Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary YOSHIDA Tomoyuki

Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 3:45 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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

Opening Remarks

Mr. YOSHIDA Tomoyuki, Press Secretary: I would like to speak about two matters during my opening remarks.

(1) The first matter is on the call for nominations for the FY2020 Japan SDGs Award, which you were notified of through the MOFA press release. The SDGs Promotion Headquarters will begin the call for nominations for candidates for the FY2020 Japan SDGs Award. The Award honors companies, organizations, and other entities that conduct excellent initiatives toward the achievement of the SDGs, which were adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The Award was created in 2017, and will be held for the fourth time this year. The call for nominations period will begin today on Wednesday, August 5 and end on Wednesday, September 30. The call for nominations are aimed for companies, organizations, and other entities that conduct excellent initiatives to promote and achieve the SDGs. It is not limited to large companies, and also includes SMEs, universities, club activities of schools, NPOs, and NGOs.

Resulting from the call for nominations, the SDGs Promotion Headquarters confers the Chief’s Award (by Prime Minister), Deputy-chiefs’ Award (by Chief Cabinet Secretary), and the Deputy-chiefs’ Award (by Foreign Minister). There are also cases in which the Special Award is conferred to people who are recognized for noteworthy achievements. We would like the Award to support initiatives by various diverse entities and make good contributions to promoting concrete actions for the SDGs in Japan.

(2) The second matter is on the large-scale explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, as you are aware. Large-scale explosions occurred at a warehouse in the Port of Beirut in the early morning of August 5 Japan time, which was in the evening of August 4 local time. According to reports, many buildings in the surrounding area and the rest of the city were damaged, over 100 people died, and over 4,000 people were injured.

The Government of Japan would like to express our sympathy to the Government of Lebanon and the people of Lebanon, and express our heartfelt condolences for the people who passed away and their families.

Also, up until now, we have confirmed that one Japanese resident of Lebanon received minor injuries due to the explosions. At the present point, we have not received any information that any other Japanese nationals were injured or died. Furthermore, I would like to refrain from disclosing the identity of the Japanese national who received minor injuries, as we have not received consent from the Japanese national and family.

The Embassy of Japan in Lebanon currently has about 100 Japanese residents of Lebanon registered (note: The Statistics on the Japanese Nationals Residing Overseas), and is issuing consular emails, alerts, and spot information to Japanese residents and people registered to “Overseas Travel Registration (“Tabi-Regi”).

That is all from me for my opening remarks.

Explosions in Beirut, Lebanon

Mainichi Shimbun, TADOKORO: In relation to Lebanon, you are issuing spot information, inquiries, and other communication to people who have submitted Overseas Residential Registration and registered to “Tabi-Regi,” so will MOFA have a grasp of the general damage situation, including minor injuries and damage to buildings going forward?

Press Secretary YOSHIDA: The Embassy of Japan in Lebanon is issuing notifications and alerts regarding the local situation and other matters to Japanese residents who have submitted Overseas Residential Registration and registered to “Tabi-Regi.” Through this, we are inquiring about their safety. Based on the total number obtained through that and other means, at the present point, we have not received any information about injury to Japanese nationals besides the one person I mentioned. Going forward, there might be people who have come across such information that will contact the Embassy, and we will of course conduct our own information-gathering about the local situation using various routes. In that process, we will precisely confirm the safety of people identified and provide necessary support.

Explosions in Beirut, Lebanon and Carlos Ghosn

NHK, WATANABE: I believe that the Embassy of Japan in Lebanon is constantly monitoring or observing – I do not know the method – the situation concerning Carlos Ghosn. In relation to the explosions incident, do you know the location of Mr. Ghosn?

Press Secretary YOSHIDA: In relation to Carlos Ghosn in your question, the Government of Japan is explaining its position and views as necessary to the Government of Lebanon regarding the extradition of Mr. Ghosn and related matters. The Embassy of Japan in Lebanon is constantly monitoring with high interest for information concerning Mr. Ghosn, as has been stated.

Up until now, we have not necessarily received any information regarding Mr. Ghosn in relation to the explosions. According to the answers by Mr. Ghosn’s wife in an interview in a Brazilian newspaper, it is my understanding that it is being reported that she said there was major damage to the residence where Mr. Ghosn lives.

NHK, WATANABE: In that case, I believe you got a grasp of the situation according to the interview with Mr. Ghosn’s wife, and since it was a Brazilian newspaper, you probably read it in Portuguese. I believe that Japan is interested in the damage situation concerning Mr. Ghosn, so what is your grasp of the current situation besides such reports?

Press Secretary YOSHIDA: To add to what I said before, I believe the newspaper was O Estado de S. Paulo. It is mentioned in the newspaper’s interview that there was damage to Mr. Ghosn’s residence, but it is my understanding that it did not specifically mention if Mr. Ghosn was injured. In any event, the Government of Japan is seriously interested in this issue, and it is our position to conduct information-gathering using all channels regarding his location and movements. It is our position that we will respond appropriately if we receive major information, but there is nothing that I can introduce to you at the present point.

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