Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Friday, March 26, 2021, 6:07 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Japan-Indonesia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and “2+2”

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: On Tuesday, March 30 next week, it is planned to hold an in-person Japan-Indonesia “2+2” in Tokyo. I also plan to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting with Foreign Minister Retno taking the opportunity of her visit to Japan. We are currently conducting coordination on the schedule and other details.

Through these meetings, I plan to share recognition regarding the increasingly severe regional security environment and discuss matters such as cooperation toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” centered on bilateral security and defense cooperation. That is all from me.

Issue of the Name “Sea of Japan” (Response of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command)

NHK, Yamamoto: The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command referred to the Sea of Japan as the “East Sea” in a statement regarding the ballistic missile launch by North Korea yesterday. It later corrected the name. What explanation has Japan received from the U.S. side on why the name “East Sea” was used?

Minister Motegi: It is my understanding that the U.S. side sent an email stating that the statement you mentioned has been corrected, and that there is no change to the United States’ position of using “Sea of Japan” as the only approved name for that geographic location. I therefore believe that Japan’s position has been correctly reflected. I have discussed this matter with the United States, but I would like to refrain from stating the details as this is diplomatic communication.

Resumption of Allowing New Entry into Japan by Foreign Nationals (Foreign Exchange Students)

Radio France, Nishimura: I would like to ask about border enforcement measures. I believe that the Government of Japan is taking special measures for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to allow entry into Japan by athletes, people related to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), foreign members of the press, VIPs, and others. Why have you not been able to take similar measures for exchange students through now? This concerns the futures of students who strongly wish to study in Japan. Is it not possible to allow entry into Japan by setting up operation of requirements such as strict quarantining? Please tell us your view.

Minister Motegi: While the situation of novel coronavirus infections has still not wound down in Japan, our policy thus far has been that it is necessary to carefully make decisions on resuming acceptance of new entry into Japan by foreign nationals based on matters such as infection conditions in Japan and overseas.

Additionally, for cases in which it is an emergency or it is in the public interest for a foreign national to newly enter Japan, our policy has been to make decisions on an individual basis with the prerequisite of fully taking infection control measures. Amidst this, we will conduct consideration on people related to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as foreign exchange students.

Human Rights Situation of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Statements by the Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Sankei Shimbun, Ishinabe: I would like to ask about the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. During her press conference yesterday, the Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs objected to Japan expressing its serious concerns about the human rights situation of the Uyghurs. She expressed criticism on whether Japan respects human rights by bringing up historical issues such as Yasukuni Shrine and the Nanking Incident. What are your thoughts on this, and how will the Government of Japan respond?

Minister Motegi: I do not comment on individual statements, such as those by foreign spokespersons, one by one from my position as Foreign Minister.

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