Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 10:17 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Infection Control Measures in China
NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about China’s zero-COVID policy. In various parts of China, there have been developments in reviewing infection control measures, including the elimination of the requirement of a negative PCR test. Japan has been raising questions about China’s measures through now. What is your assessment of such moves in China? Protests have also taken place in China, so please tell us if the Government of Japan is currently making any announcements to the Japanese nationals in China.
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I am aware that in the past few days, the national Government of China and regional governments have been making announcements one after another on adjusting infection control measures. The Government of Japan will continue to monitor with strong interest the effects of China’s infection control measures on its economy, civilian activities, and other such aspects.
In addition, due to the recent situation, including the cases of protests that occurred at the end of last month, we have been disseminating information on the infection control measures in various regions, issuing alerts on the occurrence of movement restrictions and protests, sending “consul emails”, calling for people to stockpile food and daily necessities, and providing support such as responding to consultations from Japanese residents in China, through local Japanese embassies and consulates-general.
The Government of Japan will continue to gather and analyze relevant information, and make all efforts to protect Japanese nationals and support the activities of Japanese companies, including communication with the Chinese side, based on the specific situation of Japanese residents in China.
The Prime Minister’s Instructions on the Total Expenditures for Defense Capabilities
Jiji Press, Tanaka: I would like to ask about your opinion on the increase in the defense budget. Yesterday, Prime Minister Kishida instructed the ministers of defense, foreign affairs, and finance that the total amount for the defense budget for the next five years should be around 43 trillion yen. Please tell us your reaction to this.
Minister Hayashi: With regard to the Prime Minister’s instructions that you just mentioned, the final coordination will be conducted until the end of the year regarding the content and scope of the defense budget.
It goes without saying that diplomatic efforts are necessary, but I believe that strengthening defense capabilities is also inevitable to support those efforts.
I believe that showing Japan’s system to firmly protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens will lead to enhancing our persuasiveness in diplomacy as well.
Meeting of 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 for a “World Without Nuclear Weapons” that will be held this weekend. This meeting is characterized by the participation and engagement of political leaders. At this point, former President Obama of the United States and Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations will give video messages. Please tell us if there is any other participants.
Minister Hayashi: During the opening session of the first meeting, leaders including former President Obama of the United States and Secretary-General Guterres of the United Nations are scheduled to give video messages. The final coordination is currently being conducted on the participation of other political leaders.
In addition, if various circumstances permit, coordination is underway for Prime Minister Kishida to attend the opening session on December 10.
During the meeting, it is expected that the political leaders will again indicate their commitment for realizing a world without nuclear weapons, and send a message to enhance the momentum of the international community.
Chugoku Shimbun, Higuchi: I would like to ask a related question. Is it correct to understand that only academics will directly come to the venue? If that is the case, I feel that it may not have much impact. Please tell us your view on that.
Minister Hayashi: As I stated earlier, former President Obama and Secretary-General Guterres will give video messages, and the final coordination is underway on the participation of other political leaders.