Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 6:28 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan-China Relations (Visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping of China)
Sankei Shimbun, RIKITAKE: In regard to the visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping, at the Budget Committee meeting today, you stated that there is no change to the plan as of today. On the other hand, you also replied to a question by stating that it is necessary for the visit to achieve sufficient results, and you also stated at press conferences in February that some preparatory meetings have been postponed and it is necessary to accelerate preparations. As Japan and China are both currently pursuing national responses to the novel coronavirus, can you please tell us whether these preparatory meetings are currently being held or whether it is still difficult to hold them?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Firstly, preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus and swiftly bringing the situation under control are major issues faced by the international community, including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) as well as Iran, Italy, and others. During my recent meeting with Member of the Central Politburo of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi, I discussed information-sharing between Japan and China regarding the novel coronavirus and that we would like to firmly cooperate. Both Japan and China are in complete agreement on the recognition that this must be advanced with top priority.
Having said that, as of today, although there is no change to the plan for President Xi’s visit to Japan, Japan and China are currently closely communicating from the perspective that a visit to Japan by the President of China, an occasion that occurs once in 10 years, needs to achieve sufficient results.
Of course, the situation continues to change day by day, and there will thus be some slight differences in the manner of phrasing. I believe that all of you from the press who are wise will make good judgments.
Request from the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations for MOFA Support
Tokyo Shimbun, UENO: Our paper has reported that when the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations requested MOFA to support a photography exhibition which it plans to hold in conjunction with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) Review Conference, MOFA requested that the panels related to the Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear accidents be removed and said that support would not be provided unless they were removed. Can you please tell us if that is true, and if so, what are your thoughts on views that this is pressure from the Government of Japan about the exhibition?
Minister MOTEGI: I am aware that an application was made to MOFA to use MOFA as a named sponsor for an atomic bomb exhibition planned to be held at the United Nations during the NPT Review Conference from the end of April. The application is currently being appropriately reviewed at MOFA, and I would like to refrain from commenting on the communication with the applicant organization.
Support for Iran in Relation to the Novel Coronavirus
Yomiuri Shimbun, ASANO: In relation to the novel coronavirus, as you stated before, the number of infected people and fatalities in Iran has been increasing considerably. Three countries – the United Kingdom, France, and Germany – have stated that they are prepared to provide 5 million euros’ worth of support, including protective clothing and examination equipment. Can you please tell us if Japan is considering providing support to Iran?
Minister MOTEGI: It is a major cause for concern that novel coronavirus infections are spreading in developing countries including Iran. In an age when the movement of people has become globalized, as well as economic activities, I believe that conducting countermeasures against infections as the entire international community will lead to infection countermeasures for Japan as well.
Although the Government of Japan is of course prioritizing preventing the further spread of infections within Japan right now, there are various international organizations that provide support for developing countries such as Iran. Appeals have been made in various forms by those organizations, and I would like to appropriately consider that and other matters.
Countries and Regions with Immigration Restrictions Concerning Japan
Kyodo News, TAKAO: I would like to ask about the novel coronavirus. In regard to countries that have set immigration restrictions on Japanese people and travelers coming from Japan, how many countries and regions are you aware of now, and if possible, can you please tell us their names?
Minister MOTEGI: I would first like to state that there are no countries and regions that are only taking immigration restriction measures against Japan. There are of course various differences in measures such as for all or only some countries and regions where novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed. As of this morning, MOFA has confirmed that the related authorities of 18 countries are implementing immigration restrictions for countries and regions where novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed, including Japan. The 18 counties and regions are Micronesia, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Comoros, Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, Trinidad and Tobago, the Marshall Islands, Bahrein, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
In addition, there are 37 countries and regions that are implementing medical examination measures and monitoring measures, including at the time of immigration and afterwards, for travelers arriving from countries and regions where cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed. Should I say them all? It is fine for an official to say them later, but I will say them if you want me to. 37. Which would you like?
Kyodo News, TAKAO: I would like to hear it from you.
Minister MOTEGI: The 37 countries and regions are China, Liberia, Tajikistan, Palestine, Kazakhstan, India including Kerala State, Israel, Gibraltar, Nigeria, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Thailand, Laos, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Bahrein, Nepal, Colombia, Paraguay, Sudan, Benin, Azerbaijan, Sakhalin Oblast in Russia, Myanmar, Bhutan, Taiwan, French Polynesia, Malta, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Chile, Sierra Leone, Latvia, Alberta Province and Saskatchewan Province in Canada, Hong Kong, Uganda, and Croatia.
With regards to these countries, we are providing careful explanations regarding the situation and measures in Japan as well as making necessary requests. In addition, the information known by MOFA about immigration restriction measures and restrictions on mobility following immigration on travelers are published on MOFA’s Overseas Safety Website and other sources, and we are issuing alerts widely to travelers and companies in the affected areas.