Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Japan expresses ‘regret’ over Hong Kong security law; Xi’s state visit unlikely

Jul 02. 2020
Toshimitsu Motegi , Foreign Minister
Toshimitsu Motegi , Foreign Minister
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By The Yomiuri Shimbun/The Japan News/ANN

Following China’s passage of a national security law for Hong Kong, the Japanese government on Tuesday expressed its second-harshest diplomatic stance of “regret” on the issue because Tokyo believes there is a growing risk Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” framework is being undermined.

“It is with regret that the legislation was passed regardless of the strong concern shown by the international community and the people of Hong Kong,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It undermines the international community’s trust in the principle of ‘one country, two systems.’”

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi released a statement the same day saying, “Japan expresses its regret over the enactment of the national security law.” This was conveyed to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo by telephone.

The use of the expression “regret” indicates the government’s toughening stance compared to the “seriously concerned” it used on May 28 and the “grave concern” used by the Group of Seven in a joint statement released on June 17 by G7 foreign ministers.

The government has been increasingly worried about the security law. About 26,000 Japanese live in Hong Kong while about 1,400 Japanese-affiliated companies have a presence there.

“The situation for Japanese living in Hong Kong will change dramatically” after the enactment of the law, said a senior official of the Foreign Ministry.

Motegi, when asked about the possibility of taking countermeasures as the United States has, said, “We will respond appropriately in cooperation with relevant countries.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan as a state guest, which had been difficult to realize by the end of this year, is becoming even more distant after Defense Minister Taro Kono said, “It will also have an extremely serious impact on Xi’s visit.”

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