Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary ONO Hikariko
Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 3:43 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Protests in China
Kyodo News, Kinashi: I would like to ask about the protests against the zero-COVID policy in China. The Government of China is aiming to quell the protests by force. In response, people in various western countries are calling for the right to peaceful protests, and are asserting that the Government of China should allow the protests to take place. Please tell us how the Government of Japan will respond to this issue.
Ms. ONO Hikariko, Press Secretary: The Government of Japan is currently working to gather and analyze relevant information.
Generally speaking, Japan’s consistent position is that fundamental human rights and freedom are universal values that should be respected everywhere in the world, including in China.
The International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons”
Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi: I would like to ask about the Group of Eminent Persons. The Group of Eminent Persons had meetings five times from 2017 to 2019, and the Chair’s report was compiled.
I believe that the report described actions that should be taken toward nuclear disarmament. Could you tell us which of these actions were actually implemented? In addition, please tell us what matters are expected as results of the current Group of Eminent Persons.
Press Secretary Ono: The Chair’s Report of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament submitted in 2019 made clear the gaps between claims from security and humanitarian perspectives, identified and considered difficult issues that should be reviewed for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and proposed measures that can be taken by the nation and civil society.
I would like to refrain from answering in detail about the report compiled under the duty of the Chair and the Government’s initiatives. If I were to say anything further, it would be that, for example, actions raised in the Chair’s report were included in the Hiroshima Action Plan announced by Prime Minister Kishida at the NPT Review Conference in August 2022. Specifically, they were first, the implementation of nuclear risk reduction measures, second, enhancement of transparency, and third, promotion of world leaders’ visits to the locations that suffered atomic bombings. The Government of Japan has been promoting initiatives in line with this Plan.
The International Group of Eminent Persons this time strengthens the aforementioned Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, which was active from 2017 to 2019. Prime Minister Kishida announced its establishment under the goal of raising international momentum toward a “world without nuclear weapons” with the participation of former and current political leaders.
With regard to the outlook and results of the International Group of Eminent Persons, I would like to refrain from answering based on speculation at this point. In any case, the Government of Japan expects the group participants, who are from both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states, to further foster momentum toward a “world without nuclear weapons” by transcending their respective countries’ positions to pool their wisdom and have open, candid discussions.
Case of the Death of a Japanese National in Ukraine
TV Asahi, Sawai: On November 9, it was confirmed that a Japanese man in his 20s, who was participating in battle as a volunteer soldier in Ukraine, had died. I believe that MOFA provided support such as making contact with his family. Two weeks have passed, and I wonder if his remains have been returned to Japan. Please share with us the facts that you are aware of.
Press Secretary Ono: With regard to the Japanese man in his 20s who died in Ukraine on November 9 local time, the Embassy of Japan in Ukraine provided the necessary support, such as coordinating with the Government of Ukraine, from a humanitarian perspective and based on the wishes of his family.
I would like to refrain from answering with any further details due to the nature of the matter.