NHK World exclusive interview with Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko

Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko hosted the Group of Seven foreign ministers' meeting in Tokyo last week, where the G7 called for humanitarian pauses in the Gaza Strip while firmly condemning Hamas' terrorist attacks.

In an exclusive interview with NHK World, Kamikawa said getting humanitarian aid into Gaza is a race against time.

"Ordinary citizens, especially children, women and the elderly, have suffered greatly. My heart aches for those who have lost their lives. We need to move quickly to prevent the humanitarian situation in Gaza from deteriorating. Since the early days of the conflict, Japan has been calling for a quick de-escalation and for a response in accordance with international humanitarian law. And we will continue to promote that stance. I think Japan could play a unique role as we don't have tensions with Israel or Arab nations. We will thoroughly pursue that role."

Kamikawa also expressed concern regarding Taiwan. China has been increasing military pressure in the region.

"Regarding peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it is important to send a clear message directly to China while closely coordinating with the US, other allies and like-minded countries as a united front."

The parents (left and center) of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea visit a photo exhibition in August.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has stated that he's willing to start high-level talks with Pyongyang with the goal of holding a bilateral summit.

Kamikawa has also pledged to work for the safe return of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

"I think we are on the verge of making progress. This abduction issue has a time limit as the families are aging. I believe it is a humanitarian issue and we should not be shaken, even for a moment."

Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this week.

Kamikawa said the international community needs to come together to deal with a number of crises, including Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"Japan values human dignity as a core principle. We must firmly emphasize this ideal and maintain a free and open international order based on the rule of law. We must strongly continue to make that appeal to the world."

Kamikawa will be bringing that message to San Francisco when she attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum later this week.

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