"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 regarding the Emergency Meeting of the Leaders of the G7/NATO Member Countries, the G20 Bali Summit, and Other Matters

[Date] November 16, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

(On an overview of the emergency meeting of the leaders of the G7 and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries and how Prime Minster Kishida regarded the meeting, and on the viewpoint held by U.S. President Biden on the low likelihood that the missile landing in Poland was launched by Russia)

First of all, an emergency meeting of the leaders of the G7 and the NATO member countries was quickly convened today in response to a call by President Biden, reacting to reports that there had been an explosion in Poland. I attended the meeting and there, the leaders of the G7 and of NATO first strongly condemned Russia's missile attacks on various locations in Ukraine and agreed that we will provide full-scale support for an investigation by Poland into this explosion, which occurred against that backdrop.

Japan holds the G7 presidency next year and was the sole member from the Indo-Pacific region attending the meeting. Accordingly, I put especially strong emphasis on two points regarding the Ukraine situation, namely that the issue affects the foundation of the international order and is inseparable from the security of the Indo-Pacific region, and that it is critically important for the G7 and for NATO to work in cooperation, precisely because it is just such a time.

Ever since Russian aggression against Ukraine started this past February, I have emphasized repeatedly that the unity of the G7 is critically important. I have also placed importance on cooperation with NATO, including through my attendance at the NATO Summit in June, a first for a Japanese prime minister. In line with this position, I consider it to have been highly significant that Japan was able to reconfirm this cooperation at this emergency meeting of the leaders of the G7 and the NATO member countries.  

With regard to your second point, on President Biden's view of the recent explosion, Japan exchanges information with the United States and other countries at various venues, including at this emergency meeting. The stance of respecting the outcome of the investigation by Poland was also confirmed at the meeting, and consequently Japan intends to continue to monitor carefully the state of the inspection, or the verification. That is where we stand right now.

(On how Prime Minister Kishida regards the adoption of the G20 Bali Leaders' Declaration and how he evaluates the discussions that took place during the G20 summit)

Against the backdrop of Russian aggression continuing against Ukraine, important issues such as energy and food security and also global health were discussed, so I regard this G20 summit as having been a valuable opportunity to exchange views about such matters. Given Japan's position as holding the presidency of the G7 next year, this summit was an opportunity to actively communicate Japan's stances, and also the efforts it has made, related to these issues.

At the G20 summit, many countries including Japan strongly condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Also, in particular I emphasized that Russia's nuclear threat is absolutely unacceptable and it goes without saying that the Russia should never use nuclear weapons under any circumstances. A number of other countries also made interventions to this effect. The G20 Bali Leaders' Declaration was released based on these discussions.

I would like to express my respect to President Joko for his strong leadership in compiling the joint leaders' declaration despite such difficult circumstances. In addition, the Leaders' Declaration included the war in Ukraine being strongly condemned by most G20 member countries and the G20 regarding the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons as inadmissible. Japan was especially keen to urge incorporating the strongest possible wording with regard to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in particular, as hostile acts against humanity.

I highly commend the incorporation of such wording into the Leaders' Declaration as being a significant step forward, leading also into next year's G7 Hiroshima Summit. I expect that at next year's G7 Hiroshima Summit, nuclear issues will be an extremely major and important agenda item. With Japan assuming the G7 presidency, I look forward to leading the discussions on this topic.

(On how Prime Minister Kishida regards the U.S.-China summit meeting held two days prior, and on future Japan-China relations)

First of all, my understanding is that in the U.S.-China summit meeting, a wide range of topics was discussed, including economic issues, human rights issues, and the Taiwan issue, as well as Ukraine affairs and the North Korea situation. While I feel it is incumbent upon me to refrain from making any sort of comments from my viewpoint on meetings held between other countries, I will say that the relationship between the United States and China is an extremely important one also for the international community as a whole.

In the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting as well, I confirmed with President Biden our responses to various issues related to China, and that Japan and the U.S. will act in cooperation when undertaking those responses. Keeping firmly in mind the possibilities regarding these discussions taking place between the U.S. and China, I also intend to reinforce the cooperation we have forged within Japan-U.S. relations.

In addition, as for a meeting between Japan and China, I am scheduled to have a Japan-China summit meeting with President Xi Jinping tomorrow in Bangkok. Regarding the Japan-China relationship, I have been saying for quite a long time that various kinds of potential exist between our two countries.

