Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko

Wednesday, March 30, 2022, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Release of “Diplomacy” Vol. 72

Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: I have one announcement. Tomorrow, on March 31, we plan to release “Diplomacy” Vol. 72. This volume is a special edition on the situation in Ukraine with the title “Special Edition: Shock Wave of the Invasion of Ukraine.”

Specifically, this volume considers the overall effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the future international order, including views of experts on Russia and world politics as well as views of companies and the United States, analysis based on the historical background, politics, the economy, and the military, and the effects on the Indo-Pacific region. In addition, the volume publishes consecutive articles for 2022, the important year marking the 70th anniversary of the entry into force of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.

Due to the increasing interest in the situation in Ukraine, tomorrow we plan to release the entire text of Vol. 72 online which can be viewed free of charge without a time limit. We hope you will read it and widely introduce it to other people. That is all from me.

The Situation in Ukraine (Spelling and Name of Kiev)

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: I would like to ask about the situation in Ukraine. Firstly, you are coordinating with the Government of Ukraine regarding the spelling of “Kiev.” Please tell us the status of coordination and whether there is an outlook on changing the spelling going forward.

Press Secretary Ono: As stated, including by Foreign Minister Hayashi in his press conference yesterday, the Government of Japan already uses Katakana spellings based on the Ukrainian language spellings for the names of places in Ukraine, with the exception of Kiev City and other such places whose commonly-used spellings have already taken hold to a considerable degree.

Additionally, MOFA is currently engaged in a diligent consideration of the appropriate spelling and name for Kiev used by the Government of Japan, including coordination with the Government of Ukraine.

The Situation in Ukraine (Ceasefire Negotiations between Russia and Ukraine)

Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: I would like to ask about the situation in Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia conducted ceasefire negotiations yesterday. It is being said that there was progress for the first time. President Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is prepared to be neutral and there are various reports about a new security framework. Please tell us MOFA’s reaction and assessment of the recent ceasefire consultations.

Press Secretary Ono: I am aware that as you pointed out, Russia and Ukraine made various proposals to each other during the ceasefire negotiations on March 29. In addition, both countries made certain concessions and Russia indicated that it would greatly reduce its military operations in the vicinity of the capital city of Kiev and other areas.

On the other hand, it is still unclear whether this will lead to a concrete ceasefire. For example, President Biden of the United States stated that there is a need to monitor whether Russia follows through with what they are suggesting. In addition, several people related to the Government of the United States have stated their view that Russia is merely repositioning its forces instead of withdrawing from Ukraine.

Japan believes it is important that this leads to a concrete ceasefire as quickly as possible. In addition, we will continue to monitor the developments of the situation with great concern, and quickly and steadily implement all forms of support towards Ukraine, as already announced.

In any event, what is important is to stop the Russian invasion as quickly as possible and make them withdraw their forces. To achieve this end, we believe that it is extremely important for the international community to cooperate and take strong measures against Russia.

Under this recognition, Japan will continue to appropriately respond in cooperation with the G7 and others based on the situation going forward.

Assumption of the Position of the New President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) by Dr. TANAKA Akihiko

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: I would like to ask about the new President of JICA. From April, Dr. TANAKA Akihiko, President of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), will again assume the position of President of JICA. This will be his second tenure as President, but the circumstances surrounding aid have changed in various ways, including factors such as Ukraine and the novel coronavirus. Please share with us MOFA’s expectations for Dr. Tanaka.

Press Secretary Ono: As stated, the Government of Japan decided on March 25 to appoint Dr. TANAKA Akihiko to be the President of JICA from April 1.

I know that Dr. Tanaka has the experience and deep insight into development cooperation, and has the ability to build relations at the summit level with foreign countries.

Dr. Tanaka has also long served as the head of the editorial committee of “Diplomacy,” which I introduced in my opening remarks. MOFA has also received his insight in various ways.

We have great expectations for Dr. Tanaka to make JICA even more dynamic and active while leveraging his intuition with an excellent balance of practical, onsite, and academic experience.

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