Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 4:40 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

Assistance for Ukraine to Endure Winter

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: At the outset, I have one announcement.

Today, the Government of Japan decided to extend Emergency Grant Aid of approximately $2.57 million to Ukraine as support to endure winter in the electric power sector, etc. The Government of Japan plans to implement this aid for Ukraine through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) by providing generators and solar lanterns.

Russia’s attacks caused large-scale blackouts in various areas of Ukraine due to the destruction of many energy infrastructure facilities. As the winter gets colder and days get shorter every day in Ukraine, this aid from Japan has significant importance to those who cannot use heating facilities and lighting equipment due to the blackout.

The Government of Japan will continue to provide support for and stand by the people of Ukraine who are facing hardship, in collaboration with the international community, including the G7 members.

That is all from me.

Outlook for Holding a Japan-U.S. “2+2”

Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi: I would like to ask about the revision of three security-related policy documents. Please tell us the direction for how Japan-U.S. consultations will be advanced following the revision of the documents by the end of this year. Some reports also suggest that an in-person Japan-U.S. “2+2” will be held in January 2023. Is it being coordinated in this direction?

Minister Hayashi: The Government of Japan will formulate the new National Security Strategy and other policy documents by the end of this year and is working to drastically strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities.

At the same time, we are firmly and further strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.

Furthermore, nothing has been decided about the schedule and other details for the next Japan-U.S. “2+2.”

Report by the Advisory Panel to Comprehensively Discuss Defense Capabilities as National Strength

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the strengthening of defense capabilities. The Government of Japan’s Advisory Panel compiled a report that raises the necessity of the people of Japan to bear the cost burden, including tax increases, and calls for possessing counterattack capabilities. Please tell us your reaction to this report. Please also tell us your thoughts on how to utilize this report to strengthen defense capabilities.

Minister Hayashi: The Advisory Panel to Comprehensively Discuss Defense Capabilities as National Strength has been held four times, assembling of people with a high level of expertise with the aim of discussing the comprehensive strengthening of Japan’s defense system and the ideal financing necessary to survive the severe security environment surrounding Japan. I have attended the meetings and listened to the valuable opinions.

I believe that consultations on the National Security Strategy and the like, which are planned to be formulated by the end of this year, will take into account this report. MOFA will continue to cooperate with the relevant ministries and agencies.

Status of Preparations for the G7 Hiroshima Summit

Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask about the G7 Hiroshima Summit that will be held in May 2023. The summit is less than six months away. I believe there are various issues to be addressed, such as welcoming the leaders and security, so please tell us the outlook on responding to those issues.

Minister Hayashi: The entire Government of Japan is working as one to prepare for the holding of the G7 Hiroshima Summit with cooperation among the host location Hiroshima Prefecture, Hiroshima City, and related ministries and agencies.

We will make every effort to prepare for the summit in which the G7 leaders show from Hiroshima to the world their strong commitment to prevent a recurrence of the devastation of nuclear weapons and resolutely reject military invasion.

Situation in North Korea (Nuclear Issue)

Pan Orient News, Azhari: My question is about the latest missile launch by North Korea. Despite the strict sanctions against North Korea, that country has been successfully launching missiles and reportedly planning to have a nuclear test. Would Japan be ready to recognize North Korea as a nuclear state and it joins a nuclear club already possessing countries including the 5 members of security council and Israel, India, and Pakistan? Wouldn’t that help bring peace to East Asia instead of the current arm race in the area? Thank you.

Minister Hayashi: North Korea’s nuclear and missile development poses a grave, urgent threat to Japan’s security, including its repeated ballistic missile launches with unprecedented frequency and forms, such as the ICBM ballistic missile launch on November 18. In addition, this is a blatant, serious challenge to the international community, and cannot be overlooked. Japan cannot possibly accept the possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea. This is shared in the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement issued on November 21 and the resolution adopted at the IAEA General Conference in September.

If I were to say anything further, it would be that Prime Minister Kishida held a Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit Meeting with U.S. President Biden and ROK President Yoon during his visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on November 13. The leaders shared recognition of the increasing importance of Japan-U.S., Japan-ROK, and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation. They also urged North Korea to return to negotiations, as the path to dialogue toward a peaceful, diplomatic resolution remains open.

The Government of Japan will continue to aim for the complete denuclearization of North Korea by promoting the complete implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, while conducting close Japan-U.S. cooperation and Japan-U.S.-ROK cooperation as well as cooperating with the international community.

United Nations Security Council (Holding an Open Debate on the “Rule of Law”)

Mainichi Shimbun, Miyahara: I would like to ask about the open debate that you announced in your address. On November 20, you announced that consideration is underway to hold an open debate on the theme of the “rule of law” in New York in January 2023, when Japan will hold the presidency of the UNSC, as a non-permanent member of the UNSC from January 2023. Please tell us the status of coordination on whether you will visit New York in the United States for this.

Minister Hayashi: As the president of the UNSC in January 2023, Japan is considering holding a meeting on the theme of the “rule of law” in order to strengthen the rule of law in the international community.

Nothing has been decided at this point on details such as whether I will attend the meeting.

Resignation of Cabinet Ministers

Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi: The current situation is unprecedented in which three cabinet ministers have resigned in a short period of time. There are questions about the Prime Minister’s responsibility for appointing ministers. What are your thoughts on the current situation that is shaking the administration?

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from answering about the resignations of cabinet ministers in my position as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In any case, I will firmly fulfill my duties as Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Overtime Pay for MOFA Personnel

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about unpaid work pay. During his press conference today, Minister Kono revealed that the additional portions for late-night work and working on holidays within overtime-pay for MOFA personnel were not appropriately paid. With regard to this issue, please tell us the situation that MOFA knows about, such as the period of unpaid compensation, and how you intend to respond.

Minister Hayashi: MOFA provides overtime pay to those who worked overtime. We have also been promoting an initiative since October 2021 in which we started operating an overtime input system.

Against this backdrop, we have confirmed that there is a system-based problem in the extra supplemental rate that applies to those working late at night on weekdays as well as working on weekends and holidays.

The details are currently being confirmed. We are working to respond as soon as possible in order to rectify the problem, including fixing the current relevant system.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Pan Orient News, Azhari: Is there any plan by Japanese leaders such as Prime Minister Kishida to visit Qatar to attend the World Cup game especially the last one. I mean the final game?

Minister Hayashi: At this point, we have no plans for anyone related to the Government of Japan to attend the soccer World Cup from Tokyo.

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