TOKYO • Japan and France have agreed that foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G-7) countries should soon issue a statement on their concerns about Hong Kong, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said, citing a government source.
Yesterday’s NHK report comes a day after China protested against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assertion that he wanted Japan to take the lead on issuing a joint statement.
Japan has already repeatedly expressed concern about the Chinese national security legislation that could expose people and companies operating in the former British colony to greater risk of investigation and prosecution.
The agreement came in a call between Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, NHK said. Japan’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that the two ministers had “shared serious concern about the decision made by China’s National People’s Congress regarding policies towards Hong Kong”. Beijing’s move has reignited demonstrations in Hong Kong, following months of pro-democracy protests last year.
The G-7 statement is set to include an expression of concern and a call on China to maintain the “one country, two systems” framework, NHK said. Under that arrangement, China agreed with Britain to maintain a “high degree of autonomy” for Hong Kong – preserving its liberal institutions and capitalist economic structure – for at least 50 years after the city’s return to China in 1997.