Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

International Solidarity Tax

Tokyo Shimbun, KIYA: I would like to ask about the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held recently. Can you please introduce what kind of discussions there were regarding financing and an international solidarity tax toward realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the plenary session on SDGs? Can you please also tell us what views Japan expressed on this theme?

Mr. OHTAKA Masato, Press Secretary: There have been discussions that it is necessary to have “innovative financing” to overcome the issue of which there is said to be a financing gap of $2.5 trillion per year needed to achieve the SDGs in developing countries. We believe that an international solidarity tax would be one method for this. At the session on the SDGs at the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting you mentioned, it was agreed to accelerate action by strengthening initiatives in the fields that appear to be lagging while steadily conducting monitoring to achieve the “Decade of Action ” by 2030 based on discussions at the SDG Summit in September. In addition, various countries pointed out that there are major funding needs to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the importance and necessity of public-private cooperation for innovative financing was reconfirmed. Based on the results of the G20 Osaka Summit and the G20 Aichi-Nagoya Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Japan will actively participate in discussions in Japan and abroad regarding innovative financing to achieve the SDGs going forward.

Tokyo Shimbun, KIYA: An advisory board has been established within MOFA. What efforts do you think will be undertaken going forward toward introducing an international solidarity tax, including corrective measures?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: An international solidarity tax is one of the topics being discussed by the advisory board you mentioned, but discussions are also taking place that it is also possible to have other innovative financing methods such as “impact investment” and “blended finance.” Discussions are taking place on the advantages and disadvantages of each method. I believe that it would be good if we can have the advisory board to submit its proposals going forward and have discussions be accelerated on innovative financing, including an international solidarity tax.

Case of Detainment of a Japanese National in China

Sankei Shimbun, HARAKAWA: It has been newly learned that a Japanese man in his 50s has been detained by Chinese authorities in Hunan Province, China since July. Can you please tell us the information the Government of Japan has, including the reason for his detainment?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: The Embassy of Japan in China has confirmed that a Japanese man in his 50s has been detained by Chinese authorities for violation of domestic law in Changsha City, Hunan Province since July, as you stated. The Government of Japan is providing as much support as possible for consul meetings, communication with his family, and other support from the perspective of protecting a Japanese national. I would like to refrain from commenting on the details further than that, including personal matters, due to the nature of the case.

NHK, WATANABE: In relation to China’s detention of a Japanese national, given that members of the consulate have met with the detained national, do MOFA and the Government of Japan believe that his actions caused problems that warranted detainment or is his detainment viewed as clearly unjust from a general standpoint? For example, is might be the case that Japan is not investigating this further because you do not want to worsen the atmosphere of Japan-China relations ahead of President XI Jinping’s visit to Japan? I had the impression that such an atmosphere is being eagerly cultivated when I listened to the opening remarks for your recent meeting with Foreign Minister WANG Yi. Does Japan view this case as being one in which detention is a matter of course? How are you ascertaining that?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: As has been stated, there has been a series of cases of detentions of Japanese nationals. However, due to the nature of the matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on behalf of the Government of Japan on which cases were just or unjust, as you asked. On the other hand, regarding China-Japan relations and the visit to Japan by President Xi next spring that you mentioned, the Government of Japan has taken all opportunities until now at all levels to strongly request a positive response by China regarding the series of cases of detentions of Japanese nationals. There are various pending issues between Japan and China, including the cases of detentions of Japanese nationals, and in order to resolve these issues, the position of the Government of Japan is that it is necessary to hold frank discussions from a broad perspective at high levels between the governments and urge the Chinese side to take positive responses. Based on that, I believe that efforts must be exerted to improve the environment by seeking mutual understanding at high levels between Japan and China toward President Xi’s visit to Japan next spring.

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