Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Sunday, August 22, 2021, 3:34 p.m. Iran
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Since my previous press conference, I have visited Turkey, Iraq, and now I am in Iran. Tomorrow, I plan to head to Qatar, the final destination of my visit to the Middle East.
To begin with, in regard to the current situation in Afghanistan, between Turkey and also Iran, which are both major powers in the Middle East with strong ties to Afghanistan, as well as between Iraq, which is located in a geopolitically important area, I was able to agree to cooperate so that instability does not spread further. I believe that I was able to have meaningful exchange of views regarding the current affairs.
In terms of individual countries, in Turkey, I paid a courtesy call on President Erdogan and met with Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu. We confirmed that Japan and Turkey will further strengthen the wide-ranging bilateral relations covering politics, economy, and culture, since we are “strategic partners” based on the friendly relations spanning more than 130 years. We also agreed to establish a dialogue on maritime issues between Japan and Turkey to discuss various issues, including the international order based on the rule of law.
Although I chose note to announce in advance due to safety reasons, yesterday I visited Iraq as the first Japanese foreign minister to do so in 15 years. It had been 18 years since I last visited Iraq. I reemphasized that Japan will continue its support toward realizing peace and stability in Iraq. I also confirmed cooperation toward easing regional tensions, and urged Iraq to work to ensure safety and improve the environment in order to support the efforts of Japanese companies operating in Iraq.
As for my visit to Iran, the new president was just inaugurated early this month. I exchanged views with President Raisi and others as the first foreign dignitary from a major developed country and from Asia to have a meeting in-person. We confirmed that Japan and Iran will strengthen our traditional friendly relations. I also urged Iran to return to adhering to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and for Iran to contribute as a major regional power toward easing tensions in the Middle East and stabilizing the situation. Foreign Minister-designate Amir Abdollahian attended my courtesy call on the Speaker of the Islamic Parliament of Iran. He is now at the Islamic Parliament to be approved as the Foreign Minister. I am scheduled to hold a meeting with him afterwards.
Regarding Qatar which I will visit later, I will take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Qatar to strengthen relations in economic aspect, including the stable supply of LNG and more, as well as in political and security sphere.
Amidst major developments in the Middle East affairs, I reemphasized to all the countries I visited Japan’s commitment to the Middle East, as we have contributed to the peace and prosperity of the Middle East for many years and built robust relations with various countries and regions. In addition, I confirmed the importance of an international order based on the rule of law toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” I also exchanged views regarding the situation in Afghanistan with countries that have various relations with Afghanistan. I believe that this was a meaningful visit.
Reporter: You mentioned that you agreed with Iran, Turkey, and Iraq about not allowing the spread of factors causing instability regarding the situation in Afghanistan. What discussions did you have on the form of future cooperation between Japan and those three countries, and what could be considered?
Minister Motegi: The three countries you mentioned have various channels to Afghanistan, including the Taliban. We shared our respective concerns about the current situation in Afghanistan, and agreed to coordinate so that factors causing instability do not spread further. As stated, the situation is currently shifting moment by moment, and I believe various forms of coordination are possible going forward. I agreed with each country that we would coordinate appropriately in a timely manner.