Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, October 7, 2022, 12:12 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Visit to Singapore and Malaysia by Foreign Minister Hayashi
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have three announcements today.
First, I will be visiting Singapore and Malaysia from October 7 to October 10.
On this occasion, I plan to hold meetings with dignitaries of two countries’ governments, including Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Singapore, and H.E. Dato’ Sri Saifuddin bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia.
Looking ahead to “the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation”, through this visit, I will further strengthen cooperation towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” with Singapore and Malaysia, who are important regional partners. In addition, I will further deepen bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including the areas of economic and security cooperation, and cross-border travel, and discuss various issues faced by the international community.
(2) Cabinet Decision on Imposing Additional Sanctions Against Russia
Minister Hayashi: Second, regarding the situation in Ukraine, the Government of Japan decided and gained necessary Cabinet approvals to freeze the assets of individuals in eastern and southern Ukraine and those related to Russia, all of whom were confirmed to have had direct involvement in the purported “incorporation” of some regions of Ukraine by Russia.
Japan cannot tolerate any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force and will continue to work firmly on the two pillars of strong sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine, in cooperation with the international community including the G7.
(3) Visit to Japan by the Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada
Minister Hayashi: Third, the Honorable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, will visit Japan as a guest of honor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) from October 11 to 13.
During her visit, Minister Joly and I will hold a meeting and a working dinner on the 11th.
Japan and Canada are both G7 members and important strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region, sharing universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Minister Joly and I have been building a relationship of trust through past multilateral meetings, such as the G7 meetings.
Through this visit by Minister Joly, we will further strengthen Japan-Canada relations and further deepen bilateral cooperation towards realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”
That is all from me.
The International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons”
Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for the elimination of nuclear weapons. While Prime Minister Kishida previously announced that the meeting would be held on November 23, some say that it might be postponed. Could you tell us about the current status of coordination related to the meeting, and if it is going to be postponed, what is the reason?
Minister Hayashi: The International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons” was launched by Prime Minister Kishida as a platform for participants of both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states to freely and actively discuss the specific path toward realizing a “World without Nuclear Weapons,” allowing them to share wisdom beyond their respective positions of their own countries, with the involvement of current and former political leaders of various countries.
We have been coordinating among the people involved in the International Group of Eminent Persons to hold the meeting on November 23. However, based on the coordination status so far, and in light of the purpose of the meeting that I have just stated, we are currently coordinating towards holding the meeting in December to make it a meaningful meeting with more attendees.
As Prime Minister Kishida stated in his policy speech on October 3, the Government of Japan will use the opportunity of the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons to proceed in accordance with the “Hiroshima Action Plan” and will take realistic and practical steps toward realizing a “World without Nuclear Weapons.”
Situation Surrounding North Korea
Mainichi Shimbun, Miyahara: I would like to ask about North Korea. Amidst the recent frequent missile launches by North Korea, there is growing speculation that North Korea may also conduct a nuclear test in the near future. Please tell us how Japan will respond if a nuclear test is carried out, and please tell us your views on its potential impact on the international community.
Minister Hayashi: North Korea’s series of actions, including the launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan on October 4, is a serious and imminent threat to the national security of Japan, and poses a threat to the peace and security of the region and the international community as a whole. Japan strongly condemns such actions.
Regarding Japan’s specific responses, we will constantly consider concrete measures to be taken in cooperation with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
We recognize the possibility that North Korea may conduct further provocations, including implementing nuclear tests, but I would like to refrain from answering a speculative question, including any impact of such acts.
In any case, Japan will exert all efforts to gather information, as well as conduct vigilance and surveillance while working closely with the United States and other countries. At the same time, we will continue to maintain close Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation, and cooperate with the international community, advance the complete implementation of the relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, and work towards the complete denuclearization of North Korea.
Situation Surrounding North Korea (UN Security Council Emergency Meeting)
Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: I would like to ask in relation to the previous question. The UN Security Council Emergency Meeting was held on October 5, but the meeting was unable to reach an agreement, and the Security Council could not issue any statement. Please tell us your reaction to this. In addition, back in May, the UN Security Council also failed to pass a sanctions resolution because Russia and China used their veto. In such a situation, where the Security Council does not function as it should, how will Japan intend to respond to North Korea?
Minister Hayashi: On October 6, the Security Council meeting was held in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan on October 4, while other two ballistic missiles were launched during the meeting. It is extremely regrettable that the Security Council is unable to act against North Korea’s serious provocations and repeated violations of the UN Security Council resolutions due to the reluctant attitude of some member states.
Japan will urge North Korea to abide by all of its obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and continue to maintain close Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation in implementing the UN Security Council resolutions while consulting with other relevant counties.
The Middle East Peace Process
Pan Orient News, Azhari: Palestinian media reported that the former prime minister of Palestine visited Japan recently and met with Prime Minister Kishida and asked Japan to recognize Palestine. And since that Japan is leading supporter of Palestinian issue and adopt and support "two state solution", what prevent Japan from recognizing Palestine as a state?
Minister Hayashi: Japan supports a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict and the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, including their rights to establish an independent state, and therefore we have provided political and economic assistance to the efforts by the Palestinian people to realize the establishment of their independent state. The Government of Japan will continue to review comprehensively on its recognition of Palestine as an independent state from the perspective of whether it can contribute to progress in the peace process.
The International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons”
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask about the International Group of Eminent Persons in relation to the question asked by Jiji Press. Earlier, you stated your view on the importance of gaining more attendees. Could you tell us the current status of inviting foreign dignitaries, to the extent possible? In addition, I believe that it is important to have both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states attend the meeting. Please tell us your view on this.
Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, the International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons” was launched by Prime Minister Kishida as a platform for free and active discussions by participants from both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states, allowing them to share wisdom beyond their respective positions in their own countries, with the involvement of current and former political leaders of various countries. Therefore, we are working precisely on the coordination of participants from both groups.
I would also like to repeat that, based on the coordination status so far and the ideas behind the launch of the International Group of Eminent Persons that I have just explained, we are coordinating to hold the meeting in December to make it a meaningful meeting with more attendees. However, as of this moment, we are not at the stage of announcing specific names of attendees.