Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu

Friday, July 31, 2020, 11:19 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Reorganization Concerning International Economic Disputes and Security Policy

Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I would firstly like to speak about reorganization at MOFA concerning international economic disputes and security policies.

Recently, the importance of settling disputes based on the WTO Agreement as well as economic partnership agreements and investment agreements has been rising. Amidst this, we believe it is necessary to strengthen our organization to strategically and effectively settle disputes in the economy field.

For this, we will newly establish the “Economic Disputes Settlement Division” within the International Legal Affairs Bureau on August 3. This division will gather human resources who are experts in settling economic disputes concerning international law, and they will implement responses.

In addition, in order to comprehensively respond to ensure stable supplies of energy, mineral resources, and food, including due to the effects of the novel coronavirus, we will newly establish the “Resources Security Division” in the Economic Affairs Bureau on August 3 as well.

Furthermore, the concept of “economic security” has broadened to include technology, cyber, and other matters. Due to this, the Foreign Policy Bureau’s “Emerging Security Challenges Division,” which has jurisdiction from a comprehensive diplomacy perspective over matters such as the economy, technology, and cyber among security policies, will be changed to the “Economic Security Policy Division.”

I would like to continue active initiatives under the new organization to thoroughly respond to the changing times. Please ask an official about the details. That is all from me.

Reorganization Concerning International Economic Disputes and Security Policy

Yomiuri Shimbun, ABE: I would like to ask about the reorganization. Human resources development and cooperation with various ministries and agencies are also important for responding to international economic disputes. Can you please tell us your thoughts on expectations for the newly-established “Economic Disputes Settlement Division”?

Minister MOTEGI: As I stated before, there has been rising importance of settling disputes based on the WTO Agreement, which WTO reform is also related to, as well as economic partnership agreements and investment agreements. Also, this field requires high expertise, as well as cooperation with related ministries and agencies. We will thus create a system to respond to such matters by establishing new sections and gathering such human resources.

The Passing of Former President Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan

Sankei Shimbun, ISHINABE: Yesterday, former President Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan passed away. Can you please tell us your reaction and your thoughts on matters such as the effects on Japan-Taiwan relations going forward?

Minister MOTEGI: The report of the passing of former President Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan has filled me with unbearable grief. I am aware that he not only made significant contributions to further elevating the friendship between Japan and Taiwan, but also played an extremely major role and contributed to establishing the universal values of freedom, democracy, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law in Taiwan.

I believe that Former President Lee, who laid the foundations for democracy in Taiwan and for the close Japan-Taiwan relations today, is a person who left a deep impression on many Japanese people, and was deeply, familiarly and closely connected with Japan.

I would like to offer my heartfelt prayers for his repose, and to express my sincere condolences to his family.

In addition, although it is sad that former President Lee passed away, I would like to firmly continue to develop the current Japan-Taiwan economic relations and people-to-people exchanges that he worked so hard for.

Novel Coronavirus (Relaxation of Restrictions on Entering Japan)

Yomiuri Shimbun, ABE: I would like to ask about relaxation of restrictions on entering Japan. It has been decided to start the “Residence Track” from Viet Nam and Thailand and to allow re-entry by foreign residents of Japan, and I believe negotiations are advancing with 12 countries and regions including China, the Republic of Korea (ROK), and Thailand as part of the second round that was announced.

Amidst the matter of how to perceive the importance of resuming economic activities through mutual travel, the increasing numbers of infected people within Japan, and concerns about people bringing in the novel coronavirus from abroad, how will you balance this with prevention of the spread of infections?

Minister MOTEGI: As I have repeatedly stated, the Government of Japan is implementing, and will continue to implement, thorough border enforcement measures in order to exert all efforts to preventing the influx of the novel coronavirus from abroad.

The decisions this time are to partially, gradually allow resumption of travel on a trial basis in a way that also prevents the spread of infections. As we allow re-entry by people with status of residence in Japan and implement the “Residence Track” with Viet Nam and Thailand, we will thoroughly prevent a resurgence in the spread of infections by continuing the current border enforcement measures and also taking additional infection control measures, such as requiring PCR tests before departure from the other country.

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