"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 His Attendance at the APEC Leaders' Meeting and Other Matters

[Date] November 17, 2023
[Source] Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Cabinet Secretariat
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

[Opening statement]

As I wrap up my visit to the United States, including attendance at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders' Meeting, I will make a few remarks.

As the international community faces multiple crises, the maintenance of a free and open international order in the Indo-Pacific and the future of sustainable development and prosperity of the world will largely depend on how the APEC economies, the world's growth center, will work together.

At the APEC Leaders' Meeting, under the theme of "Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All" set by the United States as the chair and with the policies to which we attach importance in Japan in mind, I communicated Japan's way of thinking and actively contributed to the discussion.

Firstly, I emphasized that ensuring a fair and transparent trade and investment environment is essential to inclusive and resilient growth in this region. Regarding the promotion of digital economy, I stated the importance of not only widely expanding the initiatives of the G7 Hiroshima AI (artificial intelligence) Process beyond the G7, but also the importance of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT).

As a result, the "Golden Gate Declaration" agreed upon by the APEC leaders clearly states the importance of a multilateral trading system based on free and fair rules, a commitment to the reforms of the WTO (World Trade Organization) and cooperation for promoting data flow.

Secondly, I expressed Japan's intention to contribute in various ways to sustainable growth in the region. In particular, I have long advocated the importance of energy transition through diverse and realistic paths to achieve decarbonization. As a result of the discussion in which I reiterated this point, the Leaders' declaration was in line with this conviction. Under the concept of the Asia Zero Emission Community (AZEC), Japan will host its first AZEC Summit next month to accelerate initiatives toward achieving carbon neutrality.

In this context, I believe that it was timely that we were able to announce the substantial conclusion of the negotiations of the IPEF Clean Economy Agreement and the IPEF Fair Economy Agreement at the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Leaders' meeting held this time.

Thirdly, I stated that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is shaking the foundations of sustainable development in the region. In this regard, the Chair's Statement issued by the United States separately from the Leaders' Declaration also refers to the need to reach a just and lasting peace in Ukraine based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. In the meeting, I also reiterated that the use or threat of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and this point was also included in the Chair's Statement. Japan is committed to continuing to impose strict sanctions against Russia and provide strong support to Ukraine.

In the meantime, the West Coast of the United States also serves as a key center for start-ups. A short while ago, I visited Stanford University with ROK President Yoon, where we sat down with people from Japanese and ROK start-ups and held a Summit Discussion on the theme of cutting-edge technology.

Innovation in cutting-edge technologies, such as semiconductors, quantum, cleantech and AI, as well as more resilient supply chains, cannot be achieved by one country alone: collaboration with allies and like-minded countries is essential. This time, I met with people from American companies, such as Google and those in the semiconductor industry, and I was impressed by their high expectations for investment from Japan and Japanese technology. I was able to identify high potential for technological cooperation between Japan and the United States. It also brought home to me that there are hopes that a new value and a new future can be created through three-way cooperation among Japan, the United States and the ROK in the area of cutting-edge technology. In this city, I renewed my resolve to seize the trend of ongoing significant "changes" and transform them into strength.

During this visit, I met with the leaders of a total of seven countries and regions, including the United States and China, and had frank exchanges of views with them.

The meeting with President Biden, which was the first such meeting since the historic Japan-U.S.-ROK Summit at Camp David, highlighted issues in the Middle East, Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific region, including China and North Korea. At a time when cooperation between Japan and the United States is more necessary than before, we had a frank exchange of views on various issues facing the international community. President Biden stated that the Japan-U.S. alliance is more important than ever before, and we confirmed that we will further strengthen cooperation between the two countries. I believe it was a very meaningful meeting. Furthermore, President Biden and I confirmed and welcomed the progress of IPEF and the significance of holding the Economic "2+2."

In addition, President Biden invited me to make an official visit to the United States as a state guest early next year.

I met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time in around a year, and had a frank and constructive exchange of views from a broad perspective for around 65 minutes.

While there are various possibilities for cooperation between Japan and China, as well as challenges and pending issues, President Xi Jinping and I confirmed the major direction of building "constructive and stable Japan-China relations" on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and China. We concurred on continuing to hold meetings and communicate with each other, as well as to maintain close communication at all other levels.

I also straightforwardly raised various pending issues. First of all, regarding the discharge of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water into the sea, I strongly called for calm responses based on scientific evidence and the immediate lifting of the embargo on Japanese food products. I also expressed grave concerns about the situation in the East China Sea, including the situation regarding the Senkaku Islands, and called for the early release of Japanese nationals detained in China.

At the same time, the meeting highlighted a wide range of matters, such as bilateral cooperation, including the Japan-China High-Level Economic Dialogue and the Japan-China Export Control Dialogue, collaboration on global issues, people-to-people exchanges and regional affairs.

In addition, at Summit Meetings with the ROK, Thailand, Australia and other countries, we reconfirmed our commitment to working together to maintain and strengthen a free and open international order based on the rule of law. As the international community faces various challenges, I have taken the initiative in the discussions in the international community as this year's G7 chair by stressing the need to realize an international community of cooperation rather than division and confrontation, and to protect and strengthen "human dignity." At this APEC Leaders' Meeting and the IPEF Leaders' Meeting, as well as in the lead-up to them, Japan has worked with allies and like-minded countries and took the initiative in various discussions to build a free and open international order based on the rule of law. In this way, Japan has sincerely contributed to the initiatives to resolve each issue.

