Press Conference by Prime Minister Kishida Regarding His Attendance at the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings and the G20 New Delhi Summit
I would like to make some remarks here as my visits to Indonesia and India draw to a close.
First and foremost, I offer my sincere condolences to those who lost their lives as a result of Typhoon No. 13 that recently struck Japan. I also extend my heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by the disaster.
The Government convened a Disaster Alert Meeting and, having made the necessary arrangements, has already dispatched Self-Defense Force units for disaster relief operations and TEC-FORCE (Technical Emergency Control Force) teams. We will remain highly vigilant as we proceed with our response to the disaster, staying firmly grounded in the needs of the disaster areas.
During this trip, over a period of five days, I attended the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings held in Jakarta and the G20 New Delhi Summit. I express my respect and appreciation to President Joko of Indonesia and Prime Minister Modi of India for the exceptional leadership they demonstrated as the chairs of these meetings, as well as to all the government staff who were involved.
(Strengthening cooperation with the Global South)
This year, Japan, as the country holding the G7 presidency, has an important responsibility to build upon the foundation of the outcomes of the Hiroshima Summit to lead international discussions and bring about an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation, leading to global peace and stability.
At the Hiroshima Summit, together with the invited countries, we confirmed that we share a common recognition of the importance of the Principles of the UN Charter, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and of a free and open international order based on the rule of law, and that we will work in cooperation with partners beyond the G7 to tackle the various challenges facing the international community. Towards that end, we must start by demonstrating a stance of understanding, and working in cooperation regarding, the issues and the vulnerabilities that countries in the Global South face. Above all else, I attended these two meetings with the goal of fulfilling that mission.
First, with ASEAN, during this trip we upgraded our solid Japan-ASEAN relations spanning 50 years to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Moreover, I stated Japan's support for the mainstreaming of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) that ASEAN aims to bring about, and we confirmed that we will promote cooperation through which the AOIP and the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) that Japan advocates generate mutually synergistic effects.
Furthermore, in Jakarta, I announced a new "Comprehensive Connectivity Initiative" to assist in strengthening connectivity, which ASEAN values highly. Through this initiative, Japan and ASEAN will join hands to more vigorously promote concrete cooperation that embodies the essential principles of openness and transparency that both sides hold in common.
At the G20 summit, the leaders of the world's major economies discussed urgent challenges faced by the international community, including food security, development, global health, and digital issues, and I stated Japan's positions and efforts.
It is highly significant that at this meeting, under India's leadership as chair, we were able to reach agreement on the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration. Japan has engaged in negotiations mindful of linking in the outcomes of the G7 Hiroshima Summit to this Declaration. For example, I commend the fact that we were able to faithfully carry over into the G20 Leaders' Declaration points that were confirmed at the Hiroshima Summit, including the attainment of net zero through a diversity of means in accordance with each country's own circumstances, the building of sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems, and the strengthening of deliveries of MCMs (Medical Countermeasures). Together with other national leaders, we will continue to follow up on the outcomes achieved at the G7 and G20 summits.
As for Russian aggression against Ukraine, throughout the series of meetings just completed, Japan asserted the importance of Russia withdrawing its units immediately and bringing about a just and durable peace in Ukraine, and stressed that Russia's nuclear threat is absolutely unacceptable and that it goes without saying Russia should never use nuclear weapons under any circumstances. I also pointed out that it is imperative to have support from the international community for people in vulnerable positions during conflicts. In the G20 Leaders' Declaration just released, all G20 members were fully in agreement on a just and durable peace in Ukraine and upholding the Principles of the UN Charter, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. I consider this a significant outcome.
(Stating Japan's position)
During this trip, I also stated Japan's stance on other matters and took great pains to gain broad understanding of our position.
With regard to our release of ALPS-treated water into the ocean, I once again comprehensively explained Japan's responses to the countries of ASEAN, the G20 members, and others during the succession of meetings and bilateral talks I participated in during this trip. Thus far, many countries have evaluated Japan's process for releasing treated water as safe and highly transparent, and I feel that this understanding has expanded further.
I also clearly reiterated Japan's position on ALPS-treated water to Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Japan will continue to work in close cooperation with the IAEA to provide throughgoing explanations to the international community grounded in scientific evidence and with a high degree of transparency, and deepen understanding. In addition, regarding China's measures to suspend imports of Japanese marine products, we will continue to call for their immediate withdrawal, taking the opportunity of bilateral and multilateral meetings as well as utilizing the WTO, RCEP, and other trade frameworks.
