Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Missile Launch by North Korea (Emergency Meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC))
Kyodo News, Ueda: I would like to ask about the response to the missile launched by North Korea. There was a decision to hold an emergency meeting of the UNSC. China and Russia voted against the resolution at the meeting in May 2022. What do you expect now? In addition, what options are being considered for Japan’s own measures?
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: In response to the ballistic missile launched by North Korea, I am aware that the United States and others called for a meeting of the UNSC, and an emergency meeting will be held on October 5 local time.
This was the first missile to fly over Japan in about five years. This poses a serious and imminent threat to our security and constitutes a clear and serious challenge to the international community. During the Japan-U.S. Summit Telephone Meeting yesterday on October 4, Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden concurred to continue close coordination between Japan and the U.S. as well as among Japan, the U.S., and the Republic of Korea (ROK) toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with the UNSC resolutions.
The UNSC has not been able to take concrete actions in response to the recent violations of UNSC resolutions by North Korea. However, Japan expects the UNSC to fulfill its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.
Japan will continue to closely monitor the the UNSC’s response to North Korea with strong interest, and strongly demands North Korea to follow all the obligations under the UNSC resolutions, in cooperation with the international community, including the United States.
Japan’s policy is to constantly consider our specific response in the future, including what you pointed out.
Missile Launch by North Korea (Cooperation with the ROK)
NHK, Morita: I would like to ask a follow-up question. The Japan-U.S. Summit Telephone Meeting was held yesterday. In terms of cooperation with the ROK, how does Japan intend to respond, such as holding a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting?
Press Secretary Ono: In response to the recent missile launch by North Korea, Japan and the ROK have been conducting close cooperation, including holding a telephone meeting between Foreign Minister Hayashi and Foreign Minister Park Jin of the ROK, as well as a telephone meeting held yesterday between Secretary-General Akiba of the National Security Secretariat and National Security Advisor Kim Sung-han of the ROK.
Through such communication, we strongly condemned North Korea’s recent missile launch, and concurred to continue close coordination between Japan and the ROK as well as among Japan, the ROK, and the U.S. toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with the UNSC resolutions.
Nothing has been decided at this point on a Japan-ROK Summit Meeting, but our policy is to continue to communicate closely with the ROK side.
Reopening of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine
Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: Today, the Embassy of Japan in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, resumed its duties for the first time in seven months. The functions of the embassy itself have not been resumed yet. Please tell us about the response and future policies of the Government of Japan, including the treatment of Ukraine and its assistance.
Press Secretary Ono: For the reopening of the embassy, Japanese Ambassador to Ukraine Matsuda visited Kyiv from August 22 to September 4 and observed the local situation, including the security conditions, held discussions with officials of the Government of Ukraine, and made preliminary arrangements for the resumption of the activities of the Embassy of Japan in Kyiv.
As a result, we have decided to reopen the embassy in Kyiv as it was determined that it would be possible to carry out embassy duties in Kyiv by taking sufficient security measures.
As Japan will hold the G7 Presidency next year, there is a growing need to reopen our embassy in Ukraine and gather information in Kyiv, hold close in-person discussions with officials of the Government of Ukraine, and engage in various forms of coordination. With this in mind, we decided to reopen the embassy.
Designation of a Consul of the Consulate-General of Russia in Sapporo to be a Persona Non Grata
NTV, Mori: Yesterday, the Government of Japan announced that it had declared a consul of the Consulate-General of Russia in Sapporo as persona non grata. Please tell us the reason for choosing that person. Please also tell us any other past examples of Japan receiving a declaration of a persona non grata from a foreign country, as well as any examples of Japan declaring a persona non grata.
Press Secretary Ono: As Foreign Minister Hayashi stated yesterday on October 4, the incident involving the detainment by Russia of a consular officer of the Consulate-General of Japan in Vladivostok was a clear and serious violation of international law. It is absolutely not true that the consular officer committed illegal activities as claimed by the Russian side. This was extremely regrettable and absolutely unacceptable. Additionally, the declaration of a persona non grata to the consular officer is an unbelievable act.
As an appropriate measure in response to such actions by Russia, Japan has decided to declare a consul at the Consulate-General of Russia in Sapporo as a persona non grata, and demanded the expulsion of the consul from Japan within six days, that is until October 10.
On October 4, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Mori summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Galuzin to MOFA and conveyed Japan’s position. We urge Russia to implement this measure accordingly.
Due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from answering any further details regarding the consul who was the subject of this declaration.
In any case, this measure has been an appropriate one to clearly convey the strong protest by the Government of Japan to the Russian side. In order to ensure that the diplomacy and consular activities of Japan’s embassy and consulate-general personnel in Russia do not shrink due to this incident, we will request Russia to take preventive measures at every opportunity.
[Reference] The following explanations were given to reporters at Press Secretary Ono’s informal talk with reporters after the press conference.
Reopening of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine
Mainichi Shimbun, Miyahara: Regarding the reopening of the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine in Kyiv, which was mentioned earlier, how will you ensure security?
Press Secretary Ono: As stated, the Travel Advice and Warnings for Ukraine remains under Level 4: Evacuate and Avoid All Travel. By fully taking this point into account, because there is a need to understand the situation on the ground and engage in discussion with the officials of the Government of Ukraine, including on the security situation, we decided to reopen the embassy after taking sufficient security measures. The embassy will continue to pay the utmost attention to safety and firmly carry out necessary duties.