Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
First Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: Firstly, the Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW will be held in Austria from June 21. What is the Government of Japan’s stance on this, and how it will or will not participate in this? That is my first question. In addition, Chief Representative Yamaguchi of Komeito announced today that House of Councillors member Hamada will be dispatched to the meeting. Please tell us the Government of Japan’s view on such a move by the ruling parties.
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: The first Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW is scheduled to be held in Vienna from June 21-23.
The TPNW is an important treaty that can be seen as a way out to “a world without nuclear weapons.” However, the cooperation of nuclear-weapon states is necessary for changing the reality, and the truth is that none of the nuclear-weapon states has participated in the treaty.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during wartime, Japan’s policy is to work to involve nuclear-weapon states and make realistic efforts toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”
Based on this view, the Government of Japan will not participate as an observer in the Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW being held in Vienna. Instead, we will first work to maintain and strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Our policy is to exert all efforts to achieve meaningful results at the NPT Review Conference that will be held in August. Additionally, we will advance step by step toward “a world without nuclear weapons” by building up effective nuclear disarmament measures.
I would also like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government of Japan with regard to the decision made by the political party that you asked about.
Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) Relations (Visit to Japan by the Foreign Minister of the ROK)
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: According to a series of reports by the ROK media, Foreign Minister Park of the ROK will visit Japan in mid-June on the 19th. Is a schedule being coordinated for a visit to Japan by the Foreign Minister of the ROK?
Press Secretary Ono: Nothing has been decided at this stage with regard to the point you asked about.
On the other hand, as I have already stated repeatedly on various occasions, Japan-ROK cooperation as well as Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation are essential for regional stability, including responding to North Korea. From that perspective, Foreign Minister Hayashi has already stated that he would like Foreign Minister Park to visit Japan to continue their talks. We will consider in this direction, but nothing has been decided at this point.
Mainichi Shimbun, Aibara: In relation to this, I believe that Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon Seok-youl will have an opportunity to meet at some point in the future. If a formal meeting is held in the future, will a foreign ministers’ meeting be a precondition for the summit meeting? Please tell us the recognition of the Government of Japan.
Press Secretary Ono: Nothing has been decided at this point regarding the summit meeting itself. With regard to your question on the order of the meeting, I do not have anything to say in particular at this stage.
G7 Elmau Summit
Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: I would like to change the subject. Prime Minister Kishida will attend the G7 Elmau Summit. What issues does Japan want to raise during the G7 Summit? Furthermore, the Summit will be held in Hiroshima next year. How do you intend to connect the Elmau Summit to the Hiroshima Summit? Please tell us the views of the Government of Japan.
Press Secretary Ono: The G7 Summit that will be held at Schloss Elmau in Germany from June 26-28 will be an important opportunity to reaffirm the G7’s solidarity in protecting the order of the international community against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It will also be an opportunity to advance discussions among the G7 leaders regarding regional affairs including the Indo-Pacific, and important challenges such as the global economy and climate change.
In the current international affairs, which can be seen as the end of the post-Cold War era, Japan, as the only G7 member in Asia, would like to actively contribute to the discussions at the G7 Summit and make this an opportunity to demonstrate the strong solidarity of the G7 to the world, with an eye on the Hiroshima Summit next year, which Japan will hold Presidency.
Mainichi Shimbun, Abe: Will “a world without nuclear weapons” be one of the central points that Japan will raise?
Press Secretary Ono: Yes. As I stated before, Japan, as the only G7 member in Asia, will actively contribute to the discussions at the G7 Summit with an eye on the Hiroshima Summit next year, which Japan will hold Presidency. The point you mentioned is an important issue, and is one of the points that Japan will emphasize.
Japan’s Food Assistance
Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: I would like to ask about the food crisis following the invasion of Ukraine. Please tell us if there is any assistance that Japan is considering for this crisis. Moreover, besides Ukraine, how much food assistance does Japan provide to the world annually? If you know the total amount, please tell us.
Press Secretary Ono: We are aware that Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has caused stagnation of grain exports from Ukraine, a world-class grain production country, which in turn has caused grain prices to steeply rise, increasing the threat of global food insecurity.
In particular, there is serious impact on the Middle East and Africa, which are highly dependent on grain produced in Ukraine. We are aware that, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), a record 276 million people are facing food insecurity.
In light of this situation, Japan, in cooperation with the international community and international organizations including the G7, will continue to consider ways to provide considerate assistance to countries affected by the current situation.
In addition, with regard to Japan’s conventional food assistance, Japan has been providing food assistance annually on a bilateral basis and through international organizations in response to requests for assistance from developing countries facing food shortages. Out of this, Japan provides food assistance based on the Food Assistance Convention on a bilateral basis, such as a total of 4.25 billion yen in Japanese government rice in FY2021 to African countries and others. Japan also provides food assistance through international organizations such as the WFP, and the numbers for FY2021 showed a total of 3.15 billion yen in assistance, including Japanese government rice, beans, and wheat, was provided to African countries and others.
In addition to this, based on the needs of various countries at the time, Japan also provides assistance in the form of food itself as well as assistance that contributes to increased food production.