Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Monday, October 7, 2019, 6:42 p.m. Central Entrance Hall, Ministry of Foreign
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The work has finished to confirm the wording and other matters in both Japan and the United States for the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement as well as the Japan-U.S. Digital Trade Agreement. This afternoon, the Cabinet approved signing the agreements through a round robin Cabinet decision. Following this, it has been decided that Japanese Ambassador to the United States Sugiyama and U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer will sign the agreements in Washington D.C. in the afternoon of October 7, U.S. time, which would be at dawn on October 8 Japan time. The signing ceremony is scheduled to be held at the White House in the presence of President Trump. The leaders of both Japan and the United States have agreed to make the agreements swiftly enter into force after having completed each country’s domestic procedures. Japan aims to have the agreements enter into force at an early stage through deliberations and approval in the Diet.
Reporter: We have finally reached the stage of signing the agreements. As the minister in charge of negotiations, please tell us your thoughts again.
Minister Motegi: The Diet deliberations will begin soon. We have reached an important juncture with the signing of the agreements today. It is of utmost importance to have these agreements, made to be win-win for both Japan and the United States, quickly enter into force, so we will exert all efforts for the work onwards.
Reporter: What was the reason for using the round robin format today to approve the agreements, instead of doing so at the ordinary Cabinet meeting tomorrow?
Minister Motegi: We held a round robin Cabinet meeting today in order to approve them as soon as possible.
Reporter: I would like to ask about the goal of having them enter into force, for example as in January 2020. Also, the content of the agreements was agreed upon in the recent joint statement between the leaders of Japan and the United States. Can you please tell us if there is anything particularly significant in the content of the agreements?
Minister Motegi: The agreements shall enter into force as soon as possible. If the U.S. side aims for January 1, 2020, then I believe there is no discrepancy with Japan with regards to the idea of the timing. The content of the agreements signed today has already been explained at press conferences and on other opportunities. The signing was reached after procedures including having the legal scrub completed, so nothing has changed in the content.