Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA Yoko

Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 4:44 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister Kamikawa
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

The Recommendations on Strengthening Cooperation with the Global South from the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)

Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs: I have an announcement.

Mr. YASUNAGA Tatsuo, Chair of the Committee on Overseas Development Cooperation of Keidanren, visited Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have just received recommendations on cooperation with the Global South. I agree wholeheartedly the suggestion that it is important for Japan to be chosen as a “necessary country.”

Since assuming office, I have taken the initiative in promoting the “New Frontiers of Economic Diplomacy,” and consistently emphasizing cooperation with the Global South. However, even if we just refer to them as the Global South, there are various countries. Each country has its own regional and national circumstances and historical background. With that in mind, we need to handle relations carefully.

From this perspective, since assuming my post, I have visited Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific Island Countries, Latin America and the Caribbean, and other areas, including my visits to Africa and Southwest Asia earlier this month. Through Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and exchanges of opinions with various stakeholders, including Japanese companies, at a local level, I gained a sense of the high level of trust and expectations they had for Japan.

Through these experiences, I felt that it is necessary to offer effective support to the Japanese companies that develop cross-border activities, in order to incorporate the vitality of the Global South into the growth of Japan.

In this context, in order to respond to the expectations of Japanese companies that are expanding their business in Africa on a large and transnational scale, first we have recently appointed officials in charge of cross-border economic affairs, who will respond from a broad perspective, rather than on an individual country basis. I have instructed them to gather information on the issues, actual conditions, and needs of the Japanese companies.

Furthermore, we will resolve the issues of partner countries and promote the economic growth of Japan, by leveraging the “Co-Creative Platform for Strengthening Economic Diplomacy.”

Considering the recommendations we received this time, we will continue to make efforts while working closely with Keidanren and the rest of the business community, so that Japan can further assert its global presence with its strong and flexible economy.

That is all from me.

Foreign Minister of the ROK visit to China

Kyodo News, Nishiyama: On May 13, Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul of the Republic of Korea (ROK) visited Beijing, China, for the first time in six and a half years as the Foreign Minister of the ROK. Please tell us about the reaction of the Government of Japan. I also would like to ask what arrangements Japan is making in relation to Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit, and how do you think his visit will affect the Summit?

Minister Kamikawa: I am aware that Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul of the ROK visited Beijing, China on May 13, and held the China-ROK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Japan, China, and the ROK have a significant responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region. Japan is following this visit with interest.

Nothing has been decided regarding the date of the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit. At the Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last November, we concurred on expediting preparations for holding the summit at the earliest convenient time. Japan will continue to support the efforts of the ROK, the Presidency.

Attack on United Nations personnel in Rafah

Asahi Shimbun, Matsuyama: My question concerns the situation in the Middle East. There are reports that a United Nations (UN) convoy was attacked in the Gaza Strip on May 13, and one member of its staff was killed. The Chief Cabinet Secretary made remarks on this incident at the press conference this morning. Please share with us new information since then the Government of Japan is aware of, if any.

Minister Kamikawa: We are aware that UN personnel were attacked, one staff member was killed and another injured in Rafah in Gaza Strip, on May 13, local time.

In the Gaza Strip, many civilians including aid workers have come under attack and become casualties. We are deeply concerned that UN personnel and civilians including aid workers, who are doing their utmost to deliver critical relief supplies to the people of Gaza, have been damaged. We offer our condolences regarding the loss of life to the bereaved families, and I express my heartfelt sympathy to the wounded.

Japan will continue to urge all parties to act, in accordance with international law including international humanitarian law, so as to avoid further casualties among civilians and aid workers.

Subcritical nuclear testing by the U.S.

Chugoku Shimbun, Miyano: It was revealed that the U.S. is planning to conduct subcritical nuclear tests in the first half of 2024 and the first half of 2025, through the report of the Chugoku Shimbun. There are some reports that Russia may also be preparing such tests. Hiroshima City and the Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) have protested against the subcritical tests, claiming that they go against the elimination of nuclear weapons. Please tell us about your reactions and how you will respond to these plans.

Minister Kamikawa: Generally speaking, it is our understanding that these subcritical tests do not involve nuclear explosions, which are prohibited under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

On the handling of subcritical tests and other nuclear tests that do not involve nuclear explosions, we consider that it is an issue that must be considered in the future in efforts toward nuclear disarmament from the standpoint of aiming for a world without nuclear weapons.

Towards a world without nuclear weapons, while aiming for an early entry into force of the CTBT, Japan is making realistic and practical efforts, including enhancing transparency of nuclear forces, starting early negotiations on the FMCT, and hosting the UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in March.

Remarks of U.S. Senator Graham Concerning the Atomic Bombings of Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun, Kudo: U.S. Senator Graham has made repeated remarks justifying the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He made another such remark on May 8, to which you announced that you lodged Japan’s position to the U.S. side, but the senator again made a statement justifying the bombings on the 12th. I would like to ask your view on the repetition of these remarks and how Japan intends to respond.

Minister Kamikawa: I am aware of the remarks you are referring to. It was very regrettable that such remarks have been made repeatedly.

Japan is aware that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took so many precious lives and caused an extremely regrettable humanitarian situation in which people suffered indescribable sufferings due to illness and disabilities. As the Government has been expressing for a long time, we believe the use of nuclear weapons does not match the spirit of humanitarianism, which is the ideological foundation of international law, because of their tremendous destructive and lethal power.

In response to the recent exchange in the Senate Appropriations Committee subcommittee, we have lodged Japan’s position regarding the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the Government of the U.S. and Senator Graham’s office.

In any case, as the only country to have suffered atomic bombings during wartime, based on the belief that the catastrophes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki must never be repeated, Japan has been promoting realistic and practical efforts toward the realization of a world without nuclear weapons in cooperation with the U.S. as well. At the same time, we will make unremitting efforts to promote the correct understanding of the realities of atomic bombing for people around the world, including Senator Graham.

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