My consistent policy regarding Japan-China relations overall is that Japan will say to China the things that need to be said and strongly urge China to act responsibly, while at the same time reliably continuing dialogues with China, including regarding outstanding issues of concern, and cooperating on matters of common interest, advancing the establishment of a "constructive and stable relationship" through efforts on both sides. On this occasion as well, I spoke with Premier Li grounded in this thinking.
In addition, at the East Asia Summit and at bilateral talks I had exchanges of views with my counterparts regarding the increasingly severe regional security environment. Those interactions included in-depth discussions regarding our opposition to any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force in the East China or South China Seas, our strong condemnation of North Korea's nuclear and missile activities, cooperation towards the immediate resolution of the abductions issue, and so on.
Based on the trust that I was able to further deepen with my counterparts in various countries during this trip, I will continue to make even greater efforts to advance summit diplomacy. We plan to host the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Tokyo in December to mark the 50th year of our friendship and cooperation. At the Commemorative Summit, we will announce a new vision for ASEAN-Japan cooperation. I want to powerfully communicate to the world that we are strengthening our efforts to foster a free and open international order based on the rule of law, based in part on our history of ongoing cooperation with ASEAN built up over the last 50 years.
Also, if circumstances permit, I plan to visit New York from the 19th of this month to attend the High-Level Week of the UN General Assembly. With the international community now facing complex crises, I want to make this an opportunity to set forth responses and approaches that are uniquely Japanese, working towards cooperation, not division and confrontation.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for taking my question. I would like to ask about diplomacy in general.
Mr. Prime Minister, in your opening statement, you said that the Leaders' Declaration from the G20 summit was highly significant. Ukraine and others have voiced their dissatisfaction with this Leaders' Declaration because the wording fails to directly censure the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Please tell us your views on this once again, including regarding this point.
Also, you said that all during this overseas trip you have been explaining Japan’s policy regarding the release of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company and felt that the response has been good. Could you see signs of improvement in Japan-China relations, especially after having had a standing conversation with Chinese Premier Li Qiang? And, will you seek to have a summit meeting or other interactions with President Xi Jinping at the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November? I would like to ask your response, including about those points.
(Prime Minister Kishida)
I think there were three key elements within your questions, namely the three questions of the outcome of this summit, then regarding ALPS treated water, and then the third question regarding Japan-China diplomacy. First of all, for your first question, as I stated just now, when I took part in this G20 summit, I was mindful of linking in the outcomes of the G7 summit to the G20. Regarding the issues of food security, the environment, and global health, the Leaders' Declaration from this meeting incorporates content based on the outcomes of the G7 meeting. In addition, all of the G20 members agreed on upholding the Principles of the UN Charter, including respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, and also concurred that the threat or use of force is absolutely unacceptable. I believe this is highly significant. These are also the very same points whose importance we confirmed in Hiroshima.
A major theme of the Hiroshima Summit was realizing an international community characterized by cooperation, not division and confrontation. The points I just raised were in fact carried through from the outcomes of the Hiroshima Summit to the G20, and I consider this very significant.
You mentioned that various points have been raised such as the wording of the censure being weak, but even if you compare this year’s declaration to last year’s Bali Leaders’ Declaration, we succeeded in incorporating new expressions and various new elements while also faithfully recalling the outcome of last year’s summit. Last year’s Leaders’ Declaration did not include confirmation of refraining from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition; of a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine; or of upholding the Principles of the UN Charter. The fact that these points were once again confirmed, and agreement reached, with Russia participating is quite significant, in my view.
Also, with regard to your second question regarding ALPS treated water, I provided a careful explanation of Japan’s approach to the matter during the ASEAN-related summit meetings just concluded, the G20 New Delhi Summit, and the series of bilateral meetings I held. The result, in my view, has been a steady expansion of various countries’ understanding of our efforts. During this summit as well, many countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Cook Islands, chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, as well as the Netherlands and Turkey, in addition to the United States and Australia, expressed their understanding and support for Japan’s efforts.
In keeping with the conclusions of the IAEA report, we will continue to provide throughgoing explanations of our releases into the ocean with a high degree of transparency, grounded in monitoring data and other scientific evidence.
In addition, with regard to your third question about Japan-China relations overall, my consistent policy has been to press forward in establishing a constructive and stable relationship through efforts on both sides, placing emphasis on dialogue.
From that perspective, I believe it was very important that I met Premier Li Qiang for the first time and thoroughly conveyed my thinking to him. Japan will continue to engage in communication with China at all levels, including at high levels.
(Laskar, Hindustan Times)
Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for taking my question. Do you believe that the G20 is now more divided than ever over geopolitical issues such as the Ukraine crisis? Also, as the United Nations is seen as not functioning properly, do you expect that more will be expected of the G20 in order to address these issues?
(Prime Minister Kishida)
First of all, at present, the international community is facing complex crises, and I feel that cooperation within the G20, the premier forum for international economic cooperation, is becoming increasingly important.
