Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, August 8, 2023, 11:00 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Personnel Decisions on Senior MOFA Officials
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have three announcements at the outset.
First, the personnel decisions related to senior officials of MOFA were approved during the Cabinet meeting today. The announcements will be effective as of August 10.
As you will see in the material that will be distributed later, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs MORI Takeo will be retiring. We are grateful to Vice-Minister Mori for serving as a bold leader in both policy-making and management for over two years amid the rapidly changing international situation, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Vice-Minister Mori will be succeeded by Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary OKANO Masataka. He will be succeeded by Director-General ICHIKAWA Keiichi of the Foreign Policy Bureau. Director-General KOBE Yasuhiro of the North American Affairs Bureau will become Director-General of the Foreign Policy Bureau, and Director-General ARIMA Yutaka of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department will become Director-General of the North American Affairs Bureau.
Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of state affairs YAMADA Shigeo will belong to the Minister’s Secretariat. He will be succeeded by Director-General FUNAKOSHI Takehiro of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau. Director-General NAMAZU Hiroyuki of the Economic Affairs Bureau will become the Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and Deputy Director-General/Deputy Assistant Minister KATAHIRA Satoshi of the International Legal Affairs Bureau will be promoted to Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau.
Under a new group of officials, MOFA will continue to exert all efforts to address a wide range of diplomatic issues.
(2) The Host City of the Ninth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 9)
Minister Hayashi:Second, the Cabinet approved Yokohama City as a host city for the Ninth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 9), which will be held in Japan in 2025.
The exact dates will be arranged with the African countries and others.
(3) Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement
Minister Hayashi:Third, today, a Cabinet decision was made for the conclusion and promulgation of the Japan-Australia Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA).
This agreement seeks to facilitate the conduct of cooperative activities between the defence forces of Japan and Australia and enhance their interoperability by clarifying the procedures and legal status of the defence forces when they visit and carry out activities in each other’s country.
Japan and Australia are “Special Strategic Partners” that share fundamental values and strategic interests. The fact that Japan concluded its first RAA with Australia is a testament of this close relationship. It is expected that the conclusion of this agreement will further promote Japan-Australia security and defence cooperation and firmly support the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.
That is all from me.
Official Security Assistance (OSA)
NHK, Igarashi: I have a question about Official Security Assistance (OSA). According to some reports, MOFA is arranging to allocate approximately 5 billion yen in the next fiscal year’s budget as associated expenses for providing OSA to six countries, including Viet Nam, Mongolia, and Djibouti. Can you please tell us the progress of this fiscal year’s OSA and the arrangements being made for the next fiscal year?
Minister Hayashi:For OSA in FY2023, an external contractor is currently conducting specialized surveys, assuming that equipment is being provided to help enhance monitoring and surveillance activities and other maritime security capabilities of the candidate countries, which are the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Fiji.
Regarding OSA projects in FY2024, we will review projects by comprehensively taking into consideration factors such as the significance of the assistance vis-à-vis the purpose of OSA, the needs of countries, and the economic and social circumstances of the countries.
With regard to the budget request, MOFA is considering an appropriately sized budget based on factors such as OSA’s significance for the security of Japan, the needs of countries, and Japan’s OSA implementation scheme.
Personnel Decisions on Senior MOFA Officials
Yomiuri Shimbun, Yoda: I have a question related to the personnel decisions mentioned in your opening remarks. Please tell us your expectations for the next Vice-Minister, Mr. Okano, and the purpose for his appointment.
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting on individual personnel decisions one by one. Personnel decisions are made based on the person’s abilities and achievements with the idea of appointing the right person to the right position.
During the G7 Hiroshima Summit, with Japan as the Presidency, the G7 confirmed the importance of maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law and sent out a strong message to the world about the G7’s renewed determination to uphold this order.
In addition, as I sensed during my recent visit to Southwest Asia and Africa, Japan is expected to demonstrate leadership as diplomatic challenges continue to mount. With a new group of officials, we will build on the achievements that have been made, including at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, and exert the collective efforts of the group led by Vice-Minister Okano in making every effort to address a wide range of diplomatic challenges.
The Hosting of TICAD 9 in Yokohama and the Importance of TICAD
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I would like to ask about the decision on the host city of TICAD 9 that was mentioned in your opening remarks. MOFA invited applications from host city candidates all over Japan. Please explain why it chose Yokohama City, which will be hosting TICAD for the fourth time. Furthermore, you have just visited African countries. Please tell us again your views concerning the importance of the TICAD framework for Japan’s African diplomacy.
Minister Hayashi:First, regarding your question on Yokohama City, we made a public call for applications for a host city of TICAD 9 considering that we had received inquiries from several municipalities, and it was only Yokohama City that applied.
Yokohama City meets the necessary requirements for hosting TICAD, such as conference facilities, accommodations, and convenient accessibility.
Furthermore, Yokohama City has had continuous exchanges with Africa and has been engaged in cooperation in a wide range of fields. It has also hosted TICAD three times in the past.
We decided to hold TICAD 9 in Yokohama City after comprehensively considering those factors.
