Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 4:32 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan

Mr. OHTAKA Masato, Press Secretary: The establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan was declared on February 22nd, 2020 in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan.

Since the establishment of independence in South Sudan in 2011, there has been continuous conflict between the government’s main party and opposition parties. However, in 2018 the “Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” (R-ARCSS) was concluded between these parties. The Transitional Government was established in accordance with the R-ARCSS. The Government of Japan welcomes the agreement on the establishment of the Transitional Government by all stakeholders including President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar and highly evaluates the mediation efforts by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The establishment of the Transitional Government is not a goal but the beginning of the process toward the transition to civil rule. The Government of Japan hopes that all the parties will implement the agreement in the R-ARCSS in a steady manner under the Transitional Government. The Government of Japan will continuously support the effort toward the implementation of R-ARCSS and peace and stability in South Sudan in cooperation with the international community.

Whether Prime Minister Abe Invited President Trump to the Tokyo Olympic Games

Kyodo News, WATARAI: President Trump recently stated that Prime Minister Abe invited him to the Tokyo Olympic Games, and that he is considering attending. Can you please tell us whether Prime Minister Abe has encouraged President Trump to come to Japan at a past meeting such as the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: I am aware of President Trump’s statement, but nothing has been decided about a possible visit to Japan by him. Additionally, because details such as the manner of the invitation are matters related to diplomatic discussions, I would like to refrain from disclosing them here.

Position of the Government of Japan on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

Kyodo News, WATARAI: I would like to ask about the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). On March 5, 50 years will have passed since the NPT entered into force, and the NPT Review Conference will be held from April to May 2020 in New York. Global concerns about an armaments race are again increasing, with reasons including the fact that the Trump administration in the United States is currently beginning to deploy small-size nuclear warheads. The Government of Japan has taken the position of calling for gradual reduction of nuclear weapons up until now. What position will the Government take during the conference in April and May?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: The NPT is the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation framework, and Japan places considerable importance on maintaining and strengthening the NPT framework that is participated in by both non-nuclear-weapon states and nuclear-weapon states. Although differing positions concerning the approach to nuclear disarmament can of course be seen between countries, I believe that it is important to build momentum toward the 2020 NPT Review Conference by persistently continuing efforts to discover specific measures that can be a common foundation that can be worked on together by various countries.

From that perspective, at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, Japan submitted a resolution with an appeal about the importance of various countries taking immediate actions together and conducting future-oriented dialogues on nuclear disarmament toward maintaining and strengthening the NPT framework, and the resolution was adopted with the support of 160 countries.

Furthermore, in October 2019, Chairman Shiraishi of the Group of Eminent Persons for Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament, which is organized by Japan, submitted the “Chair’s Report” compiling the discussions of the Group’s meetings thus far. It is hoped that this report will be of reference to the international community, including the issues that should be worked on by the international community and specific initiatives that can be implemented going forward.

Moreover, Japan organized the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) held in Nagoya in November 2019 and Minister Motegi served as co-chair. The NPDI Joint Ministerial Statement was issued at the meeting to demonstrate determination toward the 2020 NPT Review Conference.

Through such initiatives and other efforts, Japan will continue to actively contribute to international discussions so that the 2020 NPT Review Conference will achieve significant results.

Novel Coronavirus (Voluntary Cancellations of Events, MOFA)

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: Today, Prime Minister Abe stated in relation to the novel coronavirus that he would like voluntary suspension of events attracting large numbers of people over the next two weeks. Is MOFA considering cancelling or postponing large-scale events or meetings gathering large numbers of people going forward, including the next two weeks, about a month, or through spring?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: MOFA believes that the Government’s announcement today regarding the novel coronavirus is extremely important, and constitutes an extremely important decision and step for preventing the spread of infection. Appropriate decisions will be made regarding events that MOFA is planning to hold based on the content of the respective events and the circumstances at the time.

Novel Coronavirus (Criteria for Denying Entry Into Japan)

NHK, WATANABE: It was stated today that entry into Japan by people coming from Daegu City and Cheongdo County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in the Republic of Korea (ROK) will be denied under certain conditions. Will there be any specific guidelines about conditions for applying this measure going forward? The same kind of measure is being taken for Hubei Province and Zhejiang Province in China, so what is being decided to be the criteria?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: As has been stated, it has been announced that certain measures are being taken regarding entry into Japan from some regions of China and now some regions of the ROK. The circumstances for this measure being taken now for the ROK are the striking increase in the number of people infected with the novel coronavirus in the Daegu Metropolitan City and Cheongdo County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province in the ROK, and the fact that the Government of the ROK designated these areas as “special management zones for infectious diseases” and raised the infectious disease alert level to the highest level of “grave” among the four levels.

Based on these circumstances, the Government of Japan decided that it is necessary to bolster thorough measures on entry into Japan from these areas. Through the Cabinet decision today, unless there are extenuating circumstances, foreign people who have a history of staying in the Daegu Metropolitan City or Cheongdo County, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province 14 days before applying to enter Japan will be considered to be foreign people to which Item 14, Paragraph 1, Article 5, of the Immigration Control Act applies.

Although it is difficult to make predictions at the present stage about measures going forward, I believe that consideration will be made while making decisions based on comprehensive monitoring of trends of infection, initiatives, medical systems, and other matters in the affected areas.

In any event, it is not possible to make clear predictions at the present stage. However, please understand that there is no change to the Government of Japan’s position of taking necessary measures while carefully monitoring developments in various areas going forward.

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