Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Wednesday, October 9, 2019, 4:40 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

(1) The World Food Day Symposium

Mr. Ohtaka Masato, Press Secretary: During my opening remarks, I would like to introduce two initiatives that international organizations and Japan are cooperating on.

One is the World Food Day Symposium “Creating a Sustainable Future – What Can We Do to Reduce Food Loss and Waste?” that will be jointly held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Tokyo on October 18. Two days before that on October 16 is World Food Day as designated by the United Nations, and events will be held around the world toward achieving “Zero Hunger,” one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by 2030.

In Japan, the Food Loss Reduction Promotion Act entered into force on October 1, 2019. It is fine to think of this as going from concept advocacy to the implementation stage for food loss reduction initiatives.

Building on this growing momentum, the symposium will be attended by FAO experts, and will widely introduce leading initiatives by various Japanese companies and municipalities, who are thinking seriously about how to eliminate food waste, including leftover food at convenience stores. The aim is to promote the participants’ understanding of food issues and find ways to make international contributions to achieving the SDGs.

Participation registration is being accepted on MOFA’s website, so please actively participate if you are interested.

(2) International Forum on Acceptance of Foreign Nationals and Their Integration into Japan

Press Secretary Ohtaka: The other initiative is a forum that will be jointly held with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The International Forum on Acceptance of Foreign Nationals and Their Integration into Japan will be held jointly by MOFA and the IOM at Akasaka Resident Center Hall in Minato City, Tokyo on October 31.

Through introductions of leading examples overseas by foreign experts as well as the participation of Japanese people concerned including people from municipal governments, this forum is aimed at being an opportunity to acquire knowledge for taking measures for acceptance of foreign nationals. It has actually been held since around 2005.

To be more specific, this is the 15th time it will be held and the theme will be “Smooth acceptance of foreign nationals in local communities.” Taking this opportunity, discussions will be deepened regarding initiatives that enhance regional communities’ understanding of acceptance of foreign nationals by inviting experts from Japan and abroad and holding lectures and panel discussions. Advanced, successful examples will also be introduced.

Participation registration for the event is being accepted until October 28 on the website of the Japan office of the IOM, so please participate if you are interested.

Sightseeing Pilot Tour of the Joint Economic Activities

NHK, Watanabe: In relation to Japan-Russia relations, the implementation of the experimental sightseeing tour has been postponed. What was the true reason for this? It will be postponed, so what is the current decision on when to aim to reschedule it to?

Press Secretary Ohtaka: As stated, a message was received yesterday, October 8, from the Russian side that they want to postpone the sightseeing pilot tour of the joint economic activities in the Northern Territories scheduled to be implemented from October 11-16. Coordination was conducted through various diplomatic routes based on this, but as the departure date was approaching, as a result of consultations with the ministries and agencies concerned and others, the implementation of the scheduled tour was postponed.

Also, the future implementation of the tour will of course be coordinated again with the people concerned. Although it would be quite difficult to speak about the detailed discussion, I have heard that it was basically due to the circumstances of the Russian side. In regard to the schedule for the future tour, as commented by the Chief Cabinet Secretary earlier, coordination will be conducted again to implement the tour as quickly as possible from the end of this month through consultations with the people concerned.

Case of a Collision with a Korean Fishing Boat

Asahi Shimbun, Takeshita: I would like to ask a question about North Korea. In relation to the recent case of a collision with a fishing boat, it has been disclosed that the Government of Japan lodged a protest to North Korea using the embassy route in Beijing, but I believe the date and time have not been announced. That said, I believe that there have been cases where the dates and times for past protests to North Korea were announced. So are there any rules by which MOFA decides whether or not to make public the date and time at which it lodges protests to North Korea?

Press Secretary Ohtaka: As I have explained using various opportunities through now, a firm protest was lodged to North Korea regarding this matter through the embassy route in Beijing. The protest was of course lodged after the incident occurred, but this time we have refrained from commenting on the details. If asked whether there are detailed, separate rules for this within MOFA, it depends on the circumstances. The unique characteristics of North Korea are of course in the background of this, but in any case, we will continue to make such decisions while considering the circumstances of each case.

I believe that, from the various cases, a general trend can naturally be seen, but I am not sure if every case follows one consistent rule.

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