Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 2:24 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
G7 Summit (Possibility of the Return of Russia)
Sankei Shimbun, RIKITAKE: I would like to ask about the G7 Summit. Recently President Trump indicated that he would like to expand the G7 to the G11 by adding Russia, Australia, and other countries. However, the United Kingdom and Canada have already indicated that they oppose adding Russia. What is the position of the Government of Japan on such an expansion of the G7? Also, how have Japan conveyed its views to the Unites States so far?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: It is my understanding that the United States, which holds the G7 Presidency, is currently conducting coordination on the schedule and format for holding the G7 Summit this year.
Having said that, Japan’s basic recognition is that dialogue and engagement with Russia are necessary in order to induce Russia to play a constructive role in responding to international issues.
Many of the G7 Summits thus far have invited non-member countries and international organizations as outreach. For example, various African countries, Chile, India, Australia, representatives from international organizations, and others were invited to the Biarritz Summit last year.
We would like to continue to communicate with the other G7 member countries, including the United States which holds the G7 Presidency, regarding this matter.
Support for Lebanon from the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
PanOrient News, AZUHARI: There is a report by Arab News Japan quoting the lawyer of Nissan in Lebanon saying that Japan is linking its agreement to the IMF bailout package to Lebanon to the extradition of Carlos Ghosn. Is that the new position by the Japanese government? Do you link your assistance to Lebanon through IMF to the measure to get back Carlos Ghosn?
Minister MOTEGI: Taking into account the circumstances that Lebanon faces of the influx of Syrian refugees, the economic crisis, and the spread of the novel coronavirus, as well as the general situation in the Middle East, I believe that creating a more unstable situation in Lebanon should be avoided now.
Statement with regards to the Withdrawal of the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Jiji Press, MARUHASHI: Regarding statements by President Trump, he stated recently that the United States will withdraw from the WHO. Firstly, what is the reaction of the Government of Japan concerning this matter? Also, if the United States does withdraw from the WHO, there are concerns that China’s influence on the WHO would further increase. In this case, would the Government of Japan urge the United States to reconsider?
Minister MOTEGI: Japan is not in the position to comment on relations between other countries and international organizations. In any event, as the novel coronavirus expands globally, I believe that the international community needs to cooperate to take measures against this infectious disease that is seriously affecting the entire world.
At the same time, when thinking about the possible future spread of the same kind of infectious disease, there needs to be a fair, independent, comprehensive investigation concerning the WHO after the current situation winds down to some extent, in order to increase countries’ trust in the WHO.
Possibility of Prime Minister Abe Attending the Ceremony for the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany
Asahi Shimbun, SATO: The Ceremony for the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazi Germany is planned to be held in Russia on June 24. I believe that the same question was asked during the committee meeting this morning, and you pointed out the importance of Summit Meetings, but can you please tell us once again the Government of Japan’s intention concerning whether Prime Minister Abe will attend the ceremony?
Minister MOTEGI: I believe that I gave a clear answer during the committee meeting. Please tell me if there was anything unclear.
Asahi Shimbun, SATO: Excuse me. Although I did not mean it was unclear, I would like to know a little more about how favorable the Government of Japan is considering about holding a Summit Meeting at the timing of the end of June, amidst circumstances such as the novel coronavirus. Can you please explain the nuances of this?
Minister MOTEGI: There are some things I can say and some things I cannot say.
Export Control Measures Concerning the Republic of Korea (ROK)
Dong-a Ilbo, Kim: The ROK recently announced that it will present a case to the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the issue of Japan’s export control. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is of course in charge of this, but I believe it can also be considered in terms of diplomacy. What is your reaction to this and how will you respond going forward?
Minister MOTEGI: I believe that it is regrettable that the ROK made this unilateral announcement despite the fact that dialogue has been continuing between the export control authorities of our two countries. There is no change to our view that review of export control should be conducted based on the maintaining of the export control system and its implementation conditions.
G7 Summit (Holding the Summit in September)
Kyodo News, TAKAO: I would like to ask about the G7 Summit, which was also mentioned in an earlier question. President Trump of the United States, which holds the G7 Presidency this year, initially tweeted that he was considering holding the G7 Summit in June. The Summit has now been postponed to after September. What are your thoughts on the postponement? Please tell us your views.
Minister MOTEGI: As I answered earlier, it is my understanding that the United States, which holds the G7 Presidency, is currently conducting coordination regarding the schedule for the G7 Summit this year.
Intensification of Demonstrations Throughout the United States
NHK, YAMAMOTO: Regarding the ongoing protest demonstrations in the United States, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga stated in his press conference this morning that some Japanese companies have received damage. Can you please tell us if you have any information about the details of that damage? Also, can you please tell us frankly how you perceive the situation of ongoing protest demonstrations?
Minister MOTEGI: Regarding the ongoing protests in the United States, although it has not been confirmed whether any Japanese nationals have been harmed, it is my understanding that some Japanese companies have suffered damage. Of course, Japanese companies were not specifically targeted. Japan’s diplomatic missions in the United States will continue to exert all efforts to gather and communicate information and confirm the safety of Japanese nationals and companies with a sense of urgency.
Incidents and various developments overseas have been reported in real-time on television. I believe this starts from the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Since then, I myself have seen various news, demonstrations, riots, and other developments that occur around the world. I have my own opinions about these developments, but for now, I would just like to say that we are monitoring the situation.