Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki

Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks - The 14th Japan International MANGA Award Winner Announcement

Mr. YOSHIDA Tomoyuki, Press Secretary: I have one announcement. I believe the related materials have been distributed to you. The winners of the 14th Japan International MANGA Award have been decided, and I would like to announce them.

The Japan International MANGA Award is given annually by MOFA to MANGA artists who have contributed to the promotion of MANGA culture overseas and international cultural exchanges through MANGA.

This year marks its 14th anniversary and we have received 383 entries, the most ever, from 61 countries and regions. Due to COVID-19, it was difficult for many applicants to submit their MANGA in printed form. Therefore we decided to accept electronic submissions for the first time, and it resulted in the record-high number of entries to the award, breaking the previous record of the second award, which had been the highest for a long time.

As a result of the impartial judging by the selection committee conducted last month, Funeral Director by Weili Joming of Taiwan was selected for the Gold Award. In addition, a total of 15 works were given awards, including Silver Awards for three works. Many works from Taiwan, where MANGA culture has taken root, have entered and won awards. This time, Taiwan had the highest number of entries, and a Taiwanese won the Gold Award for the first time.

Materials have been prepared with the summaries of the respective works, so you can read them there. They are also introduced on the MOFA website, the Japan International MANGA Award website, Facebook, and other sources, so please read them.

The award presentation ceremony for the 14th Japan International MANGA Award is planned to be held next February in an online format for the first time.

Although there is still no outlook on the novel coronavirus winding down, MANGA is Japanese culture that can be enjoyed by many people indoors. Also, in many countries and regions, MANGA sparks interest in Japanese culture and the Japanese language. From this perspective, we will continue to further promote and welcome the spread of MANGA. That is all from me.

The 14th Japan International MANGA Award Winner (Award Ceremony)

Mainichi Shimbun, TADOKORO: In relation to the Japan International MANGA Award, if we look at the previous presentation of awards, I believe that the winners gathered at the venue and interacted. I believe that there may be parts and aspects that are lost due to the award ceremony being online. Can you please tell us if there are any creative ideas to make up for this under the online format?

Press Secretary YOSHIDA: As you pointed out, basically through now the Gold Award winner, which I introduced about, and Silver Award winners have been invited to Japan. The award ceremony and reception have been held at the Iikura Guest House and essentially hosted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Because the situation this year is as stated, we thought it would be difficult to invite the winners to Japan, and presume that the award ceremony will be held in an online format. We would like Foreign Minister Motegi to host the ceremony as much as possible. However, the format will be completely different from usual, so we will conduct coordination on how to conduct the ceremony while inquiring about what would be convenient for the attendees.

Especially because these are award winners, we would like to come up with an idea to properly communicate that inside and outside Japan in a way that will be memorable for the award winners. However, we are at the stage of conducting coordination on matters such as the format, so please excuse me for being unable to say anything specific now.

Countries Participating in the G7 Summit

TV Asahi, SATO: The Government of the United Kingdom has expressed interest in inviting India, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Australia to participate as guests at the next G7 Summit. Please tell us what the Government of Japan’s expectations are for holding the Summit under a “G7 plus others” framework, as well as what the Government’s aim for the Summit would be.

Press Secretary YOSHIDA: The United Kingdom will hold the G7 Presidency next year. I am aware that on December 15, the Government of the United Kingdom announced that it would like to invite the three countries you just mentioned to attend the G7 Summit next year. We received an explanation and communication from the Government of the United Kingdom through the “Sherpa route” in advance.

On the other hand, basically the country that holds the G7 Presidency decides on how to conduct invitations, including the ones for the three countries of Australia, India, and the ROK this time. We respect those decisions, but the Government of Japan has believed thus far that it is essential to maintain the G7 framework, and the other G7 members have shared this viewpoint.

The country holding the G7 Presidency also decides the theme for the Summit as well as the agenda to be focused on. I believe we will probably be consulted on this.

In any event, as the Summit was quite limited in its format this year due to the novel coronavirus, Japan will cooperate with the United Kingdom to help make the G7 Summit next year fruitful and play an important role in overcoming the current situation of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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