Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, October 11, 2022, 10:33 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Situation in Ukraine (Attacks on Kyiv)
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have an announcement.
On October 10, various areas in Ukraine, including Kyiv and Lviv were attacked. According to the announcement by the Government of Ukraine, many civilians were injured or killed.
Japan takes it extremely seriously that many civilians have been injured or killed in various parts of Ukraine due to the Russian attacks. It is a violation of international law to attack civilians and civilian facilities. It is absolutely unjustifiable, and Japan strongly condemns it.
In close cooperation with the international community, including the G7, Japan will again strongly urge Russia to immediately cease its aggression and withdraw its forces back to Russia. We will also continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and support the Government and people of Ukraine.
We have not received any information about deaths or injuries of Japanese residents so far. However, we cannot deny the possibility that similar attacks may continue and civilian facilities may be involved. Therefore, we would like Japanese residents who are still staying in Ukraine to immediately evacuate after ensuring its safety.
That is all from me.
Easing of the Border Measures
NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the easing of the border measures. From today, the border measures will be significantly eased, including resuming acceptance of individual foreign tourists. Please tell us your views on the reason and aim of the easing of the border measures. People entering Japan must also continue to show their vaccination certificates, but how will you consider easing such measures?
Minister Hayashi: Japan has now shifted to a new stage towards the era of living with COVID-19. In addition, elimination of border measures is underway among the G7 countries. Due to such aspects, from today, the Government of Japan has enabled smoother entry into Japan by easing the restriction on new entry of foreign nationals, reviewing the testing when entering the country, and removing the cap on the total number of people entering. By doing this, we expect people-to-people exchanges between Japan and various countries will become more active.
As you stated, Japan will continue to require presentation of a vaccination certificate or a negative test result certificate for a test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. For our future border measures including these points, the Government of Japan will continue to make appropriate decisions while balancing prevention of the spread of infections with socioeconomic activities, taking into account infection conditions and needs inside and outside Japan, as well as border measure situations in major countries.
Situation Surrounding North Korea
Kyodo News, Kinashi: I would like to ask about North Korea. The North Korean media reported on October 10 that the launch of ballistic missiles since September 25 have been launch exercises of tactical nuclear units, and reported that the missile that flew over Japan on October 4 was a new type of surface-to-surface intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile. Please tell us your view on how Japan will respond to North Korea, which has been rapidly advancing its nuclear and missile development.
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting on each report from the North Korean side. In any case, a series of actions by North Korea, including its repeated launches of ballistic missiles pose a threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and are absolutely unacceptable.
The Government of Japan will continue to engage in close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation, as well as cooperation with the international community, promote the complete implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and aim for the complete denuclearization of North Korea.
Situation in Ukraine (Crimea Bridge Explosion)
Mainichi Shimbun, Miyahara: I would like to ask a question regarding your opening remarks. An explosion occurred on the Crimea Bridge, and there have been reports that Ukraine was involved. Please tell us your reaction to this, and what upcoming effects it will have, and how Japan will be involved.
Minister Hayashi: Regarding the explosion on the Crimea Bridge that occurred on October 8, I am aware that President Putin stated on October 10 that it was an act of terrorism by the Ukrainian side and that retaliatory attacks have been conducted on Ukrainian military and energy-related facilities.
Japan takes it extremely seriously that many civilians have been injured or killed in various parts of Ukraine due to the attacks by Russia. It is a violation of international law to attack civilians and civilian facilities. It is absolutely unjustifiable, and Japan strongly condemns it.
Japan will continue to firmly address this under the two pillars of strong sanctions against Russia and support towards Ukraine, while cooperating with the international community, including the G7.
National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: The National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be convened on October 16. It is considered very likely that President Xi Jinping will be elected to a third term. What is your view on the outlook? Furthermore, what effects do you think President Xi’s third term will have on future Japan-China relations?
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting based on speculation with regard to the activities of other countries’ political parties, as well as their effects on Japan-China relations. Japan is closely monitoring the movements related to the National Congress.
In any case, Japan’s consistent position is to state what should be stated and request China to take responsible actions. Both sides will need to make efforts to build constructive, stable Japan-China relations in which they firmly conduct dialogue, including on various pending issues, and cooperate on various common issues.
Situation in Ukraine (Attacks on Kyiv)
Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about the situation in Ukraine. You pointed out earlier that there is a danger that similar attacks by the Russian side may continue. Do you intend to maintain the operations of the embassy that returned to Kyiv, including the personnel?
Minister Hayashi: We have already confirmed the safety of all the personnel of the Embassy of Japan in Kyiv. In addition, as I stated earlier, we have not received any information about deaths or injuries of Japanese residents so far.
With regard to the future of the Embassy of Japan in Kyiv, it is necessary to ascertain the developments in the future situation. In cooperation with the Government of Ukraine and various G7 countries, we are currently conducting embassy operations while taking the utmost security measures, and there is no change to this policy at this point.