At the same time, there also exist a number of issues and outstanding areas of concern between us. Given such a situation, I will state clearly the things that need to be said and, as we steadily continue to hold dialogues with China, we will cooperate on matters deserving cooperation. In light of that, I will say to China the things that need to be said and cooperate on points regarding which we should cooperate, while urging China to act responsibly. I intend to take that posture as I endeavor to establish that kind of constructive and stable Japan-China relationship. As I work to continue to hold such dialogues with China, I very much hope to make tomorrow's Japan-China summit meeting a meeting that will be the start of such relations.

(On the state of consideration of a new bill that will provide relief for victims of the former Unification Church)

As I stated the other day, the Government is now moving forward rapidly in its consideration of how to draft a new bill on relief measures for victims. Its main content will be prohibiting malevolent solicitation activities that are difficult to permit as a society. As the foundation of the bill, we will compile an image of a structure that ensures donations are made in an appropriate way and lay it out first to the ruling parties to start discussions on it. Alongside this, I have instructed LDP Secretary-General Motegi to hold discussions on it as early as this week during consultations among the ruling and opposition parties. After listening attentively to the views of opposition party legislators as well, we will work to be able to submit a bill to the current Diet session.

Now, to add one related point, after finishing here, I am scheduled to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting and other diplomatic events in Thailand. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kihara was originally scheduled to accompany me there, but I have decided to have him remain in Japan and work on coordinating the new bill I just mentioned and responding to the Diet. In this way, the Government will work intensively, aiming towards submitting a new bill to the Diet.

(On whether or not consultations regarding the Senkaku Islands and the Taiwan situation are scheduled for the following day's Japan-China summit meeting, and on whether or not issues related to China were discussed during the Japan-Germany summit meeting held earlier in the day)

To start, with regard to your first question, I wish to refrain from prejudging and talking about the contents of our discussions before the meeting takes place, as these are discussions with another party. However, I can say that I want to make this a meeting that can advance Japan-China relations, grounded in the basic approach I spelled out just now.

As for your second question, China was a topic in my meeting with Germany, and we had an exchange of views.

(On whether or not the Government of Japan will condemn Russia at the present time regarding the explosion in Poland)

Ultimately, there are a number of ways to view the explosion in Poland. That said, within today's emergency summit meeting as well, we condemned the fact that, to start with, there have been ongoing Russian missile attacks upon various locations around Ukraine, and we noted that this explosion occurred against that backdrop.

Keeping that point in mind, we will pay careful attention to the investigation regarding what was actually the case. That was our fundamental approach. Russian attacks on private facilities and other places in various locations around Ukraine have been continuing for several days in succession. We strongly condemn that and will press forward with the verification and investigation into what in fact happened during the recent incident. This approach has been stated by various countries even since the emergency meeting finished, and Japan too takes this same position.

(On the state of COVID-19 infections domestically and response measures to be taken over the year-end and New Year's holiday period)

Regarding this point, I took special pains to touch on our COVID-19 response measures even before I set out on this trip, laying out my thoughts on the situation. The increase in the number of infections has been noted since the stage before I departed Japan. Given that, I had an exchange of views on the current state of affairs, during which I listened directly to remarks made by Dr. OMI Shigeru, chair of the Advisory Committee on the Basic Action Policy, and three other experts.

Their view is that first it is important to move forward with administering the vaccine no matter what it takes. Based on that viewpoint and other considerations, although the system for getting vaccinated has already been in place for some time, the Government will make a greater effort to get as many people as possible to understand the importance of getting vaccinated and also urge them to actually get inoculated. Additionally, with infections spreading now as we head into the cold season, some have noted that infections are spreading at a fast pace, particularly in cold regions.

Ventilation is important and I need to ask the public once again for their cooperation on that point. And at the same time, as we head into the future, together with the vaccine and the cooperation of the public that I just mentioned, the Government must firmly maintain a sense of urgency towards this state of affairs. In line with that, we will, through the cooperation of local governments, reliably enhance the medical treatment structure, including high-fever outpatient facilities, telephone and online consultations, and so on, to a level beyond what we have had until now. I said this before departing on this trip, but the Government intends to press forward in these areas more vigorously going forward.

Regardless, while carefully monitoring the current state of infections, the Government will make its best efforts as it prepares a structure that is fully capable of protecting the lives and the health of the Japanese people.