Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko

Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 3:47 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

(1) Dr. Tshilidzi Marwala’s Assumption of Office as the Rector of the United Nations University

Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary:I have three announcements today.

The first matter is Dr. Tshilidzi Marwala’s assumption of office as the Rector of the United Nations University (UNU).

The Government of Japan welcomes Dr. Tshilidzi Marwala, who has begun his term today, March 1, as the new Rector of the UNU, which is headquartered in Tokyo.

The UNU, the only United Nations organization headquartered in Japan, serves as a think tank for the overall UN System and conducts activities that contribute to resolving key global issues.

The UNU offers master’s and doctoral degrees in sustainability studies and other areas through post-graduate degree programs, and serves as an educational institution that nurtures the people who will lead the next generation.

The Government of Japan looks forward to the further development of the UNU under Dr. Marwala. As the host country of the UNU, Japan intends to deepen its relationship with the UNU and support its activities.

(2) The 16th Japan International MANGA Award

Press Secretary Ono:The next matter is the 16th Japan International MANGA Award.

Tomorrow, on March 2. the 16th Japan International MANGA Award Ceremony will be held at the Iikura Guest House

The Japan International MANGA Award was established to expand international exchange and mutual understanding through manga culture. This fiscal year marks its 16th anniversary. 503 entries from 77 countries and regions were received, which replaced last year’s record-high number of entries. This time, “In summer” by seong ryul from the Republic of Korea (ROK) was selected as the Gold Award winner. A total of 15 works were selected, including three Silver Award winners and 11 other works. Please see the distributed materials for the summary.

Tomorrow, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Takei will attend the award ceremony on behalf of Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, the Chairman of the Executive Committee. In addition, the Gold Award winner and Silver Award winners will be invited from around the world by the Japan Foundation.

Manga has become a catalyst for interest in Japanese culture and the Japanese language in many countries and regions. From this perspective, MOFA will continue to promote the spread of manga in the international community and cultural exchange through the Japan International MANGA Award.

This will be the first time in three years that the award ceremony will be held in person. After this press conference, we will issue an outline on coverage of the award ceremony. We hope that you will come to the venue and cover the ceremony.

(3) Japan Alumni Conference

Press Secretary Ono: The third matter is the Japan Alumni Conference.

On March 8, MOFA will hold the Third Japan Alumni Conference aimed at former international students “Japan alumni” who have studied in Japan. The purpose of this conference is to rekindle the connection with and interest in Japan among Japan alumni who have returned to their own countries, as well as strengthening networks and activating exchanges among the Japan alumni.

At the conference, activities of Japan alumni associations in various countries will be introduced and opinions will be exchanged. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Takei will attend from MOFA. In addition, a video message from Prime Minister Kishida will be played, and participant representatives will report on their activities.

This conference has been held online twice since 2021. However, this time, Japan alumni from 20 countries will be invited to participate in person for the first time, and representatives of alumni from 29 countries will participate online.

We will issue an outline on coverage of the conference, so please contact the person in charge if you are interested.

That is all from me.

Arrangements for the Schedule of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Conference

Kyodo News, Ueda:I would like to ask about the G20. With regard to Foreign Minister Hayashi’s absence at the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Chairperson Azumi of the Diet Affairs Committee, Democratic Party (DP) stated that there were insufficient diplomatic efforts to shift the meeting schedule, and that MOFA is passing the buck by saying that the Diet is preventing Foreign Minister Hayashi’s attendance. Please tell us MOFA’s view on changing the G20 schedule.

Press Secretary Ono:The schedule arrangements for international meetings are the exclusive prerogative of the country with the presidency, so I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of Japan.

In any case, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Yamada will attend the meeting and firmly communicate Japan’s views, including our positions as the G7 President.

Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Asahi Shimbun, Nagasaki:Related to what you just mentioned, the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is scheduled to be held on March 3, the day after the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I believe it has not yet been officially decided whether Foreign Minister Hayashi will attend the meeting. If he does, what are the expected results, as the G7 Summit will soon be held?

Press Secretary Ono:We are making arrangements for the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held on March 3 in New Delhi.

Arrangements are currently being made on how Japan will participate. The Quad’s initiatives are for the four countries, which share fundamental values, to cooperate and promote various forms of practical collaboration in wide-ranging fields towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Japan will firmly participate in the Quad’s discussions.

Address by President Yoon Suk Yeol of the ROK at the March First Independence Movement Day Ceremony

Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki:In his speech today, the President of the ROK made very in-depth remarks about the ROK’s partner relations with Japan. Please tell us your impressions on this.

Press Secretary Ono:We are aware of the speech by President Yoon Suk Yeol of the ROK that you pointed out.

In his speech, President Yoon mentioned Japan is “a partner that shares the same universal values with us,” and stated, “Today Korea and Japan cooperate on issues of security and economy. We also work together to cope with global challenges.”

For Japan, the ROK is an important neighboring country with which we should cooperate to deal with various issues of the international community. The government of Japan will continue to communicate closely with the Government of the ROK in order to restore and further advance sound Japan-ROK relations, based on the platform on which the friendly and cooperative bilateral relations which have been built since the normalization of diplomatic relations.

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