Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 12:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks 

(1) Japan’s Measures on North Korea

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have two announcements. 

Firstly, from this year, North Korea has been taking a series of provocative actions with extremely high frequency, including a total of 23 launches of ballistic missiles. Amidst this situation, North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan on October 4 was a serious and imminent threat to the security of Japan and an act of aggression that threatens the peace and security of the region and the entire international community. It is absolutely unacceptable. 

Under these circumstances, at the Cabinet meeting today, it was agreed that, as Japan’s further measure against North Korea to seek for comprehensive resolution of issues of concern such as abductions, and nuclear and missiles issues, five entities involved in nuclear and missile development, which is prohibited by the Security Council Resolutions related to North Korea will be designated additionally as subject to asset freezing based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. 

Japan strongly urges North Korea to take concrete actions to resolve various issues such as abductions, nuclear and missiles issues. We will continue to work toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while maintaining close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) coordination and cooperating with the international community. 

Please have a look at the press release for further details. 

(2) Visit to Japan by Director-General Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Minister Hayashi: Secondly, from today, October 18, to October 20, WTO Director-General Okonjo-Iweala will make a visit to Japan as a guest of honor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

A rules-based free and open multilateral trade system, centered on the WTO, is extremely important to Japan. Through her visit, we expect to garner understanding of Japan's position on WTO reform as well as strengthen cooperation with the WTO, bearing in mind that Japan will hold the G7 Presidency next year. 

I plan to hold a candid exchange of views with Director-General Okonjo-Iweala during the working dinner tomorrow on October 19. 

That is all from me. 

Japan’s Measures on North Korea

TV Asahi, Sawai: I would like to ask about the sanctions against North Korea. I believe that Japan implemented similar sanctions of asset freezing in April in response to an ICBM launch. Since then, North Korea has repeatedly conducted missile launches and is preparing to conduct nuclear tests. Japan will add asset freeze to the list this time, but what is your view on the effectiveness of independent sanctions by Japan such as this? 

Minister Hayashi: Today, Japan additionally designated five entities involved in nuclear and missile development in North Korea as subject to asset freezing. 

It is difficult to make blanket statements about the effectiveness of measures against North Korea. However, given the severe economic situation in North Korea, I believe that the measures that Japan has implemented based on the UNSC resolutions and our own independent measures have had certain effects. 

Japan will continue to ensure that relevant UNSC resolutions remain in force and thoroughly implement the measures we are taking.

Formulation of the New National Security Strategy

Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: The Liberal Democratic Party and KOMEITO consultation on the revision of the three security-related policy documents will begin today. I believe it will be a difficult process, in terms of sources of funds, counterattack capabilities, and other such matters. Please tell us your opinion on this. In addition, please tell us again how you wish to proceed with future discussions based on the consultation by the ruling parties.

Minister Hayashi: As the security environment surrounding Japan becomes increasingly severe, we have been advancing the process toward formulating a new National Security Strategy by the end of this year. The Government of Japan has already announced the decision to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities within five years and secure an appropriate funding increase for the accompanying defense expenses. 

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I am determined to do my utmost to formulate the new National Security Strategy and other documents, in full coordination with the ruling party. I would also like to contribute to initiatives to strengthen defense capabilities. 

National Congress of the Communist Party of China

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In a speech by President Xi Jinping of China on October 16, he indicated that China will never renounce the right to use force and that China will be able to achieve reunification. Please tell us your reaction to this. 

Minister Hayashi: We are closely monitoring the movements of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China. However, I would like to refrain from answering on behalf of the Government of Japan on each content.  

If I were to say anything further, it would be that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is important for the security of Japan as well as the international community. Japan’s consistent position has been that we expect that issues surrounding Taiwan will be resolved peacefully through dialogue.  

We will continue to directly and firmly convey to China the importance of peace and stability across Taiwan Strait. We will also clearly communicate the position shared by various countries while closely cooperating with our allies and like-minded countries, including the United States. We will continue to closely monitor the shifts in cross-Strait relations.  

Kyodo News, Ueda:: I would like to ask a follow-up question on the National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Please tell us the current status of considerations on whether the Government of Japan will have any response if General Secretary Xi secures a third term.  

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting based on speculation with regard to the activities of political parties in third-party countries as well as their effects on Japan-China relations. However, Japan is closely monitoring the movements of the National Congress.

In any case, Japan’s consistent position has been that we need to say what needs to be said and request China to take responsible actions, while both sides make efforts to build constructive, stable Japan-China relations in which they firmly conduct dialogue on various pending issues and cooperate on various common issues.  

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