Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Friday, September 1, 2023, 11:02 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.

Opening Remarks

(1) Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visits to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Poland

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs:I have two announcements.

Firstly, I will be visiting Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Poland from September 3 to 10.

In Jordan, the first country I will visit, I will hold meetings with dignitaries including paying a courtesy call on His Majesty King Abdullah II, and hold the fourth Round of the Japan-Jordan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Al Safadi. I will discuss future cooperation and confirm our coordination towards stabilizing the region.

In Egypt, the bilateral relationship was elevated to a Strategic Partnership during Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in April this year, and I will confirm through a courtesy call on President El-Sisi and a meeting with Foreign Minister Shoukry that we will deepen this relationship further in a wide range of fields.

Furthermore, I will hold the third Japan-Arab Political Dialogue, and intend to hold vigorous discussions with the League of Arab States regarding future Japan-Arab cooperation.

In addition, I plan to participate in the first round of the Japan-Egypt-Jordan Ministerial Consultations and hold exchanges of views with the other foreign ministers regarding future trilateral cooperation in the Middle East region.

In Saudi Arabia, I will hold the first meeting of the Japan-Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue with Foreign Minister Faisal, which our two countries agreed to establish during Prime Minister Kishida’s visit in July this year. Moreover, I plan to hold the Japan-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I will strengthen cooperation in various fields such as politics, the economy, and culture, with Saudi Arabia, a strategic partner.

In Poland, I will pay a courtesy call on President Duda to follow up on Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Poland in July, and will also hold a Japan-Poland Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Foreign Minister Rau, and an exchange of views with Secretary of State, Government Plenipotentiary for Polish-Ukrainian Development Cooperation of the Republic of Poland Emilewicz. I plan to strengthen bilateral relations with Poland, which has gained even greater strategic and geopolitical importance in the international community by acting as a hub for assistance to Ukraine since the commencement of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

(2) Further Measures Taken by the Government of Japan Against North Korea

Minister Hayashi:Secondly, since the start of this year, North Korea has continued to take a series of provocative actions, such as repeating ballistic missile launches with unprecedented frequency and manners. Against this backdrop, on August 24, North Korea went ahead with a launch using ballistic missile technology in order to launch a satellite. It also launched two ballistic missiles on August 30. These actions are a serious and imminent threat to the security of Japan and an act of aggression that threatens the peace and security of the region and the entire international community. They are absolutely unacceptable.

Under these circumstances, in coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), at today’s Cabinet meeting, the cabinet additionally designated three groups and four individuals involved in nuclear and missile development, which is prohibited by the Security Council Resolutions related to North Korea, as subject to asset freezing. The decision was made based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act as Japan’s further measures against North Korea to seek a comprehensive resolution of issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.

Japan strongly urges North Korea to take concrete actions to resolve issues of concern, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues. We will continue to work toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while maintaining close Japan-U.S., Japan-ROK, and Japan-U.S.-ROK coordination and cooperating with the international community.

That is all from me.

Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Visits to the Middle East

Nikkei Shimbun, Fujita: I would like to ask about your visit to the Middle East that you talked about in your opening remarks. At the recent BRICS Summit, it was decided that six countries, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which you will visit this time, would join BRICS. China is also strengthening its relations with these member states. As you are going to visit both of those countries, please tell us your thoughts about how Japan will build relations through this visit and at upcoming international conferences such as the United Nations General Assembly.

Minister Hayashi:I am aware that it was decided to invite six countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to join BRICS at the recent BRICS Summit.

I will refrain from commenting on the moves of third countries, but the countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which I will visit this time, are both countries that play an important role in their region and in the international community.

With Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shaking the very foundation of the international order, Prime Minister Kishida recently visited these countries and discussed the importance of maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law, and confirmed that they would work together.

In my visits this time as well, I intend to work to develop the bilateral cooperative relationships Japan has with each country, hold candid discussions about international affairs, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and confirm our further coordination.

ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and G20 Summit

Chugoku Shimbun, Yamase:From September 5, Prime Minister Kishida will be visiting Indonesia and India to attend the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and the G20 Summit, respectively. The Prime Minister stated in a meeting of the Board of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) the other day that he expects to “connect the outcome of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to the G20 Summit.” The G7 issued the Hiroshima Vision, a document on nuclear disarmament, at the Hiroshima Summit. Please tell us your thoughts about what assertions Japan should make in order to fulfill its role in the upcoming ASEAN and G20 meetings, from the perspectives of the matters discussed at the summit including nuclear weapons, peace, and the international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Minister Hayashi:The international community has become further divided over nuclear disarmament, and, due to Russia’s threat of nuclear weapons and other reasons, the path toward a “world without nuclear weapons” has become even more challenging. However, it is precisely because we are in this situation that we need to steadily advance realistic and practical efforts to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons.

I would like to refrain from speculating about the discussions in the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and the G20 New Delhi Summit, which Prime Minister Kishida will attend, but amidst Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine, I believe it is important to promote the view that Russia’s nuclear threat, let alone its use is absolutely unacceptable.

