Press Conference by Foreign Minister MOTEGI Toshimitsu
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 11:18 a.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
NHK, Yamamoto: I would like to ask about the G7 Summit that will be held in the United Kingdom this week. This will be the first in-person international conference that Prime Minister Suga will attend. What results do you expect? Also, in regard to the possibility of a Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Summit Meeting being held, U.S. National Security Advisor Sullivan stated in a press conference that it is not scheduled to hold a meeting at present. Does the Government of Japan have the same understanding?
Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs: The G7 Summit will be held this week. The coordination on the detail of the agenda and other matters are mainly being coordinated by the United Kingdom, which holds the G7 Presidency. It is often the case for this type of international conference that the discussion time allocations are ultimately changed and adjusted. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom has publicly announced that the central themes will be novel coronavirus countermeasures, vaccine supply, climate change, and education.
Based on the results of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting regarding these matters as well as other important matters of the international community such as the global economy and regional situations, Japan aims to lead the G7 discussions toward forming the post novel-coronavirus world order.
The bilateral meetings and other meetings conducted on the fringes of the G7 will be determined through coordination going forward. However, at present nothing has been decided on meetings being held at certain times.
COVAX AMC Summit (Japan’s Contributions)
Tribune News, Susilo: I would like to ask about COVAX. Funding has been secured well beyond the goal of $8 billion USD. On June 2 last week, Japan announced its additional contribution of $800 USD, bringing its total to $1 billion USD. This means that Japan is providing over 12% of the funding for COVAX. What is the significance for Japan of providing this 12% of funding? I can understand 80% if it was for corporate capital, but this is for COVAX, so what is the significance?
Minister Motegi: Last week on June 2, Japan and Gavi cohosted the COVAX AMC Summit. The Summit aimed to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and quality-assured vaccines in developing countries, and attracted extremely high interest from the international community including developing countries. As a result of Japan’s active contributions and urging other countries, we were able to secure well beyond the target of $8.3 billion USD to secure 1.8 billion vaccine doses to protect 30 percent of the population in developing countries by the end of 2021.
As of the end of the launch event on April 15, there was still a funding gap of $1.7 billion USD. I believe that it was firstly a major result that we were able to close the funding gap of over $1.7 billion USD in one and a half months.
Japan is a sponsor country of the COVAX Facility, and it is also part of initiatives led by Japan thus far, including Universal Health Coverage. Thus, Japan announced its additional contribution of $800 million USD in addition to the $200 million from before, and is also continuing “Last One Mile Support” for establishing cold chains. Japan also expressed its intention to provide, when circumstances allow and at an appropriate time, around 30 million doses of vaccines manufactured in Japan to other countries and regions on a bilateral and multilateral basis, including through the COVAX Facility.
It is necessary to provide support for the entire process of the provision of vaccines, beginning with vaccine production through to provision, distribution, and the actual vaccinations. I believe that the fact that Japan cohosted the Summit, emphasized multilateralism, and contributed to securing the necessary funding is significant for the international community in terms of vaccine provision and distribution, and was highly appreciated by various countries.
In terms of the amounts pledged, Japan was second following the United States. I believe it was extremely important that Japan made a considerable pledge, and also was the one to play the leading role amidst the emphasis on multilateralism in this field.
House of Representatives Election
Tribune News, Susilo: I would like to ask about the next House of Representatives election. Will you be a candidate?
Minister Motegi: Under the current circumstances, I plan to run as a candidate in the Tochigi 5th Electoral District in the next House of Representatives election.