Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Thursday, December 17, 2020, 11:07 a.m. Central Entrance Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The FY2021 budget formulation process is proceeding now. Formulation of MOFA’s budget has been completed favorably.
The budget negotiations with Finance Minister Aso have been conducted. Two budgetary provisions were approved during the negotiations.
The first was securing a budget of about 8.7 billion yen for strengthening treatment and healthcare systems and other related matters in developing countries amidst the novel coronavirus crisis. It is also for specific measures for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” which I and others have been developing over the past year, and for matters related to the economy and security which have become important.
The second provision was on the necessity of ensuring seamless diplomatic and consular work amidst the novel coronavirus crisis. For this, various aspects such as diplomatic procedures and charter planes must be ensured. At the same time, remote work must be increased, digitalization must progress, and accompanying security measures must be strengthened. We have also had to work to rescue Japanese nationals following the spread of the novel coronavirus.
This year, we have ultimately realized the safe repatriation of over 12,000 Japanese nationals from 101 countries, beginning with the repatriation operations from Wuhan. We must continue to firmly advance ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals and our responses to emergency situations. As we must strengthen our system, 800 million yen has been approved for this.
While utilizing this budget, we will further promote our important policies and “diplomacy with both tolerance and strength.”
Reporter: You mentioned during your opening remarks that there is a budget provision for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” Can you please tell us what specifically it is for?
Minister MOTEGI: We share various concepts concerning a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” such as freedom, freedom of navigation, and the rule of law, with various countries. The FY2021 budget provision is for conducting necessary projects regarding this with various countries, as well as some multilateral projects.