Next month, the Japan-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Commemorative Summit Meeting will be held. As we face difficulties with the international affairs in a state of chaos, we will continue to pursue proactive summit diplomacy to strive to protect Japan's peace and security and achieve a harmonious international community.


(Chijiiwa, TV Asahi)

I would like to ask about the Japan-China Summit Meeting. I have heard that President Xi Jinping expressed concern by labeling the treated water as "nuclear contaminated water." How did you react to this remark and what was your take on it? How did you respond to China's argument? On the other hand, when it comes to discussions based on scientific evidence, including those by experts as you mentioned, I also wonder if you have identified a specific direction and what prospect you, as Prime Minister of Japan, have toward the lifting of import restrictions on Japanese marine products.

(Prime Minister Kishida)

I have to refrain from commenting on the remarks made by my counterpart or specific exchanges of views at the Summit Meeting, but I believe that the scientific analysis and understanding based on evidence regarding ALPS treated water is widely shared in the international community. Yesterday, President Xi Jinping and I concurred on taking a constructive attitude to find ways to resolve this issue through consultation and dialogue. Going forward, we will have discussions based on science at the expert level.

I will seize every opportunity to strongly call for the immediate lifting of the embargo on Japanese food products. I will urge China to make a calm judgement based on scientific analysis and facts and take a constructive attitude.

Frankly speaking, I don't think we can give a specific timetable for the lifting of the embargo based on speculation at this stage. At the same time, we will use the fund of around 100 billion yen, already set aside to mitigate the impact of the discharge of treated water into the sea by expanding domestic demand, diversifying export destinations and providing support to those involved in the fisheries industry, while also striving to urge to China to act in a way that I have just mentioned and promote concrete initiatives.

(Han Li, the San Francisco Standard)

I would like to ask you how you assess this city as the host of the APEC events. Do you think the city has done a good job? What impressed you the most?

(Prime Minister Kishida)

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the host city of San Francisco and its citizens for the warm hospitality they provided during our stay.

I understand that San Francisco is a city that is rich in innovation and diversity and, as one of the world's economic hubs, has particularly close ties with the Asia-Pacific region.

In this respect, I believe that the city has been a perfect fit for the theme set by the United States as the APEC chair: "Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All."

I believe that we were able to have meaningful discussions about the development of the Asia-Pacific region in the highly open atmosphere of San Francisco. In addition, I held bilateral meetings with the leaders of the United States and other countries and we were able to deepen our discussions on a wide range of issues. I feel that my stay in San Francisco is a meaningful and unforgettable one.

Among the events that particularly impressed me were an event for promoting Japanese marine products and a discussion session with ROK President Yoon at Stanford University on the theme of cutting-edge science and technology. That's all.

(Ashikaga, Yomiuri Shimbun)

I would like to ask about the Government's economic measures focused on flat tax reduction. Opinion polls conducted by news outlets suggest that citizens have a very critical view of the administration and their assessment of the measures are not positive enough. What is your take on this current situation? As parliamentary deliberations on the supplementary budget are expected to begin on November 20, what do you plan to emphasize in providing explanations in the Diet?

(Prime Minister Kishida)

I would like to humbly accept the results of such surveys and other opinions.

The most important pillar of the proposed economic measures is "strengthening supply capacity" aimed at strengthening the earning power of companies, which in return finances wage increases. In addition, we will take a temporary measure to prevent a return to deflation by supporting the disposable income of the people through flat reduction in income and resident tax, among other things.

In order to realize income increases in earnest, I requested at a session for an exchange of views among the government, labor, and management on November 15 that the business community cooperate by raising wages at levels higher than those this year with a view to next year's spring labor offensive, given the current trend of commodity prices. Through public-private collaboration, we hope to ensure that wages, as well as disposable income after flat tax reduction, will increase beyond commodity prices toward next year.

This is how the Government as a whole plans to work together to seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end deflation and realize an economy with sustained, structural wage increases that exceed commodity price hikes. I would like to provide careful explanations about such Government initiatives during Diet deliberations, while doing my utmost to pass the supplementary budget that will finance the proposed economic measures.

(Lindsay Nakano, ABC 7 News)

I would like to hear from you specifically how strengthening the relationship between the San Francisco Bay Area and Japan will lead to mutual benefits. I would also like to hear your thoughts on how best to strengthen this relationship.

(Prime Minister Kishida)

Thank you for your questions. Japan and California have a friendly relationship of 150 years. California is also home to the largest Japanese American community in the United States. We have also nurtured various forms of friendship between local governments on both sides.

Japan, the largest foreign direct investor in California, is also an important trade partner.

In particular, the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the world's economic and cultural hubs that is rich in innovation and diversity, has close ties with Japan. I have heard that there are around 900 operating bases of Japanese companies in the area.

At the session for exchanges at Stanford University that I mentioned earlier, I saw many students arriving from Japan to study at the university, which made me realize that active exchanges are also taking place among future generations.

In this way, San Francisco, especially its Bay Area, has deep ties with Japan. I believe that efforts for further strengthening our relationship going forward will also contribute to the revitalization of economy and society on both sides. I would like to ensure more active exchanges at various levels and in a multilayered manner.