Press Conferences

Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Monday, September 23, 2019, 10:20 p.m. The Kitano Hotel, New York City, United States

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I held a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer from 9 a.m. Although the meeting itself took less than an hour, we had a little informal talk afterwards which took some time as we reminisced, and this is why there was an extension in time. All Japan-U.S. trade negotiations ended today. They finished. I believe we will be able to hold a good ceremony at the summit meeting the day after tomorrow. Once the agreed-upon contents will have been confirmed at the summit meeting, we would like to quickly announce them to the public.

Question-and-Answer Session

Reporter: On what topic you spent time the most during the discussion today, what was discussed and what was decided?

Minister Motegi: Although there was no topic in particular that took much time, we worked out details including the joint statement and others, and we simply confirmed every single point. The work today was confirmation rather than negotiations.

Reporter: Will there not be a ministerial consultation tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?

Minister Motegi: No.

Reporter: Will the agreement be signed at the summit meeting?

Minister Motegi: I believe the day after tomorrow will be an occasion for a good ceremony. We are currently making progress on a massive amount of work, and at this point, I believe we are not that behind the schedule of signing an agreement at the end of September. In the end, an agreement will be signed and it will swiftly enter into force after both Japan and the United States will have completed their respective domestic procedures. It is important to quickly formulate an agreement from the agreed-upon content and have it enter into force, and I believe that this process is making really good progress.

Reporter: I suppose you talked about the joint statement with Trade Representative Lighthizer today. What did you discuss about avoiding an implementation of additional duties according to Section 232 (of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962)?

Minister Motegi: Including that, we will quickly announce the content after the summit meeting.

Reporter: You have repeated that tariff rates on agricultural products shall be set within the range of those agreed in the past economic partnership agreements. Is it correct to understand that you discussed in that direction today?

Minister Motegi: We no longer held discussion on that point.

Reporter: So you made general confirmation on all points. Also, was the duty-free import quota of rice discussed today?

Minister Motegi: No, it was not.

Reporter: You mentioned the course of coming to an agreement soon. Is it correct to understand that Japan would like to put this on the agenda at the Diet session this fall?

Minister Motegi: I said enter into force soon, not come into an agreement. As I said, we agreed that we will swiftly complete domestic procedures in each country and make it enter into force as soon as possible.

Reporter: You said earlier that all the negotiations are now over. To confirm, is it correct to understand that all the negotiations ended today, rather than on August 25?

Minister Motegi: How should I put this, on August 23, Trade Representative Lighthizer and I reached consensus regarding the main items, and we agreed on them today.

Reporter: In your explanation earlier, you said that after the final signature at the summit meeting, the agreement would enter into force once domestic procedures are all complete. Is it correct to understand that the domestic procedures include legal scrub?

Minister Motegi: I do not intend to go into the details, but while domestic procedures in general are to be completed within each country, the most important part in Japan in a case of an agreement is the submission of its text to the Diet and the approval.

Reporter: Earlier, you said that you reminisced with Trade Representative Lighthizer after the meeting. Can you tell us specifically how the atmosphere was like and what you discussed?

Minister Motegi: The atmosphere was excellent. We decided last year in September in New York to launch Japan-U.S. trade negotiations. We said that it was exactly one year ago, and that we and our staffs had advanced discussions actively and in good faith, whose results can be seen today.

Reporter: When you referred to the domestic procedure, you referred mainly to the Diet approval. Did you agree, for example, with Trade Representative Lighthizer on a schedule for the domestic procedure, such as how many days it shall take for the agreement to enter into effect, which in Japan follows the Diet approval?

Minister Motegi: We did not discuss that today. I will explain the content the day after tomorrow.

Reporter: You said that the negotiations ended today, but what about the negotiations regarding items concerning trade and other investment that Japan and the United States agreed in September 2018 to negotiate during the second stage?

Minister Motegi: I will give precise explanations the day after tomorrow.

Reporter: Is it correct to understand that there will not be additional duties on automobiles?

Minister Motegi: Your question is almost the same as the one earlier. I will give a precise explanation the day after tomorrow, but there would be nothing to worry about the content.

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