan-EU Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue

Mainichi Shimbun, Kawaguchi: I have a question about the Japan-EU Summit attended by Prime Minister Kishida. The Joint Statement from the Summit mentions establishing a Strategic Dialogue at foreign ministerial level. Please tell us the significance of establishing this new framework from a security standpoint and the EU’s expected role in security cooperation.

Minister Hayashi:As the international security environment becomes increasingly severe, it is vital to strengthen cooperation with partners with which Japan shares values and principles, such as the EU.

At a time when the international community is at a historic turning point, and in order to uphold a free and open international order based on the rule of law, Japan will further enhance cooperation with the EU and its member states, with which we share values and principles, based on the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit.

Through the foreign ministers’ Strategic Dialogue that was established at the recent Japan-EU Summit, Japan intends to discuss security cooperation and regional affairs, among other matters, with the EU, from a strategic perspective.

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