Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, October 8, 2019, 5:10 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan-U.S. Trade Agreements
Yomiuri Shimbun, Abe: I would like to ask about the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement. With the conclusion of the signing ceremony, the ruling party process will begin. What are your views on the timing for submitting it to the Diet and the schedule toward its early entry into force?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The agreements have been signed, and the leaders of Japan and the United States agreed on the early entry into force of the agreements after the completion of both countries’ respective domestic procedures. An extraordinary session of the Diet is currently being held in Japan. I would like to aim for the early entry into force of the agreements by having deliberations in the Diet.
Situation in Hong Kong
Kyodo News, Takao: I would like to ask about the situation in Hong Kong. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is strengthening restrictions on demonstrations, including the establishment of a rule banning demonstrators from covering their faces with masks, and the rule was created by bypassing the process at the Legislative Council. In relation to this, President Trump has stated that if the situation worsens, it will affect trade negotiations with China, putting pressure on China which is behind the legislation. Amidst this, is the Government of Japan considering lodging complaint to China from the perspective of human rights or demanding it to change its responses? Please give us your view.
Minister Motegi: I believe I am not in the position to comment on the trade friction and issues between the United States and China, but I am extremely concerned that there is a large number of injured people from the clashes between the demonstrators and police in the recent situation in Hong Kong. I would like to request all those concerned to resolve this through self-restraint and peaceful talks, and I strongly hope that the stability of Hong Kong will be maintained through a swift settlement of the situation.
Hong Kong is an extremely important partner for Japan with close economic relations and people-to-people exchanges. I visited Hong Kong in January this year. There were many Japanese companies and Japanese nationals there. I believe that a free and open Hong Kong society is very important for the prosperity of this region, including Japan.
I will continue to underline the importance of the prosperity of a free and open Hong Kong under “one country, two systems” at various levels to China, and will keep monitoring the situation with high interest.
Kyodo News, Takao: In relation to this, are there any points that the Government of Japan is paying particular attention to such as measures for ensuring the safety of Japanese nationals in the area?
Minister Motegi: As I stated earlier, there are many Japanese companies operating in Hong Kong as well as many Japanese nationals who are resident there. Because of this, warnings have been repeatedly issued, including an issuance of a travel warning on August 14. Following the establishment of the rule banning masks on October 4, we immediately issued spot information and sent out alerts.
Attendance by the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the Ceremonies of the Accession to the Throne
Independent Web Journal, Hirai: According to reports yesterday, President Moon will not attend the Ceremonies of the Accession to the Throne on October 22. Is that the mutual understanding of both Japan and the ROK? Also, if the President or Prime Minister will visit Japan, will there be a meeting with Prime Minister Abe to break the current deadlock in bilateral relations?
Minister Motegi: I believe you are asking about the Ceremony of the Abdication of His Majesty the Emperor at the Seiden (State Hall).
Independent Web Journal, Hirai: Yes.
Minister Motegi: Is that correctly your question? Nothing has been decided about the attendees from the Government of the ROK.
Deployment of Intermediate-Range Missiles
Independent Web Journal, Hirai: With regard to the deployment of intermediate-range missiles, the Chief Cabinet Secretary stated that he had been reported that there was no approach from the United States about the accepting or deploying of new missiles. Can you please confirm whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received such an explanation from the United States?
Minister Motegi: Sorry, can you please explain the entire context when you ask questions? I would like to provide precise, careful explanations on confirmed information. However, unless you precisely ask your questions indicating what matter you are talking about, I cannot even answer yes or no to it, so please ask again.