Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 3:50 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
United Nations Security Council Reform (UN General Assembly Resolution on the UN Security Council Veto)
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about the United Nations Security Council reform. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas-Greenfield announced that a UN General Assembly resolution is being prepared that would automatically convene a meeting of the UN General Assembly if a permanent member of the Security Council casts a veto. There are 38 co-sponsoring countries. Please tell us the position and basic view of the Government of Japan on this.
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: We are aware of the statement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thomas-Greenfield that the United States is a co-sponsoring country for the UN General Assembly resolution on the UN Security Council veto, which is being led by Liechtenstein and others.
Traditionally, Japan has believed that the exercise of the right of the veto by permanent members of the Security Council should generally be self-restrained to the maximum extent possible. From this perspective, for example, Japan supports the proposal by France and Mexico that the five permanent members of the Security Council should voluntarily restrain their exercise of the right of the veto in the case of mass atrocities.
Bearing this in mind, we are currently considering our response to the resolution led by Liechtenstein and others.
Announcement of ODA Results (Preliminary Figures) of Various Countries in 2021
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: Earlier, I received the press release on ODA earlier. Japan’s ODA has risen in rank to reach third among the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members, and the amount has risen too. Please tell us what is behind this in detail. Furthermore, what is your reaction to this and what do you plan to do about Japan’s ODA in the future?
Press Secretary Ono: As you pointed out, although these are preliminary figures, Japan’s ODA results for 2021 totaled $17.61890 billion, which was an 8.4% increase over the preceding fiscal year. The result was 1.9339 trillion yen on a yen basis, which was an 11.4% increase over the preceding fiscal year.
Although Japan’s ODA continuously ranked fourth in the world from 2015 to 2020, as you pointed out, our ODA rose in rank to third place after the United States and Germany in 2021.
In terms of the background to this, one main cause was the increase in contributions to international development financing organizations. Specifically, there was the matter of the three-year replenishment cycle of the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group.
Additionally, as part of Japan’s novel coronavirus response, another main cause was Japan’s increase in bilateral yen loans and other loan assistance, through the provision of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan toward maintaining and stimulating economic activity centered on the Asia-Pacific region in order to respond to the novel coronavirus crisis.
In terms of my reaction, as I stated before, the main cause was the increase in contributions to international development financing organizations. ODA will continue to be an extremely important policy tool for Japan’s diplomacy.
We recognize that needs for ODA are steadily increasing, including humanitarian assistance to respond to the increasingly tense international situation, such as the recent crisis in Ukraine, as well as support toward winding down the novel coronavirus.
Amidst this situation, we recognize that the increase in Japan’s ODA results compared to last year is important for promoting Japan’s foreign policy. We will firmly secure the necessary budget for ODA and endeavor to implement strategic and effective ODA.
The Situation in Ukraine (Statement by President Biden of the United States)
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: On April 12, President Biden of the United States stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “genocide.” Although he has been stating that it’s a war crime, what is the Government of Japan’s reaction to President Biden’s new use of the more explicit term “genocide”? Moreover, a considerable number of civilians have been killed by Russia. Does the Government of Japan recognize this as “genocide”? Please answer these two questions.
Press Secretary Ono: We are aware that President Biden of the United States condemned the invasion by the Russian forces using the term “genocide.” It has also been revealed according to the Government of Ukraine’s announcements as well as various reports that atrocities have been committed, such as the killing of a large number of innocent civilians in various parts of Ukraine, including Mariupol. The mass killing of innocent civilians is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. It is absolutely unforgivable and Japan vehemently condemns it.
Japan’s position is that the truth about these atrocities must be uncovered and Russia must be held strictly accountable.
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which prosecutes and punishes those who commit serious crimes such as genocide, has already begun an investigation, including on “genocide,” in cooperation with the Ukrainian side. Japan has high expectations for the progress of the investigation by the ICC Prosecutor.