Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, January 27, 2023, 12:20 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Support for Ukraine (Direction of Japan’s Future Support)
Mainichi Shimbun, Takeuchi: I would like to ask about support for Ukraine. The United States and Germany announced their plans to provide battle tanks to Ukraine. The Ukrainian side has welcomed this news and requested the international community to provide further weapons that can change the current situation of the war. Due to the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, Japan is unable to provide any weapons including battle tanks. In this situation, please tell us how Japan, as a member of the G7, plans to support Ukraine going forward.
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Japan has sequentially implemented support totaling approximately $1.5 billion for Ukraine and its surrounding countries, including a supplementary budget of approximately $500 million.
While demonstrating leadership as the G7 Presidency this year, the Government of Japan will continue to provide support for and stand by the people of Ukraine who are facing hardships, while appropriately understanding the needs of Ukraine, in cooperation with the international community, including the G7 members.
In doing so, we will effectively implement various forms of support for Ukraine that allows them to be easily recognized as Japan’s development cooperation, while utilizing the experience and knowledge that we have cultivated to date, including the recent effort for the removal of landmines and unexploded ordinance conducted in cooperation with Cambodia.
Support for Ukraine (Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology)
Asahi Shimbun, Uechi: I would like to ask a related question. At the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Division of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), various opinions have been expressed regarding the provision of equipment and support to Ukraine. The new National Security Strategy (NSS), revised and released at the end of last year, included the promotion of defense equipment transfers. Could you tell us about the future schedule and the desired direction for reviewing the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, operation guidelines, and others?
Minister Hayashi: As Japan faces the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will continue to consider measures to actively contribute to the peace and stability of the region and the international community to ensure Japan’s peace and security.
Transferring defense equipment and technology is an important measure for ensuring peace and stability, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, and for creating a desirable security environment for Japan by deterring unilateral changes to the status quo by force.
I would like to refrain from answering about the specific contents and schedule related to the review of systems such as the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology and its operational guidelines at this time based on speculation. The Government of Japan will firmly consider the future situation, while carefully conducting further coordination.
Support for Ukraine (G7 + Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Ukraine Energy Sector Support)
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about support for Ukraine. Recently, an online meeting was held in which G7 countries, the foreign ministers of like-minded countries in Europe, and international organizations participated. Please tell us the background and purpose of this meeting, which was co-hosted by Japan, the G7 Presidency this year, and the United States, in addition to the significance and outcomes.
Minister Hayashi: On January 24, I co-hosted the G7 + Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Ukraine Energy Sector Support with the Honorable Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States. While the United States is taking the lead in coordinating the support for the Ukraine energy sector, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, decided to co-host the meeting in cooperation with the United States.
I reiterated our strong condemnation of Russia’s deliberate attacks of energy infrastructure, which directly affect the livelihood of citizens. I also stated that Japan has been providing 300 generators and 83,500 solar lanterns as an emergency response to the electricity shortage in Ukraine, and is considering additional provision of more generators. In addition, I mentioned that as the G7 presidency, Japan would like to promote support for Ukraine ever more emphatically, such as winterization assistance including in the area of electricity.
Furthermore, I discussed, with other G7 countries, the foreign ministers of like-minded countries, and the representatives of key international organizations, the urgent issue of maintaining and restoring energy infrastructure, shared information on the efforts of each country, and confirmed their commitment to providing necessary assistance to Ukraine, including further winterization assistance.
Foreign ministers of the participating countries, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Kuleba of Ukraine, conveyed their gratitude to Japan, as the G7 Presidency, for co-hosting the meeting and playing an active role in providing support for Ukraine’s energy sector.
I believe that the meeting was very meaningful that G7 countries, the foreign ministers of like-minded countries, and the representatives of key international organizations were able to unite to reaffirm their intention to contribute to Ukraine energy sector support.
Revision of the Development Cooperation Charter
Kyodo News, Kinashi: Changing the subject, I would like to ask about the Development Cooperation Charter. At the press conference on November 25, 2022, you stated that the Government of Japan would prepare the outline of a new Charter by the end of the year, based on a report prepared by the Advisory Panel on the revision of the Charter. However, n such outline has been released since the government received the report on December 9. Please tell us the current state of the formulation of the Charter, including whether there has been any change in the drafting process.
Minister Hayashi: Currently, the Government of Japan is working to formulate a new Development Cooperation Charter, aiming to finalize it in the first half of this year. We are considering within the government to determine the appropriate timing and form to express the government’s views, including the outline of the Development Cooperation Charter.
G7 Hiroshima Summit (Engagement in the Global South)
NHK, Morita: This week, the ordinary session of the Diet opened, and Prime Minister Kishida stated in his policy speech that his policy would aim to unite the G7 to strengthen its engagement in the Global South. Since the G7 Hiroshima Summit to be held in May, please tell us the plan of the Government of Japan to strengthen its engagement with the Global South in what fields and by utilizing what methods, on the occasion of the Summit. In addition, please tell us once again the importance of cooperation with the Global South.
Minister Hayashi: In recent years, the presence of emerging and developing countries known as the Global South has been increasing both economically and politically. Furthermore, Russia’s aggression agains Ukraine, which started last year, has had a significant impact on the lives of people in the world including those in the Global South in various aspects such as energy and food.
As the G7 Hiroshima Summit 2023 to be held amid such a situation, we will have discussions on the G7’s responses to the global economy including energy and food security, as well as global issues such as climate change, health, and development.
Through active contributions to these various issues, we will respond in cooperation with the G7 countries to promote and strengthen our engagement in the Global South.