"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 Minster Kishida on Attending the G7 Elmau Summit

[Date] June 28, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

[Opening statement]

First, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the German people for the heartwarming welcome they have given me. I also wish to convey my respect to Chancellor Scholz, who chaired the Elmau Summit, for his leadership.

This summit was held amidst crisis conditions, four months since Russia launched its aggression against Ukraine, with missiles even now striking inside Kyiv, and prices for energy and food spiraling internationally as a result of Russia's outrageous acts.

In order to fully defend freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and other universal values treasured by humankind, and to respond to the sharp spikes in international energy and food prices brought on by Russia's reckless acts of violence, I participated in the G7 discussions, contributing to them as the prime minister of Japan, the sole G7 country in Asia. Through this, we sent out a powerful message of unity as the G7.

To put the earliest possible end to Russia's aggression against Ukraine trampling the peaceful world order, the G7 agreed to take further additional sanctions against Russia and continue to vigorously support Ukraine, which is fighting on the front lines.

I announced that, as part of our coordination with the G7 as a whole, Japan will implement measures comprising the following four pillars as new additional sanctions against Russia. These are, first, prohibiting the provision of certain services to Russian entities, including trust services and accounting services; second, prohibiting the importation of gold; third, further expanding our measures to freeze the assets of Russian individuals and entities; and fourth, further expanding our measures to prohibit exports to Russian military-related entities.

Japan also announced US$100 million in newly-pledged assistance as humanitarian and restoration assistance to Ukraine and its neighboring countries.

Furthermore, as the aggression against Ukraine becomes protracted, in order for the international community to respond in a united way, it is imperative that we work to persuade each country in a well-tailored way. As the leader of the sole Asian G7 member country, I have built up dialogues with the leaders of India and Southeast Asian nations, through which we have come to see eye to eye on the importance of upholding the principles of the international community. Japan will continue to do everything in its power to advance efforts that only Japan can do, such as leveraging the opportunity of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in August to appeal to African nations about our perspective.

Leaders from countries around the world, including President Zelensky, have stated their sincere thanks for Japan's responses, such as our additional sanctions, our assistance to Ukraine, and our efforts to urge Asian countries to support our perspective on the matter of aggression against Ukraine.

Another major topic at this week's Elmau Summit was the global surge in prices, notably in energy and food. The G7 shared the recognition that Russian aggression against Ukraine was the cause of these spiraling prices.

As the prime minister of Japan, I will act with strong determination to defend people's daily lives from emergency-derived dramatic price increases. Under that kind of thinking, I stated the G7 must strengthen not only its unity in terms of assistance and sanctions to protect Ukraine from Russian aggression, but also its unity to protect the daily lives of people in countries around the world from drastic price hikes, and the G7 did indeed confirm this.

The recent price spikes are not merely an economic issue; they are challenges confronting the peaceful order of the world. We held in common our determination to continue our responses for upholding peace and to overcome these difficulties in cooperation with the wider international community, while taking flexible measures well-suited to the economic situation of each of our countries.

At the G7 we engaged in active discussions that carefully considered both the soaring international oil and food markets and the assistance to Ukraine and food assistance.

Regarding the oil market, we will from now examine so-called "price caps," which entails not buying, and not allowing others to buy, petroleum from Russia whose price exceeds a certain price ceiling, while securing the stability of the market. This is a measure that has the effect of putting downward pressure on the soaring international oil market while also reducing Russia's earnings from the sale of petroleum. We will act in close cooperation with the other G7 nations regarding a price cap while defending our national interests in ensuring a stable supply of energy.

Various statements were also made saying that the G7 countries are working to undertake various measures leading to the resumption of exports of grain and so on from Ukraine. The G7 was in agreement that we will respond in unity with the wider international community to cope with the dramatic international food price increases that have accompanied Russian aggression against Ukraine. Japan too will provide assistance to expand the grain storage capacity in Ukraine, whose autumn harvest season will soon arrive. The G7 was in agreement in providing substantive support to countries suffering from the sharp rise in food prices, and Japan will newly implement food assistance aimed at countries in Africa and the Middle East.

These kinds of moves by the international community are yielding positive effects on the international commodities markets, including for example a drop of over 20 percent in the wheat futures price compared to its peak since the aggression against Ukraine occurred.

Within the context of the G7 uniting to respond to rising prices, I explained that Japan is undertaking well-tailored measures to address rapidly rising prices, targeting gasoline, electricity rates, and the like in the area of energy and also wheat, dairy products, and so on with regard to food items.

Namely, we will utilize 1 trillion yen of Extraordinary Regional Revitalization Grants to implement support that is well-suited to the actual conditions in local communities, including benefits to people in need, assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises for raw materials costs, and subsidies for transportation and tourism businesses. Effective responses in local areas will spread laterally to other communities and if necessary we will further infuse additional funding into our Extraordinary Regional Revitalization Grant program.

In the area of energy, as for gasoline, we will continue to take measures to curb dramatic price increases that have the effect of lowering the price by roughly 40 yen per liter.

With regard to electricity, first, ensuring adequate supply capacity is essential. Over the last few days, in the Tokyo electricity area, power shortage advisories have been issued, and the Government will make every possible effort to ensure supply capacity this summer, including making certain that two thermal power plants restart operations. This summer heatstroke is also a concern, and I hope to overcome the situation not through unreasonably pushing for conserving electricity, but rather through the skillful use of cooling.

As we continue these efforts to ensure supply capacity, we will establish new frameworks that have an impact on both power shortages and also sharp rises in electricity charges, thereby lowering the burden of electricity fees.

Regarding food prices, in addition to measures to rein in wheat and feed prices, and with an aim of reducing the production costs of agricultural items in general by ten percent, we will establish and implement a new framework for support funding that provides compensation at 70 percent of the increase in the cost of fertilizer.

