Press Conferences

Press Conference by Deputy Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 4:40 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

Japan’s Contribution on Climate Change through G7

Mr. Masato Otaka, Deputy Press Secretary: Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a report on climate change and fragility, titled Analysis and Proposal of Foreign Policies Regarding the Impact of Climate Change on Fragility in the Asia-Pacific Region – With Focus on Natural Disasters in the Region.

As background, this theme has been discussed in the G8 and G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meetings since 2013, particularly the issue of climate change and socioeconomic vulnerabilities, in other words, discussion combining the scientific and socioeconomic topics as well as other various aspects. This has been discussed in G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meetings, under which a working group was established. In this regard, while focusing on specific regions, the significance of seeking opportunities to conduct case studies and pilot programs is presented.

Based on the discussions of the G7, this report compiled Japan’s analysis regarding the relation of socioeconomic vulnerabilities through focusing on the Asia-Pacific region which is vulnerable to natural disasters, and the majority of the world population is estimated to be concentrated and expected to grow. This report draws on the insight of the relevant ministries and agencies, research organizations, as well as experts in Japan, and is based on the latest research.

The findings of the report will be presented in the next working group meeting scheduled in Italy this autumn, as part of Japan’s contribution in the field of climate change through the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting process. Japan will employ and disseminate the insight and outcomes contained in this report not only in the climate change negotiations but also in various diplomatic endeavors, such as development assistance, disaster prevention, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

A symposium will be held next week in Tokyo on September 13. The report outcomes will be presented and discussed at this forum as well. I hope that you will take the time to review this report, which was prepared by an enthusiastic team.

Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

RIA Novosti, Naka: I have a question about Foreign Minister Kono’s visit to Russia. He will be visiting Vladivostok today. Is there a meeting scheduled with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov? If so, what topics might be discussed? Also, this is a visit to the Russian Far East. When will he visit Moscow? Media sources have reported that Foreign Minister Kono will do so sometime around November. What timing is planned?

Deputy Press Secretary Otaka: Foreign Minister Kono and Foreign Minister Lavrov spoke by phone on September 1, as we have previously announced. While they have already discussed a variety of topics in the telephone talk, the two ministers naturally would like to meet as soon as possible, as they have yet to meet in person.

However, nothing has been decided yet about the actual timing. The two ministers agreed to coordinate the specific schedule for a visit to Russia by Foreign Minister Kono in the telephone talk but nothing has been decided yet.

Report on Climate Change and Vulnerabilities

The Environmental News, Fukuhara: With the report finished, what were particularly important results or points? You mentioned utilizing results related to the Asia-Pacific region in diplomatic areas. How will it be employed? Please share your impressions as well.

Deputy Press Secretary Otaka: Based on my lengthy diplomatic career, it is unusual for a single country to present this type of report on such an important topic on its own initiative. I mentioned the enthusiastic team earlier. The team devoted a great deal of hard work to creating this report, while assembling the opinions of a significant number of people, including Japanese experts and people at domestic research entities. As I mentioned earlier, it is very unique to look at this issue from the perspectives of both climate change as a scientific matter and various socioeconomic changes, as well as the interactions between the two.

This is a revolutionary report in some respects, as it deals with a theme of great importance that is worthy of discussion at the foreign ministerial and national levels. The report can be utilized at a variety of fora related to this theme.

In particular, this subject is highly relevant to island countries. Developing countries have also shown a strong interest. Japan intends to use the results at fora addressing these issues.

While I ask that you inquire with the related division for more details, the report covers examples in Southeast Asia as well. This report covers many points that make a lot of sense from an intriguing view point, including the impact of population mobility, social instability and the expansion of public fear caused by natural disasters on society and the economy.

Yomiuri Shimbun, Nakane: Regarding the content of the announcement today, it appears that the report covers Southeast Asia in particular, and the socioeconomic implications of transboundary migration and the settlement of people in the countries they migrate to. As an example, some observers cite the role of drought as a factor in the rise in Syrian refugees. Does the report include any suggestion that refugees and migrants might increase in Southeast Asia as well?

Deputy Press Secretary Otaka: I believe the issue you just mentioned attracts extremely deep interest. There have been suggestions that the impact of drought is playing a role in Syria’s civil war, as you mentioned. There are actually some discussions pointing out the impact of drought, and some see the social instability, which was caused by on-going drought, as the remote cause which escalated the conflict. However, different views exist too and it is probably necessary to deepen the various related discussions. Within this context, no matter how this extends to Syria, it is meaningful to delve further from an Asian perspective as a basis for discussions.

Back to Press Conferences