Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Relations with Taiwan (Statement by Secretary of State Blinken of the United States)

Mainichi Shimbun, Aoki: I would like to ask about the statement made by U.S. Secretary of State Blinken at an event on October 17. During the event, Secretary Blinken indicated his view regarding the situation in Taiwan that there has been a change in Beijing’s approach toward Taiwan over the last few years, and that China may pursue reunification on a much earlier timeline than previously thought. I would like to ask whether the Government of Japan has a similar recognition.

Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: I am aware of the statement made by Secretary Blinken that you pointed out.

With regard to cross-Strait relations, although there are deep ties centered on the economic field, the overall military balance has shifted in favor of the Chinese side, and it is true that this gap tends to widen over the years.

The peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait are important not only for the security of Japan but also for the international community. Japan’s consistent position has been that we expect that the issues surrounding Taiwan to be resolved peacefully through dialogue. Japan and the United States, the G7, and others have concurred on the importance of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait until now.

Visit to Australia by Prime Minister Kishida

Asahi Shimbun, Aibara: The visit to Australia by Prime Minister Kishida was officially announced today. Security cooperation between Japan and Australia is considerably deepening now. Through this visit, how does the Government of Japan perceive the importance of security cooperation with Australia? In addition, please tell us if there is an outlook on how to specifically deepen security cooperation.

Press Secretary Ono: If circumstances permit, Prime Minister Kishida plans to visit Perth in western Australia from October 21 to 23 to hold a summit meeting with Prime Minister Albanese.

Through this visit, we aim to further deepen our bilateral cooperation insecurity, defense, and the economy, and further strengthen our cooperation toward realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

Since the Pacific Island countries region is a key region for realizing a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific,” our policy is to promote cooperation by leveraging Japan’s strengths, while taking into account the needs of the region. Additionally, our policy is to strengthen cooperation with relevant countries, including Australia.

As for the point you made, I would like to refrain from answering based on speculation with regard to the specific communication between the two leaders at this point. In any case, we are planning to hold wide-ranging discussions during the summit meeting regarding strengthening bilateral relations, the ideal state of cooperation with like-minded countries in the region, and on regional and international affairs, based on the strategic environment of the Indo-Pacific region, which is becoming increasingly severe and uncertain.

Visit to Japan by President Hofmański of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Jiji Press, Kondo: I would like to ask about the ICC. There are some reports indicating that the ICC will soon enter negotiations with the Government of Japan regarding the ICC’s plan to establish a regional office in Japan. Please tell us if this is true. In addition, please tell us about the significance of establishing an office in Japan from perspectives such as the rule of law and human rights diplomacy.

Press Secretary Ono: As the country that makes the highest assessed contributions to the ICC, Japan has been promoting various forms of cooperation with the ICC until now, including producing Japanese judges.

President Hofmański of the ICC will visit Japan from today, from October 19 to October 22 in order to attend the 60th anniversary event for the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI). During his stay in Japan, President Hofmański plans to hold exchanges of views with relevant people from Japan toward strengthening cooperation between Japan and the ICC.

We are aware that the ICC is highly interested in strengthening its public relations in Asia and is considering the possibility of establishing an office in Japan.

On the other hand, nothing has been decided on this matter at this point, so I would like to refrain from answering based on speculation. In any case, Japan will consider what kind of cooperation is possible while listening to the views of the ICC.

While utilizing President Hofmański’s visit to Japan and the opportunity to exchange views with the ICC side, Japan intends to strengthen international cooperation in various ways, including with the ICC, toward strengthening the rule of law in the international community.

Jiji Press, Kondo: I believe that you said that President Hofmański will meet with Japanese government officials during his visit to Japan. Are there plans for him to meet with Prime Minister Kishida and Foreign Minister Hayashi?

Press Secretary Ono: The schedule of President Hofmanski’s stay in Japan is currently under coordination, so I would like to refrain from answering at this point.

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