Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 4:00 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Prime Minister Kishida’s Visit to Ukraine
NHK, Morita:First, I would like to ask about Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Kyiv. I would like to again ask about the significance of this visit to Kyiv before the G7 Summit. In addition, Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Yamada and others from MOFA accompanied Prime Minister Kishida. What was the structure for personnel attending this visit?
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary:Prime Minister Kishida visited Ukraine, directly observed the conditions including damage due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, held a summit meeting with President Zelenskyy, and conveyed Japan’s unwavering support for and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Through this visit, Japan has led the international community, including the G7 and the Global South, to demonstrate a determination to uphold the international order based on the rule of law.
For this visit, personnel related to the Prime Minister’s Office and MOFA accompanied Prime Minister Kishida. We decided to send the minimum number of people based on local security measures and the visits to Kyiv of various country leaders and others.
I would like to refrain from answering with any further details from the perspective of ensuring the safety of the Prime Minister.
Visit to Russia by President Xi Jinping of China
Yomiuri Shimbun, Yoda:I would like to ask about the visit to Russia by President Xi Jinping of China. The meeting demonstrated the cooperative relations between China and Russia. Please tell us the Government of Japan’s reaction to this meeting amidst concerns that China will provide arms support to Russia.
Press Secretary Ono:We are aware that during his visit to Russia, President Xi Jinping attended a tête-à-tête and dinner with President Putin on March 21, and on March 22, they held a summit meeting and issued a joint statement on economic cooperation between Russia and China.
In addition, we are aware that in the joint press release, President Putin stated, “We believe that many of the provisions of the peace plan put forward by China are consonant with Russian approaches and can be taken as the basis for a peaceful settlement when the West and Kiev [sic] are ready for it.” On the other hand, we are aware that both leaders did not mention matters such as the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory.
Russia continues its attacks on Ukraine, and President Putin has not shown any signs of making steps for peace, including his statement that the areas of Ukraine annexed by Russia will not be subject to negotiations. We believe it is necessary to turn focus to this reality first.
It is Russia that continues its aggression in violation of international law in the first place. Japan’s position is that any solution must be based on that premise.
Japan will continue to monitor the movements by Russia and China, including those surrounding the situation in Ukraine. At the same time, we will continue to take various opportunities to strongly urge China to make a responsible response.
Non-Lethal Defense Equipment Assistance for Ukraine
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: I would like to ask about the Japan-Ukraine Summit Meeting. After the meeting, Prime Minister Kishida stated that Japan will provide to Ukraine non-lethal, non-harmful equipment through a NATO trust fund. What kind of equipment is being considered to provide at this stage? In addition, please tell us your current thoughts on how to ensure that the equipment will be non-lethal.
Press Secretary Ono:Prime Minister Kishida told President Zelenskyy that Japan has decided to provide non-lethal defense equipment assistance amounting to 30 million US Dollars through a NATO trust fund. I assume that the assistance will be in a non-lethal military field. Japan’s policy is to provide this assistance after coordinating the specific content and confirming the details going forward.
Prime Minister Kishida’s Visit to Ukraine (Information Management)
Asahi Shimbun, Nagasaki: I would also like to ask about Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Kyiv. I have heard that during the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) division meeting today, with regard to information management and ensuring the safety of the Prime Minister, someone stated that it would have been good for an agreement to have been concluded on press coverage between the police and the media. Please tell us your reaction to this, and how you will respond to this. In addition, I would also like to ask – or perhaps this is more of a request than a question –is it possible to issue a statement as usual, like the one issued when Prime Minister Kishida left India, taking into account the significance of this historic visit by the Prime Minister? Prime Minister Kishida has already left Ukraine and the security level has risen.
Press Secretary Ono:To answer your first question, we made careful arrangements with the Government of Ukraine and put all efforts to ensure safety for Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Ukraine.
In terms of preserving confidentiality, security measures, and crisis management, we made preparations with full consideration of information management, including comprehensive consideration of the most appropriate methods to make sure nothing went amiss, and strictly limited information sharing due to safety measures.
I would like to refrain from speaking about the details of the specific plan for this visit. However, I will tell you that we made all efforts for safety measures, crisis management measures, and information management.
In addition, as for your second question, as I stated earlier, we made all efforts with maximum consideration for safety measures, crisis management measures, and information management. Our specific response was based on that. I would like you to understand that point.