Together with such finely-tuned efforts as these targeting individual items, particular industries, or specific communities, what is important is wage increases. The annual wage bargaining negotiations this spring resulted in a 2.09 percentage point wage increase, the second-highest rate of increase in the last 20 years, and the summer bonus is also expected to rise by an average of 60,000 yen. Under our investments in people, the top priority for a New Form of Capitalism, we will work even further to bring about continuous wage increases.

We will continue to mount our responses maintaining a sense of vigilance, with the Task Force on Prices, Wages, and Daily Living positioned at the core, and we will undertake swift and comprehensive measures appropriate for the price and economic conditions, including the flexible use of 5.5 trillion yen of reserve funds.

I am determined to win the battle in the international community of defending universal values such as democracy and the rule of law and to resolutely defend the people's daily lives from the burdens that battle may bring. I ask my fellow citizens for their cooperation in this.

I also provided an explanation of a New Form of Capitalism. I made an appeal that in order to confront the challenges from authoritarian regimes and realize sustainable economic growth, it is necessary to upgrade our version of capitalism by transforming challenges such as expanding disparities and climate change issues into engines of economic growth.

I also pointed out the importance of holding aloft easily-understood banners such as "capitalism centered on people" or "capitalism that faces up to issues," in addition to, of course, a New Form of Capitalism, creating a tide within the international community, in order to counter the expansion of authoritarian regimes and state capitalism. My G7 counterparts expressed support and sympathy for this approach of mine. I will deepen our discussions as we head towards the Hiroshima Summit, with a view to the G7, which leads the global economy, cooperating to together create an international tide in terms of economic policies.

As we work to realize a New Form of Capitalism, the key will be climate change and energy, as the areas that become the litmus test. I conveyed to my counterparts that, under the "Asia Zero Emissions Community" vision I am advocating, we will work to decarbonize Asia and make it increasingly resilient while achieving sustained economic growth as we face the energy situation in each of our countries.

With the world's concern concentrated on the situation in Ukraine, under my strong sense of crisis that Ukraine today could be Asia in the future, I emphasized that we should also thoroughly discuss the situation in the Indo-Pacific region, and the G7 was in full agreement regarding the importance of maintaining and strengthening a Free and Open Indo-Pacific based in the rule of law.

I explained the serious situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea, including that intrusions by China into Japan's territorial waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands are continually occurring and that, in the East China Sea, gas fields are being developed unilaterally, and we confirmed once again the principle that these kinds of unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force are absolutely unacceptable. In addition, the G7 underscored the importance of the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and saw fully eye to eye on encouraging the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.

Japan will continue to respond resolutely to foster the peace of Japan, the peace of Asia, and the peace of the international community.

As for North Korea's nuclear and missile activities, the G7 confirmed the importance of pursuing the realization of the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges by North Korea.

Regarding the abductions issue as well, I won the approval of the G7 leaders by calling for their understanding and cooperation towards the immediate resolution of the issue.

As we now face the threat of Russia using nuclear weapons, the importance of maintaining and strengthening the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime has grown even stronger. We confirmed that the G7 would work in unity towards achieving significant outcomes at the Review Conference of the Parties to the NPT in August, which I am also planning to attend.

Beyond that, this was the first time we succeeded in confirming our commitment at the G7 summit level to work towards the ultimate goal of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. As we work towards next year's Hiroshima Summit, we will deepen our discussions on practical efforts aimed at realizing a world free of nuclear weapons.

Besides this, I explained Japan's efforts towards reforming, and strengthening the functions of, the United Nations as a whole, including the Security Council, our contributions in the area of international health, and furthermore the holding of the sixth World Assembly for Women (WAW!) in Japan this year on December 3, and I received the understanding of my counterparts.

Also, making use of various opportunities during the G7 Summit, I held bilateral meetings with the leaders of the U.S., Germany, France, Canada, the UK, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa, and Argentina, as well as with, from the European Union, Mr. Michel, President of the European Council, and Dr. von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and in these meetings we confirmed that we would act in close cooperation.

In my bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Johnson, regarding the lifting of import restrictions on Fukushima-sourced food items and so on, for which I have appealed repeatedly to various national leaders, Mr. Johnson informed me of the wonderful piece of news that the following day, the UK would abolish import restrictions on Japan-sourced food items. I will continue to work tenaciously to persuade other countries as well on this matter, supporting the reconstruction of Tohoku.

Based on these outcomes of the Elmau Summit, we will convene the G7 Hiroshima Summit on May 19 through 21 next year.

European Council President Michel, who recently visited Hiroshima, told me that, in the midst of the Ukraine crisis, visiting Hiroshima left a strong impression on him. As we come to the end of thirty years of the post-Cold War period and the curtain is about to be raised on a new era, I want to demonstrate to the world from there in Hiroshima the powerful commitment of the G7 leaders that the horror of nuclear weapons will never be repeated and that we resolutely reject armed aggression. I also intend to display, in a way appropriate for the weight this carries historically, the will of the G7 to lead the way in creating the order of the new era, based on universal values and international rules. That is the kind of summit I want to deliver.

After this, I will head to Madrid, where I will attend the NATO summit meeting as the first Japanese prime minister ever to do so. I intend to make this an opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with NATO by confirming our recognition that the security of Europe and of the Indo-Pacific is inseparable and that unilateral changes to the status quo by force cannot be tolerated no matter where they occur. We will also build a solidarity partnership for freedom and democracy that links Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

I myself will stand at the fore in pursuing realism diplomacy for a new era that maintains thoroughgoing realism even as it holds high the banner of our ideals and places importance on universal values. And, as the country holding the presidency of the G7 next year, Japan will do its utmost to create a new order for world peace and stability.