ALPS treated water (Filing a Case to the WTO)

NHK, Igarashi: I would like to ask a question related to ALPS treated water. Regarding the fact that the Government of China stopped all imports of Japanese marine products after the start of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, an assertion was made at a meeting of the LDP calling for the filing of a case to the WTO on the grounds that China’s measures are not based on scientific evidence, and other reasons. Within the Government of Japan, there are also opinions emerging about the option of filing a case. Please tell us your view and your future response.

Minister Hayashi: It is deeply regrettable that China has introduced new measures that are not based on scientific evidence, in addition to its current import restriction measures.

We have called on China for the prompt lifting of import restrictions, and we will continue to strongly request that China make conclusions that are based on scientific evidence.

Japan has consistently and strongly called for the prompt lifting of the restrictions by each of the country concerned, including China, in the WTO to date. Specifically, for example, we have called for the prompt lifting of the restrictions in the WTO Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

We intend to continue to constantly consider taking a variety of options from the perspective of what is most effective, under the WTO and other related agreement frameworks.

ALPS treated water (Approach to China)

TBS, Miyamoto: I would like to ask related questions. I think that in addition to frameworks such as the WTO, you are also keeping in mind a variety of political solutions. Please tell us your thoughts about what kind of approaches you think would be effective for changing China’s current behavior in the future. Furthermore, your diplomatic schedule is full of important events this month. Given that context, do you intend to engage in dialogue with China at a high level?

Minister Hayashi:As I stated previously, the Government of Japan considers it deeply regrettable that China has introduced measures to temporarily ban all imports of Japanese marine products in addition to its current import restriction measures. This is as I stated earlier.

As I myself directly and strongly urged in the meeting with Director Wang Yi in July, the safety of Japanese food products has been scientifically proven, and I intend to continue to take every opportunity to call for the prompt lifting of import restrictions that are not based on scientific evidence, including the recent measures.

Regarding high level dialogues with China, nothing has been decided at this point, but in any case, we intend to request China to take a calm and constructive response in order to build a “constructive and stable Japan-China relationship” through the efforts of both sides.

ALPS treated water (Remarks by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

NTV, Mori:Yesterday, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries NOMURA Tetsuro told a group of reporters at the Prime Minister’s official residence that ALPS treated water is “contaminated water,” and subsequently apologized and retracted the remark. Please tell us the reaction of the Government of Japan to something like this happening at a time when it is seeking the understanding of people inside and outside Japan regarding ALPS treated water.

Minister Hayashi:Regarding the fact that yesterday Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Nomura misspoke the word “treated water” in response to a question from a reporter, I am aware that Minister Nomura himself gave a full apology and retracted the remark last night.

That being said, Minister Nomura has stated that he will do his best, with a renewed sense of urgency, to implement necessary measures, standing by fishermen.

I would like to refrain from commenting any more from my position.

Actions by Russia in the Northern Territories

Hokkaido Shimbun, Araya:I would like to ask a question related to Russia. It is approaching September 3, which Russia has designated a memorial day called the Day of Victory over Militaristic Japan and the End of World War II. Russia has been using this name for the memorial day after amending its law this year, and plans to hold celebratory events in the Northern Territories, which it effectively controls, on September 3. In addition, it seems to be strengthening its moves for effective control, including switching on the Kaigara Island lighthouse in the Habomai Islands. Please tell us how you view these actions by Russia and how you intend to respond.

Minister Hayashi:Regarding the day of military glory, September 3 – the Day of Victory over Militaristic Japan and the End of World War II, which Russia renamed in June this year, I am aware that related events are planned in the Northern Territories and regions throughout Russia.

The Government of Japan will refrain from commenting on the details of these events, but regarding the renaming of the day to one of militaristic tendency by Russia, we have stated Japan’s position to Russia while urging Russia to take the appropriate response so that no useless emotional conflict is provoked between Russian and Japanese citizens.

Furthermore, the Government of Japan has confirmed the recent actions involving the lighthouse on Kaigara Island. Regarding a flag that appeared to be the national flag of Russia being raised over the lighthouse, we stated through diplomatic channels on August 2 and then again on August 25 that this is unacceptable in light of the Japan’s position concerning the Northern Territories issue.

The Government of Japan will continue to respond appropriately while closely monitoring moves by Russia in the Four Northern Islands.

Indictment of a Japanese man in China

Kyodo News, Ueda:I would like to ask about Japan-China relations. The Japanese man in his 50s who was arrested by the authorities in June last year in Shanghai City, China, was indicted in the middle of last month for the crime of harming national security. I would like to ask what information the Government of Japan has on this matter and what your future response will be.

Minister Hayashi:We have confirmed that the Japanese man in his 50s who was detained in Shanghai City in December 2021 for violating domestic Chinese law and was arrested in June 2022 was indicted in the middle of August this year.

From the perspective of protecting Japanese nationals, the Government of Japan has been providing as much support as possible, including consular meetings and contacting his family. Our policy is to continue to respond appropriately.

Furthermore, we have been strongly urging China on various occasions at various levels to realize his early release and ensure transparency in the judicial process, and we intend to continue this approach to China.

Back to Press Conferences