Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato

Thursday, June 11, 2020, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Situation in China (Hong Kong Issue)

Sankei Shimbun, HARAKAWA: Recently, the “Statement by Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato” was issued concerning the situation in Hong Kong in relation to the introduction of the national security law decided by China’s National People’s Congress. Although we can of course know by reading it, can you please explain the intent of the statement?

Particularly in the English translation, the Japanese phrase fukaku yuryo is translated as “seriously concerned.” Other countries have also issued various statements, so can you please explain the differences between Japan’s statement and those of other countries?

Mr. OHTAKA Masato, Press Secretary: Frankly speaking, I would like to refrain from commenting on Japan’s position in detail. As I have been stating through now, Japan’s position is that we are seriously concerned about the decision by the National People’s Congress and the situation in Hong Kong.

As stated, discussions are still being conducted about this matter between various countries, including Japan as well as China. As Japan is concerned about this matter, we are making various statements where we will firmly say what needs to be said to China.

We use various phrases such as fukai yuryo to indicate our concerns. The point is that we firmly convey Japan’s position through various channels. Of course, if the other country also has its own views and is replying with various statements, we will again convey our position.

Mainichi Shimbun, TADOKORO: I would like to ask a related question. From June 18, the process concerning the legislation related to the national security law will begin in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. The recent “Statement by Press Secretary OHTAKA Masato” was issued in response to the National People’s Congress’ policy decision on May 28. What is your reaction to the beginning of the specific process from June 18?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: I would like to refrain from speculating about this matter at the present stage. However, this is truly a matter that Japan is strongly interested about, so we will of course monitor and observe future developments.

Sankei Shimbun, HARAKAWA: I would like to ask another question. In relation to Hong Kong and China, Prime Minister Abe stated in the Diet that he is aiming for the issuance of a joint statement by the G7 concerning the situation in Hong Kong. In response to this, China’s Spokesperson stated that China “expressed grave concerns to the Japanese side.” It seems that China issued a protest to the Government of Japan. Can you please tell us if China issued a protest, and if so, what form of protest it was?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: Because this is a matter of diplomatic communication, I cannot speak about this in much detail. However, China made a representation through diplomatic channels based on its existing position regarding the National People’s Congress’ recent decision concerning Hong Kong. When this happened, Japan once again conveyed its position by expressing serious concerns about the recent situation. I would like to refrain from providing more details. However, as I stated before, please understand that Japan is consistent in arguing what needs to be argued regarding this matter.

TBS, HASHIGUCHI: In relation to the question earlier, can you please tell us whether the Government of Japan perceives that China’s representation concerning Hong Kong was a protest? Also, this is important, so can you please tell us what you can regarding who made the representation or protest, to whom it was addressed, and when it was issued?

Press Secretary OHTAKA: Although I am slightly repeating myself, it is my perception that China made a representation based on its existing position. It was made amidst various communications that are conducted daily through diplomatic channels. I would like to refrain from commenting in more detail about such diplomatic communication.

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