Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 10:40 a.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.

Issue of Former Civilian Workers from the Korean Peninsula

Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I would like to ask about the issue of the former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. I believe that meetings have been held between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) with the aim of maintaining close communication. The ROK side has recognized the need for Japan to make contributions, apologize, and take “sincere measures” towards resolving the issue. Please tell us where you are with the discussion and the future outlook on whether there are areas of compromise can be made.

Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting on each report and movement within the ROK. In any case, during the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting in November 2022, the two leaders reaffirmed to pursue an early resolution of the issues between the two countries, and diplomatic authorities have been communicating. The Japan-ROK Director-General Level Talk was also held yesterday.

Based on the foundation of our friendly cooperative relations built up since the normalization of relations between Japan and the ROK in 1965, we will stay in close communication with the Government of the ROK toward restoring healthy Japan-ROK relations and further developing those relations.

Issue of Comfort Women (Installation of a Comfort Woman Statue in Argentina)

Sankei Shimbun, Okada: I would like to ask about the recent Japan-Argentina Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that was held during your visit. Last year, a plan to establish a comfort woman statue in Argentina was revealed, but the plan was suspended by the end of the year. Please tell us if the plan for the statue installation was discussed at this meeting? In addition, comfort women statues have been newly installed in places around the world. Please tell us whether the Government of Japan intends to encourage relevant countries to prevent the statues installation of comfort women statues in the future.

Minister Hayashi: First, with regard to your first question, I would like to refrain from answering about the details as this is a matter of diplomatic communication. The details of the Japan-Argentina Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was as stated in the press release.

As for your second question, the Government of Japan has explained in various forms to the international community about the Government’s views and measures thus far regarding the comfort women issue. We will continue such efforts in order to gain proper recognition by the international community.

Restrictions on Visa Issuance by the Government of China

Kyodo News, Ueda: I would like to ask about the process and suspension of visa issuance by the Government of China. It turns out that the Government of China has approved limited visa issuance for official matters and some businesses, which has been suspended for both Japan and the ROK. Please tell us what the Government of Japan knows about this issue. Furthermore, how do you intend to work toward the total resumption of visa issuance?

Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the reports you pointed out, but the Government of Japan is not in the position to provide explanations regarding measures taken by China.

In any case, Japan implements border measures with the aim of COVID-19 countermeasures so that international movement of people is not limited. On the other hand, it is extremely regrettable that China has unilaterally restricted issuance of visas for a reason that does not seem to be related to COVID-19 countermeasures. The Government of Japan has lodged a protest to China using diplomatic channels, and requested repeal of China’s measure.

Japan will appropriately respond while monitoring the situation of infections in China and how China discloses information.

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