Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Saturday, September 9, 2023, 4:11 p.m. Kyiv, Ukraine

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

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter:In your opinion, what were the outcomes of your visit to Ukraine, including in terms of future security cooperation and the reconstruction of Ukraine? I also would like to ask what kinds of consultations you specifically have in mind for reaching a bilateral agreement between Japan and Ukraine.

Minister Hayashi:I visited Kyiv and Bucha as Chair of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I saw the situation with my own eyes, listened directly to the people affected, and was able to hold an in-depth exchange of views and confirm our cooperation on bringing about a just and lasting peace in Ukraine as soon as possible. In addition, President Zelenskyy and I confirmed to commence negotiations as early as possible for creating a bilateral document based on the Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine issued by the G7 and Ukraine. Furthermore, to promote recovery and reconstruction in Ukraine, Japan will develop its organizational structure, that is, reopening JICA Ukraine Field Office and establishing the Office for Promotion of Ukraine’s Economic Reconstruction at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I visited Ukraine with representatives of the private sector, and Japan and Ukraine confirmed to cooperate toward its recovery and reconstruction. Those were the significant outcomes.

Japan will host the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Reconstruction sometime early next year, as part of our initiatives for the medium and long term recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine. As such, representatives from the Japanese private sector accompanied me on this visit to see the situation in Ukraine firsthand and exchange views with Ukrainian dignitaries. This was extremely significant as a starting point for Japanese companies to deepen their involvement in the recovery and reconstruction.

Regarding the bilateral document on support for Ukraine, we plan to commence negotiations as early as possible at a mutually convenient time. Japan intends to coordinate the details of the document with Ukraine, taking into account our support for Ukraine thus far and Ukraine’s efforts for its reform.

Reporter:You are the first Japanese Foreign Minister to visit Ukraine since Russia’s aggression began last February. To date, you have condemned Russia’s aggression as “an outrageous act that shakes the very foundation of the international order.” Now, having caught a firsthand glimpse of it in Bucha, could you first share your candid impressions with us? Additionally, I believe a G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held by the end of this year. Please tell us how Japan, as the G7 Presidency, will lead the G7’s discussions on dealing with Russia, supporting Ukraine, and other matters, building on this series of diplomatic efforts and visits?

Minister Hayashi:Today, I arrived in Ukraine and soon afterwards visited Bucha. I saw with my own eyes the vivid scars left by Russia’s aggression, listened directly to the people affected, and witnessed firsthand Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, an outrageous act that shakes the very foundation of the international order. I saw and heard about this extremely shocking situation firsthand, which made us wonder how anyone could do such things to their fellow human beings. Such tragedy made my determination stronger that Japan must stand alongside Ukraine until peace returns to the beautiful land of Ukraine.

Japan reiterates its strong condemnation of Russia’s aggression, which infringes upon Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and constitutes an outrageous act in violation of international law and is totally unacceptable. We will continue to strongly urge Russia to stop the aggression and withdraw its forces to Russian territory immediately.

We were able to conduct an in-depth exchange of views with the Ukrainian side and confirm cooperation to realize a just and lasting peace in Ukraine as soon as possible. It is critical that the G7 continues to unite in maintaining severe sanctions against Russia and providing strong support for Ukraine. We will continue to show leadership as the G7 Presidency.

Reporter:As it is currently difficult for Japan to supply weapons to Ukraine, which limits the ways that Japan can provide support, could you tell us specifically what support the Government of Japan can or should provide? In addition, while there is a growing call for private sector involvement in supporting Ukraine, civilian access to Ukraine is still restricted. What private sector support do you think is possible in this context?

Minister Hayashi:Russia’s aggression, an outrageous act, has created various support needs in Ukraine, which are not limited to military and defense areas. These needs include mine clearance and debris removal, which are prerequisites for various activities, as well as responses to Russia’s attacks on infrastructure and efforts to support the recovery and reform of Ukraine’s economic activities. To meet these needs and support the medium and long term recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, Japan will provide strong support focusing on the following areas: 1) mine action and debris removal; 2) livelihood reconstruction including the provision of basic infrastructure, such as electricity; 3) recovery of agricultural production and promotion of industries; and 4) strengthening democracy and governance.

As the recommendation for evacuation is still in place, how to enhance private sector involvement remains a significant challenge. The Government of Japan has made various efforts, including providing insurance through Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and hosting the Ukraine-Japan Public-Private Roundtable in London. Under these circumstances, Japanese corporate representatives, though limited in number, accompanied me on this visit, and saw the situation in Ukraine firsthand and exchanged views directly with Ukrainian dignitaries, members of the private sector, and others. We consider this a starting point for deepening Japanese companies’ involvement in the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, and it was extremely significant.

Building on the outcomes achieved by having representatives of the private sector accompany me this time, we intend to make vigorous efforts to further deepen private sector involvement and implement tangible public-private support for Ukraine.

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