Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko
Monday, September 18, 2023, 11:01 p.m. New York
Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs:Over the next five days, I will be taking part in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-level Week, exchanging views at various meetings and fora with many countries and participants. I intend to confirm Japan’s close cooperation with the respective countries for maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order based on the rule of law and resolving issues facing the international community, including the SDGs.
At the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting earlier, we discussed the situation in Ukraine, and reaffirmed our coordination on our resolute responses to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and our support to Ukraine as well as our responses to food and energy security. In addition, we exchanged views on China and the Indo-Pacific region. I also appreciated the understanding and positive messaging of the G7 members on the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, and the G7 members welcomed Japan’s efforts. We agreed that we would continue our close cooperation.
Additionally, we determined that we would hold an in-person G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting from November 7 to 8 in Tokyo. Japan will continue to fully fulfill its role as this year’s G7 Presidency.
Today, Secretary of State Blinken of the United States and I held our first Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in person following our telephone meeting last week. We confirmed that we would further deepen our cooperation to elevate the Japan-U.S. Alliance, which is now stronger than ever before, to an even higher level. At the meeting, we candidly exchanged views with regard to the many issues facing the international society, and concurred on continuing to work closely together in addressing the issues. In addition, we concurred to further cooperate in the security and economic fields.
Furthermore, Director General Grossi and I signed the Memorandum of Cooperation between Japan and the IAEA on IAEA Monitoring and Assessment Activities concerning the ALPS-Treated Water Discharges at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Following the signing, I held a meeting with Director General Grossi. We confirmed that Japan will continue to explain the safety of ALPS treated water both domestically and internationally in a highly transparent manner based on scientific evidence and to work closely with the IAEA based on the Memorandum of Cooperation.
I also held a meeting with Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Cleverly of the United Kingdom. I stated that the importance of the UK to Japan is unchanging, and that Japan attaches importance to the collaboration with the UK, which is its “global strategic partner.” In addition, we concurred on further enhancing Japan-UK relations in a range of areas, including security, on the basis of the “Japan-UK Hiroshima Accord.”
Furthermore, I held a meeting with Brazil’s Foreign Minister Vieira, and we confirmed that Japan and Brazil will continue to strengthen cooperation as “strategic global partners,” and that we will work together towards the G20 Rio de Janeiro Summit next year, building on the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit. In addition, we welcomed the commencement of the mutual exemption of short-stay visas. We also concurred on stimulating people-to-people exchange toward next year, when the G20 Rio de Janeiro Summit will be held, and the year after that, the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Brazil.
Tomorrow, Prime Minister Kishida will arrive in New York before noon and deliver a general debate speech in the evening. Throughout this visit, Japan will strive to further contribute to the peace and security of the international community as a UN Security Council (UNSC) member and the G7 Presidency and increase the presence of Japanese diplomacy.
That is all from me.
Reporter: I would like to ask about the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. This was your first time attending the meeting following your appointment, and you also represented the G7 Presidency. Could you please share with us your candid impression or view of the meeting? In addition, could you tell us if the recent summit meeting between North Korea and Russia was on the agenda of today’s meeting? If it was, please tell us what was discussed.
Minister Kamikawa:The G7 Foreign Ministers are working together more closely than ever before and are meeting frequently to address the urgent issues facing the international community, including the situation in Ukraine. As the Chair, I was able to hold frank and in-depth discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine, China, and the Indo-Pacific region, among other matters. Today’s G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was the first opportunity for me to join the G7 community. The other G7 Foreign Ministers gave me a very warm welcome. I was able to develop personal relationships with them, calling each other by our first names. It is important to maintain and strengthen such relationships. As this year’s G7 Presidency, Japan will continue its efforts leading up to the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo in November and will lead the discussions among the G7 Foreign Ministers. Today’s Foreign Ministers’ Meeting strongly reinforced this commitment in me.
As for the details of the discussions, I will refrain from disclosing them. Regarding Russia-North Korea relations, the G7 Foreign Ministers shared concerns that the Russia-North Korea cooperation could lead to violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and could also undermine peace and security of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Furthermore, I appreciated the understanding and positive messaging of the G7 members on the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, and the G7 members welcomed Japan’s efforts. The G7 Foreign Ministers agreed that we would continue our close cooperation.
Reporter:You are attending the UNGA, a major event, barely one week since your appointment. During your upcoming schedule, in what ways do you intend to reflect your own style in the foreign ministership?
Minister Kamikawa:As I stated in my opening remarks, I held bilateral meetings with my counterparts from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil shortly after arriving in New York. In addition, at my meeting with IAEA Director General Grossi, I once again explained Japan’s position on the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, and we confirmed to continue to work closely on this matter. Furthermore, I attended the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting for the first time. There, I served as Chair, a significant role, and I found it very meaningful that we were able to hold frank and in-depth discussions on the situation in Ukraine and a range of other issues. From tomorrow onwards, I will be holding yet more bilateral meetings with my counterparts from various countries. I hope to build relationships of trust through these meetings and make these meetings worthwhile. In this way, reflecting on today’s events has given me renewed enthusiasm for tomorrow. I will also be attending various other meetings, such as the Ministerial Meeting of the G4 Countries on UNSC Reform, the Preparatory Ministerial Meeting for the Summit of the Future, and the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network High-level Side Event. While fully understanding the mission of each of these meetings, I will also fulfil my own mission of showcasing Japan’s intention to further contribute to the peace and security of the international community and to lead the international community as a UNSC member and the G7 Presidency.