Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Friday, December 2, 2022, 3:13 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

(1) Further Measures Taken by the Government of Japan Against North Korea

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have two announcements at the outset.

First, since this year, North Korea has continued to take a series of provocative actions, such as repeating ballistic missile launches with unprecedented frequency and manner. Under these circumstances, on November 18, North Korea launched an ICBM-class ballistic missile that landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This is a serious and imminent threat to the security of Japan and an act of aggression that threatens the peace and security of the region and the entire international community. It is absolutely unacceptable.

Under these circumstances, in coordination with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), at today’s Cabinet meeting, the cabinet additionally designated three groups and one individual involved in nuclear and missile development, which is prohibited by the Security Council Resolutions related to North Korea, as subject to asset freezing.
As Japan’s further measure against North Korea to seek for a comprehensive resolution of issues of concern such as the abductions, and nuclear and missiles issues, the decision was made based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act.

Japan strongly urges North Korea to take concrete actions to resolve various issues such as abductions, nuclear and missiles issues. We will continue to work toward the complete denuclearization of North Korea, while maintaining close Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK coordination and cooperating with the international community.

(2) Tenth Japan-Australia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations “2+2”

Minister Hayashi: Second, on December 9, the Tenth Japan-Australia Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations “2+2” will be held in Tokyo, with Minister of Defense HAMADA Yasukazu. From the Australian side, Senator the Hon. Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Hon. Richard Marles MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense of the Commonwealth of Australia, will visit Japan to attend the meeting.

Australia is Japan’s “Special Strategic Partner,” sharing fundamental values and strategic interests.

During Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Australia in October 2022, the Japan-Australia Leaders’ Meeting was held, and the “Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation” was signed by the two leaders. At this 2+2 meeting, the two leaders will discuss concrete measures to further strengthen the security and defense cooperation between the two countries, based on the Joint Declaration and other outcomes of the Leader’s Meeting.

Considering the increasingly severe strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific region, we would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm further bilateral cooperation as well as cooperation with like-minded countries in relation to the regional and international situations, while sharing mutual understanding.

That is all from me.

Further Measures by the Government of Japan Against North Korea

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about the additional sanctions against North Korea. The Government of Japan has already implemented sanctions of freezing assets on groups and individuals in relation to the nuclear and missile activities by North Korea. Including the newly added sanctions, how has the Government of Japan analyzed and verified the effectiveness of these sanctions? Please tell us your view on this.

Minister Hayashi: It is difficult to make general statements about the effectiveness of measures against North Korea. However, given the severe economic situation in North Korea, I believe that the measures that Japan has implemented based on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and our own independent measures have had certain effects. 

Japan will continue to ensure that relevant UNSC resolutions remain in force and thoroughly implement the measures we are taking.

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (Victory of the Japan National Football Team)

TBS, Nakamura: I would like to ask about the victory of the Japan National Football Team. Following the win over Germany, the Japanese national team scored a comeback win again over the Spanish team, a very strong team, to advance to the best 16. Did you watch the match this morning? Please tell us your reaction to the result and expectations for further matches.

Minister Hayashi: I am very excited about today’s victory of the Japanese national team over the Spanish national team, a very strong team, at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and the fact that they have survived the first-round tournament of the World Cup for the second tournament in a row.

I did not watch it live because the broadcast time was late at night, or you could say it was very early in the morning, but I learned the result on the news this morning.

I expect the Japanese national team will demonstrate their teamwork more than ever in the final tournament and make it to the quarterfinals, which is their goal, and possibly win the World Cup.

Issue of the Former Unification Church

Independent Web Journal, Hamamoto: I would like to ask about the issue of the Unification Church. Lawyers of the National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales have pointed out, and various media have also reported, that the Unification Church transferred the funds collected through the donations from its followers in Japan to the Church’s Headquarters in the ROK and made significant financial contributions and investments to North Korea. It is possible that part of these enormous funds, which are said to exceed 10 billion yen, has been used as funding for North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. If that is true, the Unification Church’s activities pose threats to Japan’s security. The Unification Church is committing international organized crime. As the religious community in Japan is merely a branch, even if it is dissolved, the issue will not be solved as long as the main body of the Unification Church remains. Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) intend to elucidate these financial flows and request a refund of the large amount of donations transferred to the Headquarters in the ROK by coordinating with the National Police Agency and requesting cooperation from the Government of the ROK through diplomatic channels? In addition, please tell us whether MOFA will pursue liability against the leader of the church, Hak Ja Han, and its executives in the Church’s Headquarters in the ROK.

Minister Hayashi: Due to the nature of the matter, it is not appropriate to reveal MOFA’s individual and specific responses that you have just asked, and I would like to refrain from answering. In any case, MOFA will continue to cooperate with relevant ministries and agencies in addressing the issue of the former Unification Church.

Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution

Asahi Shimbun, Takahashi: I would like to ask about the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution such as Gunkanjima. There are some reports suggesting that the Government of Japan submitted a report to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stating that the requisition was applied to all Japanese nationals and that there was no discrimination against Korean workers. Please confirm whether it was true. In addition, please tell us whether any changes will be made to the exhibits at the Industrial Heritage Information Centre.

Minister Hayashi: Based on the resolution adopted at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2021, the Government of Japan submitted a conservation status report to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on November 30, 2022.

The report clearly presents that Japan has received the World Heritage Committee’s resolutions seriously and responded to them sincerely.

We will continue to make efforts on further enhancing the exhibits, and the report also addresses this in a specific direction.

In order to sincerely respond to the World Heritage Committee’s resolutions, the Government of Japan will address this matter appropriately.

Please refer to the report to be published on the Cabinet Secretariat website for the details of the exhibit.

The International Group of Eminent Persons for a “World without Nuclear Weapons”

Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask about the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons, which will be held next weekend. When Prime Minister Kishida was in the position of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, this Group consisted of a panel of experts from relevant fields. However, the framework of the members has been expanded to include political leaders. Could you tell us your thoughts on the significance of involving political leaders in the meeting and the outcomes the Government of Japan expect in terms of the members for this meeting?

Minister Hayashi: At this moment, the first meeting has not been convened yet. Therefore, I would like to refrain from answering about any outlook and outcomes of the discussions based on speculation.

In any case, during the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons, I expect that participants of both nuclear-weapon states and non-nuclear-weapon states will freely and actively discuss the specific path toward realizing a “World without Nuclear Weapons,” allowing them to share wisdom beyond their respective positions of their own countries, with the involvement of current and former political leaders from various countries, as you have just pointed out.

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