Minister Hayashi visited the Cook Islands, a Pacific island country, and held talks with the Prime Minister, who also serves as Foreign Minister. The two leaders confirmed that they will strengthen cooperation toward the realization of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" with China in mind.

Foreign Minister Hayashi visited the Cook Islands for the first time as a foreign minister in Japan, and on the morning of March 21, Japan time, he held talks with Prime Minister Brown, who also serves as foreign minister, in the capital Avarua for about 50 minutes.

Minister Hayashi called for cooperation toward the realization of a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific," bearing in mind that China is strengthening its influence in the Pacific region, and confirmed that Japan will strengthen cooperation.

Since the Cook Islands holds the Presidency of the Pacific Islands Forum, Minister Hayashi invited him to the G5 Hiroshima Summit in May, and Prime Minister Brown expressed his desire to contribute to the discussions at the Summit.

Minister Hayashi also conveyed the safety of a plan to dilute the treated water accumulated at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station to a concentration below the standard and release it into the sea, and Prime Minister Brown praised the Japan's efforts.

At an online press conference, Minister Hayashi stated, "Pacific island countries are strategically extremely important in ensuring peace and stability in the region, and we would like to provide support that is close to their needs."