As for your question on the importance of the TICAD framework, for approximately 30 years since we launched TICAD in 1993, Japan has provided support based on the spirit of supporting African-led development. While there are also the numerous Africa forums of other countries, I believe TICAD has played a pioneering and leading role.
Even at the Eighth TICAD, or TICAD 8, last August, which I attended as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Kishida, we advocated approaches quintessentially Japanese as “a partner growing together with Africa” that emphasize “invest in people” and “the quality of growth.”
Africa is a region where long-term growth is anticipated, making cooperation with African countries essential for the peace, stability, and prosperity of not only Japan but also the region and the international community. During my recent visit to Africa, I was able to have meaningful discussions with these points in mind.
Japan will further advance the TICAD process and further deepen the Japan-Africa relationship that has been nurtured.
Discussion on Russia during Minister Hayashi’s Visit to Africa
TBS, Miyamoto:Welcome back from your overseas visit. It was a long visit. My question is specifically about Africa. You visited three African countries. They may have included countries whose position on Russia is not necessarily the same as Japan’s. Can you tell us what kind of discussions took place regarding Russia and whether Japan and the African countries were able to align their perceptions? Additionally, if there were differences in views, please tell us how you intend to bridge them?
Minister Hayashi:As the G7 Presidency, Japan has been engaged in various efforts with an emphasis on strengthening relations with the so-called Global South countries, and this visit was part of those efforts.
During my meetings with each country, I held candid and open exchanges of views with their dignitaries. We discussed cooperation for maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law and for addressing other key international issues. In this context, we also discussed Russia’s aggression against Ukraine that you just mentioned. We shared concerns over the effects that Russia’s termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative will have on food security in the world, including Africa, and confirmed that the international community needs to come together and cooperate to realize the resumption of the initiative.
Based on these outcomes of the visit, Japan will promote further cooperation with each country.
ALPS Treated Water
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi:I would like to ask about the planned discharge into the sea of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. I believe the Government has been providing explanations at international conferences and various other places based on the IAEA report. In your opinion, has the Government been able to gain the understanding of other countries and the international public? Please also tell us if you have plans to make further improvements to your explanations.
Minister Hayashi:On the occasions of international conferences and bilateral meetings, and based on the conclusions of the IAEA Comprehensive Report, the Government has been thoroughly explaining Japan’s approach to ensuring the safety of discharging ALPS treated water into the sea. In addition, we have been using social media, such as X, to actively provide explanations to global audiences.
As a result, an increasing number of countries have expressed support for the IAEA Comprehensive Report, which concluded that the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea is consistent with international safety standards. Many countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, immediately welcomed the Comprehensive Report and have reacted positively. Furthermore, the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) has expressed that it will respect the content of the IAEA Comprehensive Report. In addition, the Government of Fiji has stated that the IAEA Comprehensive Report is reassuring enough to dispel any fears of the degradation of the ocean environment. Additionally, during the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the NPT Review Conference in progress in Vienna, countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic have made statements in support of the IAEA’s initiatives. As these suggest, there is a growing understanding about the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea.
In giving explanations, we believe it is vital to provide objective and accurate information on ALPS treated water for deepening the international community’s understanding of the safety of treated water, and from this standpoint, we are mindful to provide detailed explanations based on scientific evidence. We will make continued efforts to provide such explanations.
Minister Hayashi’s Visit to the United States for the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit Meeting
Kyodo News, Katsurada:My question is about the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit Meeting scheduled on August 18. Can you please tell us if you will be visiting the United States for this meeting or holding a Japan-U.S.-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?
Minister Hayashi: If circumstances permit, I will be visiting the United States from August 17 to accompany Prime Minister Kishida, who will be attending the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit Meeting to be held at Camp David in the United States on the 18th. The visit is currently being arranged.
With regard to my schedule during the visit, nothing has been decided at this time other than attending the Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit Meeting.
45th Anniversary of the Conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I have a question regarding Japan-China relations. August 12 will mark 45 years since the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. The treaty contains provisions on not seeking hegemony in any region, as well as on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. Do you view that China’s ongoing actions respect the purpose of the treaty? Please also tell us your intentions for how Japan will call on China to ensure compliance.
Minister Hayashi:As you noted, this year marks the 45th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. The two countries have developed their relationship based on the spirit and approaches stated in the 1978 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China, alongside basic documents such as the 1972 Joint Communique, the 1998 Joint Declaration, and the 2008 Joint Statement. Japan has made no changes to its position enshrined in these documents.
Japan and China currently face many challenges and concerns while also sharing various possibilities. Taking into account the efforts accumulated over the years, while maintaining the positive momentum achieved at the Japan-China Summit Meeting last November, it is important that both Japan and China 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.
We will continue to maintain close communication at all levels.
Visit to Yasukuni Shrine on the Anniversary of the End of World War II
Kyodo News, Katsurada:I would like to ask about visiting Yasukuni Shrine. Do you have any plans to visit the shrine on August 15, the anniversary of the end of the war?
Minister Hayashi: As a member of the Kishida cabinet, I will make an appropriate decision.