Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Friday, March 31, 2023, 10:45 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(1) Visit to China by Foreign Minister Hayashi
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have two announcements at the outset.
Firstly, I will be visiting Beijing, China, from April 1 to 2.
At the Japan-China Summit Meeting in November 2022, the two leaders reaffirmed and agreed on the direction of establishing a “constructive and stable Japan-China relationship.”
Currently, Japan-China relations shares various possibilities while it faces many challenges and serious concerns. Amidst this, Japan’s consistent position is to say what needs to be said and call on China to act responsibly. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly important to build a “constructive and stable Japan-China relationship” in which both sides will thoroughly engage in dialogues and consider cooperation on common challenges including pending issues.
During my visit this weekend, I will hold a meeting with H.E. Mr. Qin Gang, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, and will hold a candid, in-depth discussion to build a “constructive and stable relationship.”
(2) Foreign Minister Hayashi to Attend the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Minister Hayashi: Secondly, I will be visiting Brussels, Belgium, from April 3 to 6 to attend the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other meetings.
In the same manner as in April 2022, I will attend the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs with other partner countries and organizations. At this meeting, as the international community stands at a historical crossroad, we will reaffirm our cooperation with NATO, which plays an important role in addressing urgent issues such as Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. At the same time, I will also confirm the bolstering of cooperation towards the maintenance and strengthening of a free and open international order based on the rule of law between Japan and NATO, including the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).”
Japan, as this year’s G7 Presidency, will also host the G7 Trade Ministers’ first meeting online, in which I will participate from Brussels. Together with Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Mr. NISHIMURA Yasutoshi, who will serve as the co-chair of the meeting, we will confirm our commitment to maintaing and strengthening of free and fair trade systems, and will discuss economic security initiatives among the G7 members and other countries.
Furthermore, we will hold the fourth meeting of the Joint Committee established based on the Japan-EU EPA in Brussels with Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy that Works for People and European Commissioner for Trade. In this meeting, we will discuss the proper and effective operation of the Japan-EU EPA and how to ensure it. We will also exchange views on various international economic issues with Executive Vice-President bolster cooperation Dombrovskis.
In addition, I am scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of relevant countries and organizations to bolster cooperation.
That is all from me.
Visit to China by Foreign Minister Hayashi
NHK, Morita: I would like to ask about your visit to China announced at the beginning. It will be the first visit to China in approximately three years and three months, and your visit comes just before the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Karuizawa and the G7 Hiroshima Summit. Please tell us again the significance of your visit at this timing. In addition, some issues between the two countries, including the recent detainment of a Japanese national and the concern over ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water ,were expressed at the China-Russia Summit Meeting. How would you explain Japan’s position on these issues?
Minister Hayashi: My visit to China has been arranged in line with the agreement on the direction of establishing a “constructive and stable Japan-China relationship” reaffirmed by the two leaders at the Japan-China Summit Meeting in November 2022. I will visit China as part of this initiative to firmly continue dialogues on various issues between the two countries at all levels.
Moreover, at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Karuizawa and the G7 Hiroshima Summit, we will discuss various issues in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes China. Based on my visit to China, Japan, as this year’s G7 Presidency, will lead these discussions at the G7 meetings.
In addition, we have explained Japan’s position to the Chinese side concerning the detainment of a Japanese national and ALPS treated water. During my visit, I will firmly explain Japan’s positiontowards a series of issues, including ones you just mentioned.
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would also like to ask about Japan-China relations. You have mentioned that Japan would say what needs to be said, while cooperating in areas where the two countries could cooperate. Specifically, in what areas do you consider Japan should cooperate with China?
Minister Hayashi: At the Japan-China Summit Meeting in November 2022, the two leaders shared the view that mutually beneficial cooperation is possible in specific areas of economy and exchanges of people. I would like to hold candid discussions during my visit to China this time based on this point.
Mainichi Shimbun, Takeuchi: I would like to ask a related question. Could you tell us if you plan to discuss border measures for entry into Japan from China, human rights issues in China, security issues including those surrounding Taiwan, increased Chinese military activities around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, and the Maritime and Aerial Communication Mechanisms between the Japan-China defense authorities?
Minister Hayashi: I would like to refrain from commenting on the details of the meeting based on speculation at this point.
Japan-ROK relations (Moves Towards Improving the Relations)
Chosun Ilbo, Son: I would like to ask about Japan-ROK relations. Since the Japan-ROK Summit Meeting on March 16, efforts to improve the bilateral relationship, such as inviting the ROK to the outreach meeting at the G7 Hiroshima Summit, have been accelerated. Furthermore, certain moves related to security cooperation between Japan and the ROK, including the resumption of the Japan-ROK Security Dialogue and the Japan-US-ROK trilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise have also been reported. The biggest challenge seems to be how Japan and the ROK will realize these opportunities for improving bilateral relations. Please tell us your concrete plans that you intend to focus on this year, including future prospects.
Minister Hayashi: Recently, H.E. Mr. YOON Suk Yeol, President of the ROK, visited Japan and held a positive meeting with Prime Minister Kishida that significantly contributed to the normalization of Japan-ROK relations. I also attended the Summit meeting and realized that Japan and the ROK are extremely important neighboring countries to each other, and have a high potential as partners to respond to various issues and challenges facing the international community.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon agreed to resume “shuttle diplomacy,” while the two leaders also agreed to activate communication between their governments in a wide range of fields, including politics, economy, and culture. As part of these agreements, we will promote the resumption of the Japan-ROK Security Dialogue and the Japan-ROK Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue, and we plan to accelerate necessary coordination for early realization of these dialogues.
In addition, I intend to actively support Japan-ROK dialogues in various policy areas to be held by relevant ministries and agencies. Through these efforts, we will strive to foster an environment for specific cooperation and ensure positive momentum in Japan-ROK relations.
We will continue to make every effort from a diplomatic standpoint to reach concrete outcomes in each case in various areas through close communication with H.E. Dr. Park Jin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the ROK, among others.
Former President of the United States Donald Trump Indictment
Kyodo News, Ueda: I would like to ask about the indictment of former President Trump. A grand jury in New York, the United States, has indicted former President Trump over an allegation that he paid a hush money to cover up the affair. As no former president of the United States has ever been indicted, please tell us your reaction to this case.
Minister Hayashi: I am aware of the report you have mentioned. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on matters related to the internal affairs of other countries.