Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Saturday, November 12, 2022, 2:22 p.m. Hotel New Nagasaki
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, I am visiting Nagasaki together with diplomatic corps in Japan and State Minister for Foreign Affairs TAKEI as part of the “Local to Global” Project that aims to promote the attractiveness of regional areas of Japan worldwide.
When it comes to diplomacy, we tend to turn our eyes to foreign countries, but I believe that the characteristic appeals of Japan’s regions are a major asset for Japan’s diplomacy. We must not fail to leverage them. Furthermore, as the number of visitors increase due to the major easing of the border measures, I believe it is extremely important in terms of stimulating regional economies to seize the opportunity presented by restoring inbound demand. I am visiting Nagasaki with the intention of taking the lead as Minister for Foreign Affairs to promote local attractions.
Today, we visited the Former Glover House and Oura Cathedral, both of which are World Heritage Sites and symbolize Nagasaki’s history, as well as a traditional Nagasaki kamaboko (processed fish cake) manufacturing facility. Together with members of the diplomatic corps, I sensed anew the appeals and potential of Nagasaki. After this, I will ride the Nishi-Kyushu Shinkansen, which opened in September, with the diplomatic corps. I am looking forward to it.
In addition, together with the diplomatic corps, we had a lunch meeting and roundtable dialogue, and discussed in depth about promoting the charm of Nagasaki and on Japan’s foreign policy with people active in various fields in Nagasaki, including the Governor of Nagasaki Prefecture, the Mayor of Nagasaki City, and the local business community, as well as young people.
I believe that this visit was a significant opportunity to globally communicate the attractions of Nagasaki by having the diplomatic corps fully enjoy and deepen their understanding of Nagasaki’s attractions. I will continue to make all efforts to convey the local attractions of Japan to the world.
Reporter: Please tell us your impressions of visiting tourist attractions in Nagasaki, your exchanges of views with people related to business, etc. In addition, please tell us your views on how you will approach policies, such as further easing of the border measures and responding to the restoration of inbound tourism. Furthermore, please tell us how you will promote initiatives toward nuclear disarmament based on the roundtable dialogue which included people who are appealing for abolition of nuclear weapons.
Minister Hayashi: I sensed anew Nagasaki’s charms and potential through my visits to sites that convey the local history and traditions, and through my exchanges of views with people who are active in Nagasaki, including young people. I believe this visit was a significant opportunity to spread Nagasaki’s attractions to the world.
With regard to the border measures, there has been a major easing since last month, including the resumption of visa exemption measures, resumption of individual travel, and removing the cap on the total number of people entering Japan. As a results, the number of foreign tourists in October recovered to approximately 290,000, which was 15 times the number in September.
I will continue to work toward the strong recovery of inbound tourism by promoting the diverse attractions of Japan, including through the “Local to Global” Project, as well as visa easing measures and the like.
In addition, during the roundtable dialogue, I directly learned about the activities of the Nagasaki Youth Delegation, composed of young people working on nuclear disarmament and other such matters. I felt very reassured and perceived a bright future of Nagasaki.
The path toward a world without nuclear weapons has become more difficult due to issues such as the deepening division within the international community concerning nuclear disarmament as well as the threat posed by Russia’s nuclear weapons. Amidst this situation, based on today’s discussions, I renewed my determination to continue to make all efforts on behalf of the Government of Japan toward realizing a world without nuclear weapons.
While leveraging the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World Without Nuclear Weapons scheduled to be held next month, I will further enhance cooperation of the international community toward a world without nuclear weapons and strongly promote realistic, practical initiatives.
Reporter: Nagasaki City, which you visited this time, is an atomic bombing site and will be the location of the G7 Health Ministers’ Meeting next year. Please let us know whether you are considering using this opportunity to encourage the ministers of various countries, including the foreign ministers, to make trips to Nagasaki, an atomic bombing site, for activities such as visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and dialogue with atomic bomb survivors. In addition, please tell us about the specific content, such as the status of contributions, and the response at this stage to the contribution of $10 million for the “Youth Leader Fund for a world without nuclear weapons” of the Hiroshima Action Plan, announced by Prime Minister Kishida at the NPT Review Conference this year.
Minister Hayashi: We believe that an accurate recognition of the reality of atomic bombings is the starting point for all initiatives toward nuclear disarmament. Based on this recognition, at the NPT Review Conference in August, Prime Minister Kishida made an announcement that one of the pillars of the Hiroshima Action Plan is to further spread accurate recognition of the reality of atomic bombing through encouraging visits to atomic bombing sites by leaders and others from various countries.
Based on this perspective, Japan submitted the draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons to the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly last month. It was adopted with the support of 139 countries, and welcomed visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by leaders and others, and requested various countries to promote enhancement of recognition of the reality of atomic bombing. We will continue to promote visits to atomic bombing sites by leaders and others from various countries through such efforts as well as through individual efforts.
With regard to the “Youth Leader Fund for a world without nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Kishida announced the Fund’s establishment at the NPT Review Conference in August 2022, with the aim of creating a global network of the young generation for the abolition of nuclear weapons through inviting future leaders to Japan and having them learn the reality of atomic bombing. Based on this purpose, we are currently coordinating the details with the United Nations. We will use this fund to spread accurate awareness of the reality of atomic bombing throughout the world.