Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, October 28, 2022, 12:26 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Emergency Grant Aid tothe Kyrgyz Republic
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, the Government of Japan decided to extend a total of $1 million of Emergency Grant Aid to support the Kyrgyz Republic.
This Emergency Grant Aid was decided in response to the growing humanitarian needs in the Kyrgyz Republic, including internally displaced persons, followed by the military clashes that occurred around the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in September 2022. This Grant Aid will allow the implementation of emergency humanitarian assistance activities through the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in areas such as food and non-food items.
Japan hopes that this assistance will contribute to overcoming the hardship faced by the people of the Kyrgyz Republic, with whom Japan has long-standing and amicable relations.
That is all from me.
Reports on the United States Air Force Reviewing the Permanent F-15 C/D Fighters at Kadena Air Base
Sankei Shimbun, Okada: I would like to ask about the operation of the United States (U.S.) Forces in Japan. Currently, the U.S. Air Force is permanently deploying F-15 fighters at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture. However, it has been reported that the current deployment of F-15s is under review, and may be replaced with a rotational force of F-22 stealth fighters in 2023. With a contingency across Taiwan Strait and the situation surrounding the Senkaku Islands in mind, some experts have expressed concerns that Japan’s deterrence against China could be reduced. Please tell us your reaction to the plan and your thoughts on the impact the plan has on the security of Japan.
Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the reports.
In order to appropriately respond to the increasingly severe security environment, we recognize that it is important that the U.S. Forces in Japan secure the necessary capabilities. Therefore, we regularly hold various discussions with the U.S.
However, since this issue relates to the U.S. side, I would like to refrain from answering the details of the specific discussions between the two countries.
In any case, we will continue to closely cooperate and work with the U.S. to ensure the peace and security of Japan under any circumstance.
Missile Launches by North Korea
Jiji Press, Tanaka: The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Republic of Korea’s Armed Forces announced earlier that North Korea launched ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan. Please tell us about any relevant facts that the Government of Japan is aware of and Japan’s response to this development.
Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the report, but for further details, please inquire with the Ministry of Defense.
Possibility of Using Nuclear Weapons by Russia
NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. In his speech yesterday, president Putin stated that Russia had never said anything proactively about Russia potentially using nuclear weapons. Previously, Russia has suggested its possible use of nuclear weapons. Amidst the increasingly tense situation in Ukraine, I would like to hear your view on the possibility of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. Additionally, in response to the use of nuclear weapons, please tell us what Japan should appeal to the international community in the future and on what occasions.
Minister Hayashi: I am aware of President Putin’s address at the Valdai International Discussion Club meeting.
Amidst the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian side has conveyed various statements regarding nuclear weapons. Japan is seriously concerned about the possibility that nuclear weapons might be used, and we believe that Russia must never threaten others with nuclear weapons. Nor for that matter can we tolerate its use.
Furthermore, Japan believes that Russia’s false allegations that Ukraine is preparing to use “dirty bombs” are unacceptable. We are aware that President Zelensky has consistently denied Russia’s claims. Whatever excuse Russia uses, we consider that further escalation of actions by Russia should never be allowed.
As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during wartime, Japan has conveyed this fact at international fora such as the United Nations and the G7, the recent Japan-Australia Leaders’ Meeting, the Japan-Lithuania Summit Meeting, and other bilateral meetings. We will continue to make effort.
The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask about the nuclear strategies of the Biden Administration and the review of the U.S. NPR. The U.S. NPR was published yesterday, but it does not include a “sole purpose” policy and a “no first use (NFU)” of nuclear weapons. This provoked voices of indignation from atomic bombing sites. Please tell us the view of the Government of Japan on this issue.
Minister Hayashi: Japan strongly supports the latest NPR, which clearly articulates again the U.S. resolve to ensure the effectiveness of its deterrence and its commitment to providing robust and credible extended deterrence, including nuclear deterrence, to its allies including Japan.
In the NPR, the United States expresses that it will pursue a comprehensive and balanced approach that places an emphasis on arms control, non-proliferation, and risk reduction while reiterating the goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons. Japan, as a state leading realistic and practical efforts towards a world without nuclear weapons, highly appreciates the U.S. position of promoting nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation while ensuring its effective deterrence posture. Thus, today, I released a statement.
In addition, I understand that there are generally various definitions of the so-called sole purpose nuclear policy. In any case, we understand that the United States did not include some declarations, including the NFU and sole purpose policy, in the latest NPR based on a thorough examination of these declarations. In our understanding, the United States concluded that, in light of the broad range of non-nuclear capabilities developed and deployed by competitors, these declarations would bring unacceptable levels of risk to the United States and its allies.
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask a related question. Some speculate that Japan, as a U.S. ally, may have made an objection against adopting the NFU and the sole purpose policy. What is your view on this?
Minister Hayashi: Japan and the United States regularly hold close exchanges of opinions on a wide-ranging matters related to Japan-U.S. security and defense cooperation, and disarmament and non-proliferation policies, including nuclear deterrence policies. I would like to refrain from answering any details of these communications due to the nature of the issue specifically concerning the security of Japan and because it relates to the U.S. side.
Assistance to Ukraine for Enduring Winter
Asahi Shimbun, Nohira: The Comprehensive Economic Measures will be decided by the Cabinet today. Previously, you have stated that the Government of Japan will provide assistance to Ukraine for enduring winter. Could you tell us specifically as to how Japan will respond?
Minister Hayashi: So far, Japan has announced approximately $1.1 billion of assistance to Ukraine and other affected countries such as those surrounding Ukraine in the areas of humanitarian, financial, and food.- As part of that, we have provided assistance for enduring winter.
Regarding Japan’s future support, we will consider providing humanitarian assistance including further assistance for enduring winter as well as recovery and reconstruction support required for rebuilding the lives of the people of Ukraine, based on the Comprehensive Economic Measures, while grasping local needs.
As Japan holds the presidency of next year’s G7, Japan will continue to support Ukraine, which is determined to protect its freedom. We will make use of our knowledge and experiences gained to date and actively play our role in supporting the people of Ukraine, while cooperating with the international community.