Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Monday, September 16, 2019, 9:33 p.m. Central Entrance Hall, Ministry of Foreign

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I just held a telephone talk with Secretary of State Pompeo of the United States upon his request to extend congratulations on my appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Secretary Pompeo and I agreed on further strengthening the Japan-U.S. Alliance and working closely on a range of global and regional issues. Secretary Pompeo mentioned that we will be able to see each other in one week from now, so I stated that I look forward to seeing him in New York. I hope to hold a Japan-U.S. Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly session.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter: For about how long did the talk last?

Minister Motegi: I believe it was around 20 minutes.

Reporter: Was the situation of Saudi Arabia among the topics discussed?

Minister Motegi: We exchanged views regarding the Middle East situation, including the issue of Saudi Arabia. The destabilization of the Middle East region is a serious issue for Japan as well. I told Secretary Pompeo that I issued a Foreign Minister’s Statement that strongly denounces terror attacks.

Reporter: What did the two of you discuss regarding the situation of North Korea?

Minister Motegi: We exchanged views, including those on the North Korea situation. With regard to North Korea, I stated that Japan fully supports the U.S.-North Korea initiative and U.S. efforts, and that Japan will make steady efforts toward a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear and missile issues, and most importantly, the abductions issue. I expressed Japan’s intention to coordinate with the United States on such matters.

Reporter: Regarding the situation of Saudi Arabia, Secretary Pompeo of the United States has blamed Iran. Did Secretary Pompeo express any criticisms about Iran or ask you to share his recognition regarding such matters?

Minister Motegi: Secretary Pompeo shared information with me. In any case, I have already issued a Foreign Minister’s Statement regarding this, which was appreciated by Secretary Pompeo.

Reporter: Was anything mentioned about the Japan-U.S. trade negotiations during today’s telephone talk?

Minister Motegi: It was not mentioned at all.

Reporter: Crude oil prices have risen rapidly in the New York market, likely in response to the situation of Saudi Arabia. Was there any discussion on its impacts on the world economy?

Minister Motegi: Our discussion did not go into such detail. Nevertheless, Japan and the United States have a shared view that if the Middle East situation becomes unstable, it will have ramification on the international economy. That said, market trends were not discussed during today’s telephone talk.

Reporter: Did you provide any report to or exchange views with Mr. Pompeo regarding relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK)?

Minister Motegi: With regard to the issues concerning North Korea and so on, we shared the view that Japan-U.S. and Japan-U.S.-ROK coordination have never been more important than now, and that under such circumstances, a breakdown in the security cooperation would be a serious issue.

Reporter: In such circumstances, the ROK has just filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that Japan’s export restrictions on three semiconductor materials are unfair, according to a WTO announcement. Could you please share your thoughts?

Minister Motegi: We will respond firmly in accordance with WTO procedures.

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