Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Friday, December 17, 2021, 5:55 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

FY2022 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Structural Request (Placement of a Senior Coordinator for Maritime and Taiwan Affairs)

Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about MOFA’s structural request. According to the announcement, MOFA will establish a new position of senior coordinator in charge of Taiwan affairs. Could you please tell us your thoughts on the objectives and significance of this decision?

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: As we have seen a significant increase in the amount of the administrative tasks concerning maritime issues between China and issues related to Taiwan affairs, the Government of Japan is requesting placement of one senior coordinator in charge of maritime and Taiwan affairs in the First China and Mongolia Division of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau in the FY2022 structural request. We have made this request so that MOFA can engage in information collection and analysis, policymaking, and external communications flexibly.

While strengthening the structure of MOFA in this way, the Government of Japan believes that, in responding to China, we should resolutely say what needs to be said and request China to take responsible actions, while cooperating with countries with which we share universal values, such as the United States and EU countries, and utilizing all high-level opportunities. At the same time, we would like to continue to hold dialogues with China and cooperate on various common challenges.

As I have just mentioned, we are still in the process of requesting this position at the moment. No details have been decided on the position including its official title.

Border Measures (Omicron Variant: Suspension of New Entry of Foreign Nationals)

Nikkei Shimbun, Miki: I would like to ask about the border measures. Currently, I believe that the Government of Japan suspended the new entry of foreign nationals since November 30 for about one month, due to the effect of the Omicron variant.

According to the Director of the Foreign Affairs Division of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), members of the Foreign Affairs Division requested the extension of the border measures beyond the initial one-month period during this morning’s Division meeting, and in response, MOFA explained that they are currently considering the extension of the period.

Please tell us the current state of considerations by MOFA regarding border measures including the possibility of an extension.

Minister Hayashi: Any decisions regarding the border measures are made by the Government of Japan. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kishida stated in the Diet that the government would have to continue responding carefully to the situation until the real picture and the degree of risks from the Omicron variant could be predicted to a certain extent.

At this point, nothing has been decided yet.

Discussions Over the Emergency Clause of the Japanese Constitution

Independent Web Journal, Kihara: On December 9 and 10, President Biden of the United States held the Summit for Democracy, inviting leaders from 110 countries and regions in the world, and Prime Minister Kishida attended the meeting. While Prime Minister Kishida describes freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental human rights as shared universal values among democratic countries, the Kishida administration of the LDP is proceeding to introduce an emergency clause through a constitutional revision.

The draft emergency clause proposed by the LDP has no restrictions and establishes no time period or cancellation conditions, and therefore creates a powerful dictatorship, which can be described as a combination of the provision regarding national emergency and the Enabling Act of Nazi Germany. If this draft proposal is realized, then Japan will lose freedom, legislative power by the Diet, democracy, the rule of law and human rights under a cabinet dictatorship. The current Kishida administration of the LDP as well as the Komeito, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), and the Democratic Party for the People, who all support this draft emergency clause, will become ineligible to take part in the Summit for Democracy and will have to join the authoritarian state side instead. Is it correct to understand that both the Kishida administration, the LDP, and the government are engaging in this matter with such intentions?

Furthermore, what is the purpose of forcibly rushing to establish this “frantic” clause? Is it a preparation in the case of Taiwan emergency, or in other words, when China and the United States start a war revolving on Taiwan, for Japan to voluntarily participate in the war? Please tell us the reason. Thank you.

Minister Hayashi: Many countries and regions that share the importance of democracy and work to realize it attended the recent summit meeting, and these countries confirmed the formation of democracy with each other. I understand that this summit is significant as a place to support initiatives around the world, including those by both participating and non-participating countries.

As you have mentioned, Prime Minister Kishida stated that like-minded countries must unite to respond to actions that would damage universal values, such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, with one shared voice.

Regarding the latter half of your question, I am not sure if I fully understood what you meant. According to you, however, it is an activity of political parties. Thus, I would like to refrain from commenting on this matter.

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