Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko

Wednesday, August 31, 2022, 3:44 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

FY2023 Budget Request

Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: In the budget request for the next fiscal year’s budget, an item for preparation against information warfare is included in MOFA’s budget request. It would include gathering and analyzing disinformation using AI and monitoring social media spaces. Please tell us about MOFA’s recognition of the issues that led to bringing this kind of project to the forefront. In addition, if there is anything specific that you want to do at this point, please share it with us.

Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: The Government of Japan has been publicly conveying its policies and positions in a strategic manner to the international community through a variety of methods, including online information dissemination via social media, in order to create a correct understanding of Japan’s policies and positions based on objective facts.

With regard to the point you have made, in light of the growing importance of social media in forming international public opinion, we have made a new budget request in order to further strengthen our efforts in social media spaces.

The project is envisioned to engage in monitoring and information analysis on trends in social media spaces regarding important policies of Japan, and based on that, implement appropriate and effective dissemination of information.

I would like to refrain from disclosing any further details because we are still at the stage of making a budget request and in consideration of the nature of the issue.

Temporary Suspension of Entry by Foreign Navy Vessels to the Ports of the Solomon Islands

Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: The day before yesterday, the U.S. White House announced that the Solomon Islands did not allow a port call by a U.S. Coast Guard vessel this month. It is reported that this situation was affected by the security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China.. The Government of Japan also places considerable importance to this region and is strengthening its engagement. Please tell us your view on the Solomon Islands’ response of not allowing the port call, and on the situation in the region.

Press Secretary Ono: I am aware that on August 30, Prime Minister Sogavare of the Solomon Islands announced the temporary suspension of port entry by all foreign navy vessels in order to review the entry permission procedures for foreign navy vessels to the Solomon Islands, but that the suspension would be lifted once the system is put in place.

As for Japan and the Solomon Islands, the JS Kirisame destroyer recently made a port call in the Solomon Islands from August 6 to 8, 2022 and then conducted a goodwill exercise, amongst other opportunities.

Due to this situation, Japan will pay attention to the statements of Prime Minister Sogavare, and appropriately respond in cooperation with like-minded countries while gathering information on the status of considerations by the Government of the Solomon Islands.

Passing of Former President Gorbachev of the Former Soviet Union

NHK, Morita: There was news today about the passing of Mr. Gorbachev, the leader of the former Soviet Union. Please tell us your reaction, and if the Government of Japan is considering any response such as expressing condolences.

Press Secretary Ono: I would firstly like to express my prayers upon hearing news of the passing of former President Gorbachev.

As the leader of the former Soviet Union, Mr. Gorbachev played an important role in overcoming the division in Europe and conflict between the East and West following World War II. He led the United States and the Soviet Union to agree to reduce nuclear weapons for the first time in history, thus leading up to the end of the Cold War.

In terms of relations with Japan, Mr. Gorbachev visited Nagasaki on his first visit to Japan as head of state in 1991, and also visited Hiroshima in 1992 after the end of his presidential term. I am aware of his great achievements as a world leader in favor of nuclear abolition.

Mr. Gorbachev played a major role, as he had a grand strategic vision and the ability to get things done. I would like to express my respectful condolences in memory of his achievements.

We have not received any related information at this point, including a condolence book and other such matters.

Situation in Russia (Sakhalin-2 Project)

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kaneko: I would like to ask about Russia’s Sakhalin-2. Today, the Government of Russia allowed the handover of a stake to Mitsui & Co., the newly-established company that has taken over the project. Please tell us the Government of Japan’s reaction to this.

Press Secretary Ono: I am aware that the Government of Russia decided to approve the request for participation by Mitsui & Co., the new company that will operate Sakhalin-2.

The Government of Japan recognizes that this decision is extremely significant from the perspective of Japan’s stable supply of energy.

We are aware that various discussions will be held between stakeholders. The Government of Japan will continue to monitor the situation and the public and private sectors will exert all efforts to ensure a stable supply of LNG.

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