Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 9:43 p.m. Italy
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I think it is quite early in the morning in Japan. The time difference between Japan and Italy is seven hours, and it is now 40 minutes past the hour. Today, the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held from 10 a.m. local time, which was followed by the G20 joint Foreign and Development Ministerial Meeting and the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting. These series of meetings just ended. I believe we were able to have a full day of fruitful discussions.
An in-person G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held for the first time in two years since the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting which I hosted in Nagoya the year before last under the Presidency of Japan. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we shared the view that the G20 will lead the recovery from COVID-19 through coordinated efforts. In between today’s meetings, I held meetings with Foreign Minister Di Maio of Italy, the G20 Presidency, as well as Secretary of State Blinken of the United States, Foreign Secretary Raab of the United Kingdom, and the foreign ministers of Indonesia, the Netherlands, Brunei, and Rwanda, respectively.
First, at this morning’s session among foreign ministers, the main theme was multilateralism and global governance. I made comments regarding COVID-19 and climate change, the top priorities which the international community faces. Specifically, I introduced the outcomes of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit held recently as well as Japan’s initiatives. Then I called on the G20 members to make further efforts.
I also noted that the G20 should further discuss about development financing, which is expected to increase in the recovery process, and about rulemaking for free and fair trade.
At the working lunch, we discussed development in Africa. I introduced three initiatives by Japan that support African-led development, namely, support for the establishment of health and medical systems, encouragement of businesses with Africa, and assistance for strengthening connectivity under the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” vision. I also expressed Japan’s intention to work with the G20 members as well as other relevant countries and organizations in contributing to the realization of a vibrant Africa, leading up to the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) that will be held next year.
The afternoon session was a meeting that brought together the G20 foreign and development ministers. We discussed the theme of food security. A lively discussion took place from the perspective of achieving Zero Hunger and building sustainable food systems. In this field, Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit on December 7 and 8 this year. We plan to compile an action guideline for the international community for improving nutrition.
Today’s closing session was the G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting where we exchanged views regarding financing for sustainable development, among other issues. It is essential to diversify sources of funds to fill the financing gap. Against this backdrop, I noted the importance of the G20 taking the lead in complying with international rules on development finance and ensuring transparency of development flows.
I believe we were able to deepen the discussion on a wide range of themes and share viewson many points ahead of the G20 Summit in autumn.
Reporter: You stated that, at Session 2 today, the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, you expressed Japan’s intention to provide support for strengthening connectivity in Africa and other assistance under the FOIP vision. Could you please tell us once again the significance of Japan to emphasize and highlight FOIP at international forums like this?
Minister Motegi: I made my remarks, recognizing the significance of communicating at this G20 forum about the FOIP concept and the various cooperation in progress under this concept.
Reporter: At today’s G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, I believe you made proposals regarding the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and transparency of development finance. What was the reaction of the members to Japan’s proposals? To the extent that you can, could you also tell us your thoughts toward the summit in October?
Minister Motegi: I believe the G20 has a shared recognition that WTO reform is an urgent issue. Going forward, development finance will increase in the COVID-19 recovery and other such processes. It is critical to provide development finance based on rules and to increase transparency. Basically, we have a shared view regarding this. We need to further deepen the discussion as to how we will exactly go about this.
Reporter: If I may just confirm, while the G20 is a meeting mainly about the economy, did any discussion take place on the human rights issue related to Hong Kong or the Uyghur people in China?
Minister Motegi: Today began with the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which was followed by the joint meeting with development ministers and the Development Ministers’ Meeting. Their content is as I stated in my opening remarks.