Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, June 8, 2022, 4:19 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Vice Ministers’ Meeting
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: A press release was just issued that there was a meeting between Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mori and the First Vice Foreign Minister of the ROK. During their meeting, did they discuss the next Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, including the visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Park Jin?
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: As announced in a press release, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs MORI Takeo is visiting Seoul in the ROK to attend the Japan-U.S.-ROK Vice Ministers’ Meeting . Today, on June 8, Vice-Minister Mori paid a courtesy call to Foreign Minister Park Jin and held a meeting with First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun Dong.
As for your question regarding the visit to Japan by Foreign Minister Park, nothing has been decided at this point.
The Government of Japan will communicate closely with the new ROK administration, including President Yoon Suk-yeol, based on Japan’s consistent position, in order to restore healthy Japan-ROK relations. From this perspective, we will continue to give consideration to this issue.
Japan-Russia Fisheries Agreement
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: Regarding the agreement with Russia on steady operation of fisheries near the Northern Territories, yesterday, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia talked about the suspension or freezing of the agreement. Please tell us if the MOFA has had any communication with the Russian diplomatic authorities, including what request was made and what kind of responseof response was received.
Press Secretary Ono: The Russian side has claimed that it will unilaterally suspend implementation of the framework agreement concerning operations in the waters around the Four Northern Islands, as if the cooperative project with Sakhalin were a precondition for the implementation of the agreement. It is regrettable that Russia announced the unilateral suspension of the implementation of the agreement in this manner.
Japan will consult with the Russian side so that operations will be conducted under the agreement. We have already conveyed this position to the Russian side.
However, I would like to refrain from giving details about what was actually discussed as this is diplomatic communication.
NHK, Aoki: I have a related question. Was this in the form of a request rather than a protest? How is it positioned?
Press Secretary Ono: I would like to refrain from stating here what the term protest means. We have conveyed to the Russian side that this measure by Russia is regrettable, and that we intend to continue discussions with the Russian side so that operations will be conducted under the agreement.
Furthermore, with regard to the cooperative project with Sakhalin, as already clarified by Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno, the latest payment has still not been made. We are also considering how to handle this matter in the future, taking into account various circumstances.
Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno stated in his press conference that the payment has not been made. If you know the answer, please tell us the reason why the payment has not been made. Is it because of the technical issue, such as the suspension of transactions with financial institutions or is it due to political sanctions against Russia.
Press Secretary Ono: As I stated earlier, the FY2021 payment for the cooperative project with Sakhalin that you mentioned has not yet been made. However, I would like to refrain from speaking about the details as it involves diplomatic communication.
Election for Non-Permanent Members of the UN Security Council
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: I would like to change the subject. The election for non-permanent members of the UN Security Council will be held late at night tomorrow, Japan time. Basically, I believe Japan has a high possibility of being elected. Please tell us about MOFA’s will or enthusiasm for this. In addition, what will MOFA do if Japan is elected as a non-permanent member? If possible, please also tell us how Japan will make the most of this opportunity for the reform of the UN.
Press Secretary Ono: The election for non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, for which Japan is a candidate, is planned to be held on the morning of June 9, New York time. Firstly, Japan is exerting all efforts to be elected. We are currently considering what specific contribution we can make after the election.
If I were to say anything further, the limitations of the UN Security Council have once again become evident as seen in the case of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and the recent exercise of the right of veto by China and Russia.
On the other hand, the UN Security Council has the primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. It is also a fact that small and medium-sized countries as well as developing countries continue to have high expectations of the overall role of the United Nations, including the Security Council.
With this perspective in mind, Japan hopes to use our ingenuity to find a way to reform and strengthen the functions of the UN as a whole, including the Security Council, so that the Security Council can fulfil its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.