"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio regarding His Visit to Southeast Asia and Europe

[Date] May 5, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

[Opening statement]

It gives me great pleasure that, for the final stop on my trip to Southeast Asia and Europe, I am once more able to visit the United Kingdom, the first country I visited upon assuming the post of prime minister. I have met with Prime Minister Johnson for the fifth time since I took office. We had a very in-depth exchange of views regarding the situation in Ukraine and other matters, and Prime Minister Johnson explained to me that import restrictions on Japan-sourced food items are scheduled to be lifted by the end of June this year. This is a very encouraging development for everyone in the disaster-affected area and I welcome it wholeheartedly.

I sincerely appreciate the warm welcome I received from Prime Minister Johnson and all the people of the United Kingdom.

The international community now stands at a major historical crossroads. As we head towards a critical juncture for ending Russian aggression against Ukraine and fully defending the peaceful world order, I have visited Indonesia, Viet Nam, and Thailand, our strategic partners in Asia, fellow G7 member countries Italy and the United Kingdom, and also the Vatican, as a trip to "protect peace."

As for responses to the situation in Ukraine, the G7 has thus far played a central role, leading the international community's efforts.

In order to fully defend the peaceful world order around the globe, now more than ever we must make the increased unity of the G7 something firm. With that thought in mind, as the chair of next year's G7 summit, I met with Chancellor Scholz of Germany in Tokyo last week, and on this overseas trip I also met with Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Draghi.

Acting in cooperation with the G7 to further intensify pressure on Russia, here I will announce new additional sanctions composed of four pillars.

First, we will freeze the assets of approximately 140 additional individuals. Second, we will expand to roughly 70 the number of Russian military-related entities subject to a ban on exports. Third, we will ban the export to Russia of quantum computers and other cutting-edge goods. Fourth, we will add more Russian banks to those subject to having their assets frozen.

I walked both Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Draghi through these responses by Japan, including the new sanctions, and both leaders commended Japan's measures towards Russia very highly.

Moreover, with each of my counterparts I confirmed that the G7 will continue to act in cooperation in implementing stringent sanctions against Russia and that we will provide further assistance to Ukraine in various ways. In this way, these were significant meetings that will lead to the reinforcement of G7 cooperation in the future.

In addition, Japan, as the sole Asian member of the G7, has been working to persuade various countries including those in Asia regarding responses to the situation in Ukraine while also making the case to them that the international community cannot have the same relationship with Russia as we have had until now.

In the three Southeast Asian nations I visited during this trip as well, I stated that Russia's aggression towards Ukraine undermines the very foundation of the international order, including that of Asia, and that it is vital for the international community to unite in responding to the situation. In my meetings I tried to garner as much understanding and cooperation as possible. In the end, I confirmed with each country that unilateral changes to the status quo by force are intolerable wherever they occur and that sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. I feel I succeeded in having candid and highly meaningful discussions with each leader I met.

Aggression by Russia is not a problem for Europe alone. It is a problem for the order of the international community as a whole, including the Indo-Pacific. Changes to the status quo by force are unacceptable in the Indo-Pacific region. Now, as we face a crisis, is the time for Japan to hold high the banner of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific. Through this visit I advanced our efforts to bring concrete shape to our cooperation towards realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.

In the area of maritime security, we decided to start conducting a study aimed at providing patrol vessels to Indonesia. We will also advance assistance to build the capacity of the Vietnam Coast Guard.

We will also provide assistance that fosters enhanced regional connectivity, including the expansion of Indonesia's Patimban Port and infrastructure development along Indochina's East-West Corridor.

Moreover, in the area of security and defense cooperation, we signed a defense equipment and technology transfer agreement with Thailand and agreed with Indonesia and Viet Nam to deepen our cooperation. We were also in agreement with Italy and the United Kingdom that we will advance our cooperation further through holding joint exercises and other means. In particular, a major achievement between Prime Minister Johnson and myself was that our countries reached agreement in principle in our negotiations on the Japan-UK Reciprocal Access Agreement.

We also discussed the increasingly severe situation in East Asia, where, among other issues, yesterday North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan. With each country, we were in full agreement that we will act in cooperation in our responses to attempts to unilaterally change the status quo with force in the background in the East China and South China Seas and to economic coercion, and in our responses to North Korea, including the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.

Japan feels reassured that European countries including the United Kingdom and Italy, both like-minded countries that share universal values with us, are intensifying their interest and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. I hope to build the future of this Free and Open Indo-Pacific together with our allies and like-minded countries, working in close cooperation with them.

As one part of these efforts, during this visit, I saw eye to eye with President Joko of Indonesia on advancing together the "Asia Zero Emissions Community" vision that I have advocated. In Thailand and Viet Nam as well, I started discussions on it and succeeded in marking the first step towards bringing this vision into concrete form. Japan will lead realistic efforts towards the decarbonization of Asia.

During this visit, I exchanged views with Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Draghi regarding the new form of capitalism I am advancing.

If we are to defend freedom and democracy, which are subjected to stringent challenges posed by authoritarian regimes, we ourselves must become stronger.

To do that, we will create the next upgrade of capitalism by means of a new form of capitalism. Specifically, it is an idea where, rather than regard negative externalities such as growing disparities or climate change issues as obstacles, we will transform them into engines for growth and, through new kinds of public-private cooperation, pursue two goals simultaneously, namely, resolving those issues and realizing growth through the creation of new markets. This will result in the realization of inclusive and sustainable vigorous growth.

Both prime ministers appraised this way of thinking the same way that U.S. President Biden did, saying they held exactly the same awareness of the issues as Japan does and can agree with it.

Moreover, this morning, in the City of London, the world's premier financial center, I gave a lecture on my approach regarding my economic policies in broad terms. I made the case for Japan and the United Kingdom continuing to be good partners into the future, and also for Japan, a nation open to the world, being a country where people can invest with confidence. This was met with forward-looking, proactive assessments by the market players in attendance.

Through this speech, regarding my vision for a new form of capitalism and its associated action plan, both of which will be compiled by June, in addition to what I have already made statements about thus far, including investment in people, investment in science and technology, and investment in start-ups, I also introduced such initiatives as active support for labor mobility through enhanced investment in education and training, including side careers and re-skilling; a "Doubling Asset-based Incomes Plan" through a major expansion of NISA and other efforts; government initiatives to elicit, over a decade, 150 trillion yen in public-private investment related to green transformation; the realization of fiscal management that takes a more long-term perspective; and the realization of Japan as an international financial hub.

I will have a number of diplomatic engagements not long after returning to Tokyo, meeting with Prime Minister Marin of Finland on the 11th and with Mr. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, of the EU on the 12th. On the 23rd, President Biden and I will hold a Japan-U.S. summit meeting and on the 24th I will convene the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Leaders' Meeting. Besides that, several Southeast Asian leaders are scheduled to visit Japan within May, so the diplomatic schedule will be quite lively.

We will overcome the crisis in Ukraine and fully defend the peaceful world order, freedom, and democracy; we additionally face the issues of the reform of the United Nations, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, energy and climate issues, and the sustained growth of the world economy. The world is heading towards historic crossroads on various fronts. Japan will, within the context of the international community as a whole, make the greatest possible contribution in a way only Japan can. Against a backdrop of strong determination in this regard by the Japanese people, as prime minister, I will set "realism diplomacy for a new era" in motion in earnest.

I ask sincerely for the understanding and cooperation of the public.