All national papers reported extensively on China’s enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong, focusing on comments made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga, Foreign Minister Motegi, and other cabinet officials expressing “regret.” The GOJ reportedly regards “regret” as stronger than “concern,” which has been used up until now. Motegi said the enactment “undermines international confidence in the ‘one nation, two systems’ principle,” while Defense Minister Kono said it is “equivalent to a unilateral alteration of the status quo,” projecting that it will “have a very serious impact” on Chinese leader Xi’s proposed visit to Japan as a state guest. Sankei wrote that following the enactment, the momentum within the GOJ for inviting the top Chinese official to visit is now completely lost.
As more than 1,400 Japanese companies have offices and almost 26,000 Japanese citizens live in the semi-autonomous territory, Yomiuri said the GOJ is alarmed by the growing prospects that the national security law will dramatically change the political and economic landscape there. With regard to the possibility of Japan adopting sanctions on Beijing, Motegi reportedly said: “Japan will respond appropriately in coordination with relevant countries.” However, Nikkei wrote that Japan and the EU are hesitant to take a concerted line with the Trump administration, which is set to impose additional sanctions on Beijing. While pointing out that the G7 foreign ministers released a joint statement in mid-June asking Beijing to “reconsider” the legislation, the business daily emphasized that G7’s unity will be tested over China’s “high-handed’ approach not only over Hong Kong but also Taiwan and the South and the East China Seas.