Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, November 17, 2020, 11:00 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Novel Coronavirus (Border Enforcement Measures)
TV Tokyo, KATO: I would like to ask about border enforcement measures. The border enforcement measures have been gradually relaxed since summer, but Japan is now experiencing a “third wave” of infections. In regard to cross-border travel going forward, what are your views on the necessity of tightening regulations or taking other measures?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: Setting aside whether or not Japan is currently experiencing a third wave, the situation is that infections are spreading and caution is necessary. There are also countries, such as in Europe, that are experiencing a recurrence of the spread of infections.
From the perspective of how to allow resumption of cross-border travel in a way that also prevents the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japan has launched the “Business Track” and the “Residence Track,” allowed entry into Japan by foreign people with status of residence in Japan, and taken other measures. At the very least, if we look at the results of examinations at airports, for example, the percentage of infected people entering Japan is not very high.
There are various countries with which we are holding consultations, and we will continue those consultations on how to take measures. We will continue to advance consideration regarding allowing resumption of cross-border travel in a way that also prevents the spread of the novel coronavirus, as I stated at the beginning.
Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (Visit to Japan by President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Bach)
TV Asahi, SATO: Prime Minister Suga and IOC President Bach met yesterday. Prime Minister Suga indicated that he would like to hold the Olympic Games with spectators, and IOC President Bach indicated the same recognition. Can you please tell us how you feel it would be desirable to hold the Tokyo Olympic Games?
Minister MOTEGI: Yesterday, Prime Minister Suga and IOC President Bach stated that the Tokyo Games will absolutely be held next year. They also agreed to continue to cooperate toward holding the Games in a way that is safe and secure.
In order to realize seamless cross-border travel in a way that also prevents the spread of the novel coronavirus, MOFA will contribute to all-government efforts for raising awareness of necessary infection prevent measures, smooth issuance of visas, and other efforts.
I do not know how many athletes, people related to the Games, and spectators there will be. However, we will work so that those people can smoothly enter Japan, and enjoy the splendid Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games that will be held as proof that humankind has defeated the novel coronavirus.
International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Assembly
Yomiuri Shimbun, FUKUDA: I would like to ask about the IHO. In regard to digital nautical charts that will be formulated, the IHO has decided to assign numbers to maritime areas instead of using their names, such as Sea of Japan. The Republic of Korea (ROK) has responded positively as if the IHO recognized the claims of the ROK to a certain extent. What is your reaction and assessment of this?
Minister MOTEGI: “Sea of Japan” will continue to be used on paper. The digital editions will basically be all numbers, and not just a label for the Sea of Japan. Thus, I believe that Japan’s claims have been properly reflected.
APEC and the G20 Summit
Nikkei Shimbun, KATO: You attended the APEC Ministerial Meeting yesterday, and the Economic Leaders’ Meeting is scheduled to be held this week. Major international conferences, including the G20 Summit, are continuing to be held online. What message would the Suga administration like to send?
Minister MOTEGI: I believe that the APEC meetings and the G20 Riyadh Summit are important meetings. At the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Japan will firmly convey the importance of digitalization, innovation, promotion of free trade, and strengthening connectivity toward economic growth in the post-novel coronavirus Asia-Pacific region.
At the G20 Riyadh Summit, as Japan served as the G20 President last year, I believe that there should be coordination on a clear message that the G20 will lead the formation of the post-novel coronavirus world order, including responding to the novel coronavirus that is currently spreading globally and recovery of the global economy.
From this perspective, as a member of the G20 Troika, Japan will lead discussions regarding the important points on efforts toward spreading vaccines, resumption of cross-border travel, and realizing a green society.