Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 3:59 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Appointment of the Representative of the Government of Japan to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: Today, I would like to make one announcement regarding the appointment of the Representative of the Government of Japan to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Government of Japan decided to appoint Mr. SHIMMURA Izuru, Consul-General of Japan in Jeddah as the first Representative of the Government of Japan to the OIC.

The OIC is a regional organization including57 Islamic countries and regions, which conducts activities in a wide range of areas including in the Middle East Peace Process, as well as on violent extremism not only in the Middle East region but also in other parts of the world and in strengthening the relationships between Islamic countries and the rest of the world.

Japan has been making efforts to strengthen relations and cooperation with the OIC, through regular exchanges of views with the Secretary General of the OIC.

Currently, G7 and many other major countries have appointed a representative or special envoy to the OIC, and has been holding regular high-level consultations. In addition, they have been putting efforts to strengthen relations with the OIC and related countries on a daily basis in Jeddah.

Based on this situation, Japan has also appointed Consul-General Shimmura as the Representative of the Government of Japan to the OIC from the perspective of strengthening Japan’s diplomatic activities in Jeddah, where the OIC’s headquarters is located.

We hope that the appointment of the Representative of Japan to the OIC will further strengthen Japan’s relationship with the OIC, as well as with Islamic countries. That is all from me.

Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference

Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: I would like to ask about the online Japan-China foreign ministers’ consultation held this morning. Today’s online consultation was held for the first time in six months, and I have heard that it was proposed by the Japanese side. Please tell us the reason for the proposal from the Japanese side proposing at this timing.

Press Secretary Ono: The meeting was held at this timing as the result of coordination between the two sides based on the current situation in which communication between the diplomatic authorities of Japan and China has become even more important, in the context of major changes in global affairs, including the situations in Ukraine and North Korea. As you pointed out, Japan proposed holding the meeting against such a backdrop.

Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting and Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Summit Meeting

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: President Biden will visit Japan from this weekend. What would Japan like to encourage and communicate through these major meetings, the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting and the Quad Summit Meeting?

Press Secretary Ono: This will be President Biden’s first visit to Japan since 2013, when he visited Japanese Vice President. The Government of Japan sincerely welcomes his first visit to Japan since his inauguration as President.

The Japan-U.S. Alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy and security policy, as well as the foundation of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the international community. As the international order has been hit by a major shock due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a unilateral change of the status quo by force, it is extremely important to confirm close cooperation in all aspects, including further strengthening of the Japan-U.S. Alliance and working towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” in order to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, especially in East Asia. We expect that President Biden’s visit to Japan will be an opportunity to show the determination of Japan and the United States both in and outside Japan.

I would like to refrain from speculating about the agenda and specific content of the consultations at this point. However, I assume that the leaders of Japan and the United States will hold candid and in-person discussions regarding matters of shared importance such as security, regional affairs including the situation in Ukraine, the economy, and global issues. I also assume that through these discussions, the relationship of trust between the two leaders will further deepen, and that close cooperation on all issues will be confirmed, including efforts to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. Alliance and towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

In addition, as regard to the Quad meeting among Japan, Australia, India, and the United States, Prime Minister Kishida plans to hold the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. Summit Meeting on May 24 in Tokyo. The efforts of the Quad are now playing a central role in promoting a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” and have been particularly promoting practical cooperation in fields such as vaccines, infrastructure, as well as critical and emerging technologies. Leveraging the fact that the upcoming meeting will be held in-person, we would like it to be an opportunity for the leaders to hold a candid exchange of views regarding the international and regional affairs, and an opportunity for Japan to show the world its powerful commitment to cooperating towards the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Regarding the meeting, I would like to refrain from speaking about the agenda and specific content of the meeting at this point. However, I believe that Japan will make a strong appeal that unilateral changes of the status quo by force, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, must not occur in any region, and it is important to further promote efforts to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” amidst the current situation.

Mainichi Shimbun, Kusakabe: In relation to what you have just stated, I believe that there has always been a recognition that the invasion of Ukraine is also relevant to Asia, and that coordination on matters such as policies toward China be discussed during the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting. Please tell us the expectations you have for the recognition of China and how policies toward China would be coordinated at the upcoming meeting.

Press Secretary Ono: As I stated earlier, this will be President Biden’s first visit to Japan since 2013, and we expect that through candid and in-depth discussions on various fields, the leaders will further deepen their relationship of trust and confirm close cooperation on further strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance as well as efforts toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

In regard to Japan-China relations, as mentioned in the question earlier, the Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference was held today. As Foreign Minister Hayashi stated in the video conference, while Japan and China are neighboring countries, there have been various issues between them. Amidst this, our basic approach is that Japan will state what should be stated, while firmly holding dialogues including various pending issues but also cooperating on common issues. Bearing in mind that this year is the 50th anniversary of the normalization between Japan and China, we are aiming to build constructive and stable relations

During the visit to Japan by President Biden of the United States, we would like to explain Japan’s basic position, and hold consultations in various fields in order to reach the results I mentioned earlier.

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