Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Friday, November 6, 2020, 6:18 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(photo) Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

U.S. Presidential Election (Concerns About a Political Vacuum)

NHK, YAMAMOTO: In regard to the U.S. presidential election, the result has still not been established and it is being pointed out that determination of the result might be further delayed. Are there not any concerns about matters such as the security field due to the creation of a political vacuum in the United States? Please tell us your thoughts.

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, in regard to the presidential election, the work to count the ballots is still continuing in six states: Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia. It is a close race as expected beforehand. I believe it is difficult to say anything about the future effects, including the timing of when the result will be determined, based on speculation at this stage.

However, in any event, firstly the Japan-U.S. Alliance is the linchpin of Japan’s diplomacy. Regardless of the election result, there will be no change to the strong Japan-U.S. Alliance, and we will closely cooperate with the United States on efforts to strengthen it.

Additionally, you mentioned a political vacuum, but it is not the case that the presidential election ended on November 3 and President Trump stepped down. His administration is still continuing now. I am certain that a political vacuum will not arise and that the government is functioning.

U.S. Presidential Election (Protection of Japanese Nationals)

Sankei Shimbun, ISHINABE: Concerning the presidential election, some people are pointing out disorder such as clashes between supporters of the candidates and riots. I believe that protecting Japanese nationals will be important from that perspective. Can you please tell us if MOFA is considering anything for its response?

Minister MOTEGI: I am not aware of the occurrence of any major disorder or trouble at the current stage. In any event, there are many Japanese nationals residing in the United States as well as Japanese companies that have entered the U.S. market. We will exert all efforts to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and companies in various ways. In that sense and others, we will continue to monitor the developments concerning the election with interest.

Japan-North Korea Negotiations and the Tokyo Olympic Games

Asahi Shimbun, ABE: Prime Minister Suga stated at the meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors yesterday that he believes next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games will be a good opportunity for Japan-North Korea negotiations. He has been stating his determination to meet with Chairman Kim without conditions. Does he perceive the Tokyo Olympic Games as being such an opportunity?

Minister MOTEGI: I believe he probably did not use such phrasing. What I heard during the meeting was that he answered that he would pursue all opportunities to meet with Chairman Kim without conditions. In response to a question about whether he would take the opportunity of the Games if it arose, he said he would.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, MORISHITA: I would like to ask about the RCEP. If an agreement is reached without India, what degree of economic results do you think there will be?

Minister MOTEGI: I do not answer speculative questions.

China’s Coast Guard Law

Asahi Shimbun, ABE: China has announced its draft law that would allow its Coast Guard ships to use weapons. I believe this could further increase tensions concerning the Senkaku Islands. How will the Government of Japan respond?

Minister MOTEGI: A new record has been set for the amount of entry into Japan’s territorial waters and navigation in Japan’s contiguous zone in the ocean area near the Senkaku Islands by Chinese vessels. Incidents are also repeatedly occurring in which Chinese vessels navigate close to Japanese fishing boats. I believe it is truly regrettable that these unilateral attempts to change the status quo are continuing. Also, we will firmly respond to this issue while cooperating with the Japan Coast Guard and others.
In any event, we will continue to respond firmly but in a calm manner to resolutely defend our territorial land, sea, and airspace.

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