Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping of China

NHK, WATANABE: I would like to ask about the visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping of China. What is the status of coordination at present, as Japan and China carry out their respective responses to the novel coronavirus?

Mr. OHTAKA Masato, Press Secretary: As you stated in your question, responses are currently being earnestly implemented concerning the novel coronavirus, including in Japan and China. Amidst this, regarding the visit to Japan by President Xi, there is no change at this point in time from what Minister Motegi stated in his press conference yesterday.

To repeat what was stated, a visit to Japan by the President of China, an occasion that occurs once in 10 years, needs to achieve sufficient results. Japan and China are closely communicating from that perspective. I do not have anything further to say at present.

Novel Coronavirus (Countries and Regions with Immigration Restrictions Concerning Japan)

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: There is a list of countries that are implementing immigration restriction measures for Japan on MOFA’s Overseas Safety Website, but it has not been updated as of March 3. Is there no change to the number of countries that are implementing immigration restriction measures for Japan at present, or any other such changes?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: There is the matter of when to consider as being the most up to date. Yesterday, Minister Motegi provided an explanation with the country names. Since that, although yesterday the number of countries with immigration restrictions on countries including Japan was 18, it has increased to 22. The additional countries are India, Nepal, Turkmenistan, and Gibraltar.

In addition, although Minister Motegi stated yesterday that 37 countries and regions are implementing mobility restriction measures after immigration, our latest information is that that number is now 42 countries and regions.

The additional eight countries are Canada, which includes eight provinces as well as Manitoba, Panama, Cyprus, Oman, Turkey, Jordan, Kenya, and Tunisia.

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: If the number increased from 18 to 22, then that means there are four additional countries. Where else is it in addition to India, Nepal, and Turkmenistan?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: Gibraltar.

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: Are you currently providing explanations to these countries about the situation in Japan and seeking their understanding?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: Yes, we are repeatedly providing explanations taking various opportunities. The pillar of Japan’s policy now is to carefully explain and convey accurate information regarding the situation in Japan and Japan’s efforts. We have been conducting such a response thus far, and I believe that it is necessary to continue it going forward.

Novel Coronavirus (Explanation of the Situation in Japan to the World Health Organization (WHO))

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: Yesterday, Director-General Tedros of the WHO stated Japan’s name alongside China, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Iran as countries that should be particularly concerned about. Has Japan protested this? Has a protest or explanation of the current situation been issued?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: Of course, Japan is in close communication with the WHO, and please understand that Japan is constantly providing the latest information about the situation in Japan to the WHO. Amidst this, we have been consistently providing careful explanations in a thorough manner so that the WHO can get the correct understanding of the situation in Japan.

Yomiuri Shimbun, GOTO: I believe that you are constantly providing explanations, but what in particular was the Government of Japan’s response to Director-General Tedros’ statement yesterday?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) maintains daily contact with the WHO, so we are not aware of the details. If necessary, please inquire with the MHLW.

Novel Coronavirus (Countries and Regions with Immigration Restrictions Concerning Japan)

NHK, TAKANO: I would like to confirm something about what you stated earlier concerning immigration restrictions. I would like to have a more precise understanding, so can you please clarify the timings? I believe that, yesterday, Minister Motegi was presenting information that was current as of that morning.

Press Secretary OHTAKA: I have the latest information on hand and I will inform you later of the precise timing of this information. However, I believe there is no question that it is today’s data.

Novel Coronavirus (Early-Stage Response by the WHO)

NHK, WATANABE: In relation to the WHO, it named Japan as one of the countries to be concerned about. But from the perspective of whether the response at the time when the virus emerged in China, including the WHO’s early-stage response, was appropriate, will Japan not point out that the WHO’s original response was not good or that it seemed the WHO was trying to ingratiate itself sometimes to China?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: The current issue of the novel coronavirus is being worked on with all efforts, including by China, Japan, and the WHO, so I believe that it is firstly necessary for various countries including Japan to converge on that.

However, at some stage in time, each party, including Japan of course, will conduct various reviews in relation to the novel coronavirus, including the current situation. As part of this, I believe that all the necessary steps will be taken, including each party reflecting on their respective situations and responses. I believe that this process will probably be conducted by the entire international community, including the WHO.

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