All national papers except Asahi reported today that Secretary of State Pompeo and Foreign Minister Motegi spoke by phone yesterday for about 20 minutes to exchange views on the situation in the Middle East, including the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. According to the dailies, they shared the view that the prolonged instability in the region will have adverse effects on the global economy and the Japanese minister condemned the incident as a terrorist attack. As for the denuclearization of North Korea, Motegi reportedly expressed “one hundred percent support” for the U.S. efforts. The papers said the two officials also discussed South Korea’s decision to end the GSOMIA defense data sharing arrangement with Japan, reportedly forging a consensus that the disruption of trilateral security coordination between the three partners would be “very problematic.” The ministers reportedly agreed to meet on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.
NHK reported this morning that yesterday the State Department issued a statement on the teleconference. The statement congratulated Motegi on becoming the foreign minister and reaffirmed the strong U.S.-Japan alliance relationship. It also said that Secretary Pompeo emphasized to Motegi that Japan and the ROK need to engage in constructive dialogue during their discussion on the GSOMIA.
Meanwhile, Nikkei and Sankei took up remarks made yesterday during a Tokyo symposium by Defense Minister Kono. He reportedly denounced the attacks against Saudi Arabia oil facilities as a terrorist incident. He underscored that Japan will continue to make diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions in the Middle East. The minister reportedly expressed concern that the incident could trigger “some form of military operation.”