Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 2:46 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Visit to Japan By U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Biegun
NHK, YAMAMOTO: Regarding the visit to Japan by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Biegun from the day after tomorrow, can you please tell us the kind of themes and discussions that are expected? Also, do you plan to meet with him?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: After visiting the Republic of Korea (ROK) from July 7-9 this week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and Special Representative for North Korea Biegun is scheduled to visit Japan from July 9-10.
Coordination is being conducted for Deputy Secretary of State Biegun to meet with people related to the Government of Japan during his stay in Japan, with a wide range of discussion themes. I believe that it is extremely significant that there will be face-to-face, frank, detailed exchanges at a high level between Japan and the United States regarding themes such as the regional situation including North Korea, common issues of the international community, and novel coronavirus countermeasures. The schedule in relation to myself is currently being coordinated, and if time permits, I would like to receive a courtesy call from him.
NHK, YAMAMOTO: In relation to this, I have heard that Deputy Secretary of State Biegun will be permitted to enter Japan due to diplomacy needs. Amidst severe restrictions on travel, would you like to use this permission as an opportunity to activate diplomacy going forward?
Minister MOTEGI: If we look at Europe now, I am aware that frequent meetings are starting to be held considerably at the diplomatic level as well. However, Japan’s response going forward on travel by dignitaries is premised on taking measures to minimize the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus. Based on diplomacy needs, we will basically consider to permit entry into Japan if the border enforcement measures are the same as those that will be implemented for the United States this time. However, judgements will be specifically made on a case by case basis. We will respond while fully considering infection risks under conditions such as taking PCR tests before departure, travel of small numbers of people using private planes, short stays, restrictions on destinations during the stay in Japan, and not having contact with the general public.
Japan-China Relations (Visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping of China)
Kyodo News, TAKAO: I would like to ask about Japan-China relations. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Foreign Affairs Division and others passed a critical resolution that requests the Government to cancel the visit to Japan by President Xi Jinping of China as a State Guest. Regarding the resolution, LDP Secretary-General Nikai stated that a careful response should be taken considering the past effort of predecessors who worked hard with regards to the issue of Japan and China. Also, Komeito Chief Representative Yamaguchi stated that President Xi’s visit should be advanced from a big-picture perspective of history. Due to these movements in the LDP and statements by ruling party leaders, what effects on President Xi’s future visit to Japan do you think there will be? Please tell us your thoughts.
Minister MOTEGI: As I believe I have stated many times, right now we are not at the stage of coordinating the specific schedule of President Xi’s visit to Japan as a State Guest. That is the position of the Government of Japan, as has been stated.
If I were to say anything further, it would be to say that although there are still various pending issues with China, there is no change to the basic policy of the Government of Japan to continue to utilize high-level opportunities such as summit meetings to firmly assert what we should assert, resolve pending issues one by one, and strongly request China to take positive responses.
Partial Suspension of Issuance of Nonimmigrant Visas by the Government of the United States
Yomiuri Shimbun, ABE: I would like to ask about work visas in the United States. Since June 24, the United States has been working on a policy to not issue some work visas through the end of the year. In regard to this, Japanese companies have been expressing concerns that this could lead to delays to personnel changes and dispatching employees to work overseas, as well as hindrances to production and development. Can you please tell us whether the Government of Japan has already requested the Government of the United States to improve this situation, or whether it will issue a request to handle this going forward?
Minister MOTEGI: We have already conveyed our concerns. The Government of Japan has conveyed to the Government of the United States our concerns that the measure to partially suspend issuance of nonimmigrant visas could negatively affect the business of Japanese companies in the United States and consequently the U.S. economy.
The basis for that is that unlike other countries, Japan does not simply raise profits in the United States by exporting our products, but instead has actually been investing in the United States, building factories, supplying parts, and creating sales channels, which contributes majorly to employment as well as the economy in the United States. We are conveying our concerns that this could be affected. I will continue to make the necessary appeals to the Government of the United States while monitoring the future implementation of this measure and other developments with high interest.
Additionally, although this is not just limited to the United States, resumption of travel must be advanced sequentially in a manner that also prevents the spread of the novel coronavirus. I believe that this will become a matter for consideration going forward with various countries such as European countries.
As has been stated, a considerable number of EU and Schengen countries are changing the direction of their policies to allow entry from Japan. I believe the time has come in which it is necessary for us to firmly consider what measures we can take going forward while monitoring such worldwide developments.