Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Friday, November 22, 2019, 6:14 p.m. Nagoya Kanko Hotel
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Today, I am holding meaningful bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers who are visiting Japan to attend the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
On a separate note, today, the Government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced that it would no longer notify the termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). Close coordination between Japan and the ROK, as well as among Japan, the United States, and the ROK, in the area of security, is important for responding to various issues, including the issue of North Korea. I believe that the Government of the ROK made its decision from a strategic perspective, taking into account the current security situation in the region. Needless to say, the GSOMIA issue and the export control issue are completely separate matters. Regarding export control, we have received notification from the ROK side that it intends to suspend the WTO process. Going forward, I believe that dialogue will be held among the relevant authorities.
At present, the largest and most fundamental issue is that of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula. Japan will continue to strongly urge the ROK side to remedy the current situation, which is a breach of international law, as soon as possible.
Reporter: What do you think is the main reason that the ROK reached this decision?
Minister MOTEGI: As I just stated, I believe that the ROK side made its decision in consideration of the current security situation.
Reporter: How do you assess the ROK’s decision?
Minister MOTEGI: The ROK’s decision?
Reporter: Yes. What is your assessment of this decision by the ROK?
Minister MOTEGI: Japan believes that close coordination between Japan and the ROK, as well as among Japan, the United States, and the ROK, in the area of security, is important for responding to various issues, including the issue of North Korea, and that the ROK made a strategic decision, taking into consideration the current security situation in the region.
Reporter: Do you have any plans to meet or speak with Foreign Minister KANG Kyung-wha of the ROK, who made this decision, in the near future?
Minister MOTEGI: I understand that Foreign Minister KANG Kyung-wha will attend the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. I would like to arrange a meeting with her.
Reporter: Although you said that these are completely separate issues, at this juncture, is there any action that the Japanese side will take in terms of export control?
Minister MOTEGI: It is as I have just stated.
Reporter: In what ways do you think efforts by the United States and others influenced this decision?
Minister MOTEGI: With regards to the United States, we have been regularly conveying our consistent position concerning the Japan-ROK GSOMIA as well as our position on various issues, and we are constantly in close coordination. However, your point that there was pressure from the United States is completely incorrect.