Russian aggression against Ukraine has the potential to shake the foundation for cooperation within the G20. Moreover, it has a major impact on the global economy, with the price of food and energy continuing to soar because of that aggression, among other issues.
From this standpoint, at this G20 summit, we confirmed that many G20 members, including Japan, underscore the importance of upholding the Principles of the UN Charter and realizing a just and durable peace in Ukraine, and that we will respond as the G20 to the increasingly serious impact on the global economy.
We also discussed various challenges facing the international community, including food security, the environment, development, global health, and digital issues, and here too we confirmed the importance of mounting responses as the G20.
Also, I consider it to be of great significance that at this meeting, under the leadership of India as chair, we succeeded in reaching agreement on the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration. Although the G20 is not a substitute for the functions of the United Nations, it does indeed play a major role, and Japan will continue to work to tackle the various challenges facing the international community while also utilizing the G20 framework.
(Omachi, Jiji Press)
I would like to ask you about domestic affairs.
Mr. Prime Minister, you informed the executives of the ruling parties of your intention to reappoint LDP board members and reshuffle the cabinet on the 13th, after your return to Japan. I would like to ask your aim in taking the initiative to shuffle personnel at this particular timing. Also, do you intend to make substantial changes in who is holding office now? Do you plan to retain LDP Vice-President Aso, LDP Secretary-General Motegi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno, and others who comprise the framework of the administration?
As another question, you have indicated you intend to compile a package of economic measures within September. Related to that, are you planning to give instructions for the formulation of a supplementary budget? Also, do you intend to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet or dissolve the House of Representatives before the end of 2023?
(Prime Minister Kishida)
First of all, you asked about the meaning of conducting a personnel shuffle during this period, at this timing. As you know, the term in office for all LDP board members is set at approximately one year. Accordingly, it has always been assumed that changes in people’s posts would be done at this timing, and I have been saying this consistently. In that context I have conveyed my thinking about specific dates and related matters.
After returning to Japan on the morning of the 11th, I plan to proceed with coordinating with the persons involved and appoint new board members within the party and new cabinet members as early as the 13th. As for concrete details of the personnel shuffle, I plan to be engaged in the coordination in earnest on the 11th or the 12th, so I will refrain from making any statements on the specifics right now.
You asked a number of questions, but with regard to economic measures, we want to formulate economic measures that defend people’s daily lives from rising prices and make wage hikes and the flow of investment expansion more forceful. Towards that end, we will carry out economic measures containing bold initiatives that are firmly backed by the necessary budget. This is something we need to do with great urgency. Accordingly, I will ensure that immediately after the system’s launch we proceed rapidly, and I am determined to spearhead our efforts.
As for the extraordinary session of the Diet and other things on the political schedule, I will consider the schedule while placing priority on formulating bold economic measures under the new system and implementing them swiftly. I have nothing else to say about the matter at this time.
(Krishnan, The Hindu)
Thank you for taking my question. I would like you to talk about Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific policy and strategy, and about military factors in the South Asian and Indian Ocean region in particular. I would also like to ask about the Andaman Islands. Is Japan working towards closer cooperation with India regarding military exercises or joint security activities, or the possibility of refueling activities for Japanese vessels, on the Andaman Islands?
(Prime Minister Kishida)
First of all, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) that Japan has been promoting is a vision that ensures stability, prosperity, and peace for the entire region as well as the globe by maintaining and strengthening a free and open international order based on the rule of law. Therefore, this is an inclusive and open concept and it was not made with any particular country in mind. Japan’s position has been and will continue to be one of cooperation with countries and regions that agree with this approach. We will cooperate with any country and any region that agrees with this vision.
This March, right here in New Delhi, I announced our new plan for the FOIP. Within that announcement, I made maritime and aviation security, as well as efforts to ensure the safe use of those domains, one of the pillars of FOIP cooperation. As concrete measures towards that end, we have worked out a strengthening of our maritime law enforcement capabilities and of our maritime security initiatives.
In particular, I consider India to be an indispensable partner for realizing this FOIP. Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and the Indian Armed Forces have already conducted joint exercises this year by and between all types of our forces -- ground, maritime, and air -- and we are steadily advancing our cooperative relationship. For example, as a continuation from last year, this July we conducted joint exercises between our Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy. In addition, the four countries of Japan, the U.S., India, and Australia conducted Exercise Malabar, joint exercises also held on an ongoing basis.
Japan will maintain its execution of these initiatives so as to keep pressing forward actively with defense cooperation and exchanges with India so that the Indo-Pacific region will continue to be a place valuing freedom and the rule of law, where things are not decided by force or coercion.