On the afternoon of Feb. 19 (early Feb. 20, Japan time), Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa attended a panel discussion held as part of the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Hayashi said that [Japan and Western nations] must confront China with regard to the Taiwan issue and compete with it in the field of advanced technology, including AI, quantum technology, and biotechnology. Hayashi underscored that, in confronting China, Japan intends to act in coordination with the United States and other nations by upholding democratic values and human rights.
The event was conducted in English and attended by Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and others. On Taiwan, Hayashi stressed, “Taiwan is an important partner and friend sharing basic values,” adding, “The peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is vital not only for Japan’s security, but also for world stability.”
The Japanese minister held meetings with his counterparts while in Munich. At a meeting with Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu, Hayashi requested Romania’s cooperation in evacuating Japanese nationals from Ukraine. Aurescu responded by saying, “We will closely coordinate with you and provide the maximum support.”
At a meeting with British Foreign Minster Liz Truss, the two agreed that they reject any attempts to change the status quo by force and promised to deepen diplomatic coordination to ease tensions in Ukraine. Hayashi also asked for an early lifting of the import restrictions on Japanese food products, which have been imposed by the UK since the nuclear accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. Truss explained that “the process [to lift the restrictions] is moving forward.”
At a meeting with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Hayashi expressed Japan’s willingness to coordinate with NATO to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific. Stoltenberg replied by saying, “Japan is a significant partner, and we look forward to deepen cooperation in various fields.”
Hayashi, who was in Germany to attend the Group of Seven Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, arrived back at Haneda Airport on Feb. 20.