Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2022, 12:21 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

Foreign Minister Hayashi’s Attendance at the APEC Ministerial Meeting

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have one announcement at the outset. I will be visiting Bangkok, Thailand from November 16 to 18 to attend the APEC Ministerial Meeting. This will be the first in-person APEC Ministerial Meeting to be held in four years.

At the meeting, I will actively convey Japan’s positions and initiatives about important issues in current global situation, including trade and investment for economic growth in the post-COVID-19 era as well as food and energy issues.

In addition, as Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine, I will convey the message that peace and stability are indispensable for the economic development for the Asia-Pacific region.

That is all from me.

U.S.-China Summit Meeting, Japan-China Summit Meeting

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the U.S.-China Summit Meeting. President Biden and President Xi exchanged views regarding the situation in Ukraine and did not agree on the issue of Taiwan last night. Please tell us your reaction on the Summit Meeting and how you will move forward with diplomacy towards China, including holding a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Minister Hayashi: First, I am aware that President Biden and President Xi Jinping held a U.S.-China Summit Meeting in Bali, Indonesia on November 14.

According to the announcement by the U.S. side, the leaders had wide-ranging discussions during the meeting over three hours regarding U.S.-China relations, cross-border issues, human rights, the situation in the Taiwan Strait, the situation in Ukraine, the situation in North Korea, and other issues.

I would like to refrain from commenting on meetings between third-party countries. If I were to say anything further, I believe that the stability of U.S.-China relations is extremely important for the international community.

Japan will continue to urge China to fulfill its responsibilities as a major power while cooperating in various forms under our strong relationship of mutual trust with our ally, the U.S.

In addition, with regard to Japan-China relations, Prime Minister Kishida plans to take the opportunity of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 17 to hold a Japan-China Summit Meeting with President Xi.

There are various possibilities as well as many challenges and pending issues between Japan and China. I believe that it is necessary 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 we firmly hold dialogue on various pending issues, and cooperate on various common issues. I would like to have a meeting to promote dialogue toward such objectives.

In addition, nothing has been decided at this point about a Japan-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Toward building the “constructive, stable Japan-China relations” that I just mentioned, I believe it is important to conduct multilayered communication in various fields and at various levels not only between our country leaders but also between myself and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Midterm Elections in the United States

Mainichi Shimbun, Miyahara: I would like to ask about the midterm elections in the United States. It has become certain that the Democratic Party led by President Biden acquired a majority in the Senate in the midterm elections. At one point, there was a view that it would be difficult for the Democratic Party to attain a majority in the Senate, but now it is believed that the Democrats’ acquisition of a majority and sustained leadership in the Senate will have positive effects on the latter two years of President Biden’s administration. Please tell us your reaction.

Minister Hayashi: The ballots are still being counted for the midterm elections in the United States but it is certain that the Democratic Party has acquired a majority in the Senate.

I would like to refrain from commenting on matters related to elections within the United States. However, Japan is monitoring the situation with interest.

If I were to say anything further, it would be that both the Democratic and Republican Parties have a common recognition of the importance of the unwavering Japan-U.S. Alliance, so I do not believe that the election results will affect the importance of Japan-U.S. relations.

Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement

Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto: On November 6, the Financial Times reported that Japan and the United Kingdom plan to sign an agreement on strengthening military cooperation defense in December to prepare for a contingency involving Taiwan. It is reported that the UK Defense Ministry spokesperson stated talks are progressing positively. There has been no discussion within the Diet or with the people of Japan regarding security policy concerning the basis of a sovereign nation. Since the Abe administration, it has been the policy that Japan will participate in the event of a Taiwan contingency. However, if this were to take place, Japan would be in the firing line and not countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Is it not necessary to firmly hold a national discussion? Please share with us your view on this.

Minister Hayashi: If the agreement mentioned in the article you just asked about is referring to the Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement, negotiations between our two countries are in progress following the agreement in principle reached in May 2022. At this point, we are not at the stage in which I can say anything certain about when the agreement will be signed.

The agreement aims to facilitate implementation of cooperative activities between the forces of two countries, such as joint exercises and disaster relief. It does not intend any specific situation. It is expected that conclusion of the agreement will strongly support the continuous commitment of Japan and the United States to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

Japan-China Summit Meeting

Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about the Japan-China Summit Meeting that was mentioned earlier. Do you plan to, or are you considering, accompanying Prime Minister Kishida at the meeting?

Minister Hayashi: I plan to accompany Prime Minister Kishida at the Japan-China Summit Meeting.

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