Policy Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi to the 159th Session of the Diet
19 January 2004
At the beginning of the 159th session of the Diet, I would like to speak about the basic orientation of Japan's diplomatic policy.
Nearly two months have passed since Ambassador Katsuhiko Oku, First Secretary Masamori Inoue and Mr. Jerjees Sulaiman Zura were killed while fulfilling their duties in Iraq. I am filled with indignation at the vicious violence that took away the lives of these three people. I would like to take this opportunity to express my regret over the loss of these three people who constantly endeavored towards the reconstruction of Iraq, and would like to offer my heartfelt respect for their distinguished achievements.
The reconstruction of Iraq is an urgent issue to be tackled by the international community. If Iraq should become a "failed state" as well as a base for terrorist activities like Afghanistan in the past, it would be a great threat not only to the Middle East but also to Japan and the international community. Moreover, Japan relies on the Middle East region for nearly 90% of its crude oil. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Japan's diplomatic policy to contribute as much as possible to the reconstruction of Iraq, which has a direct bearing on Japan's national interests. Japan must not succumb to terrorism, and it should continue providing reconstruction assistance to Iraq.
In order to restore the security situation in Iraq and achieve a successful reconstruction, it is essential to instill in the people of Iraq a sense of hope for the future. The United Nations (UN) and the entire international community including the countries of the Middle East should support the process of the early transfer of governing authority with a view to the establishment of a new government by the people of Iraq. Japan has continued its endeavors aimed at building international coordination, such as calling on the countries concerned to adopt a UN Security Council resolution on the reconstruction of Iraq. Japan will continue to play a leading role to maintain and strengthen the solidarity of the international community while strengthening its cooperation with the countries of the Middle East. Based on this policy, at the end of 2003, Japan dispatched special envoys of the Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, French Republic, Federal Republic of Germany, as well as to the countries of the Middle East and to the UN. I myself recently visited the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United Arab Emirates and explained Japan's policy. Japan will continue such diplomatic efforts in the future.
Twenty-five years of oppression have devastated the land and the lives of the people of Iraq. It is necessary to swiftly provide assistance that is truly necessary and would be appreciated by the people of Iraq so that they will be able to return to their normal lives as quickly as possible. After the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, Japan has made active efforts in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to Iraq, and will further strengthen such efforts in the future. Regarding the financial cooperation that Japan announced at the International Conference on Reconstruction in Iraq that was held in Madrid in October 2003, Japan will as swiftly as possible provide grant assistance totaling US$1.5 billion for the "immediate reconstruction needs of Iraq" while giving priority to assistance related to the revitalization of basic living conditions of the Iraqi people, including power generation, education, water and sanitation, health, and employment, as well as those related to the improvement of the security situation in Iraq. In the medium to longer term, Japan will provide assistance to restore the economic infrastructure such as telecommunications and transportation and hopes that this will attract private-sector investment. Furthermore, with regard to the issue of Iraqi debt, Japan is committed to provide substantial debt reduction in the Paris Club and Japan would be prepared to eliminate the vast majority of its Iraqi debt, if other Paris Club creditors are prepared to do so in the context of a Paris Club agreement.
In order to stabilize the livelihood of the people of Iraq and bring about a restoration of the security situation in Iraq through such efforts, personnel assistance is essential in addition to financial cooperation. Approval needs to be obtained in this session of the Diet on the implementation of the response measures of the Self Defense Forces (SDF) based on the Law Concerning the Special Measures on Humanitarian and Reconstruction Assistance in Iraq, so that members of the SDF of Japan are able to steadily implement humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in areas such as water supply and the provision of medical care. I would like to take this opportunity to ask for the cooperation of all the members of the Diet in this regard. In implementing assistance from Japan, we will make every effort to ensure the safety of the members of the SDF and the people involved in providing assistance. In addition, I intend to emphasize public relations activities to introduce and gain the understanding of the people of Iraq and Arab countries on the activities of the SDF as well as the content and aims of Japan's humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.
In order to achieve peace and stability in the entire Middle East region including Iraq, it is vital to resolve the issue of peace in the Middle East, which is the key to this end. Japan will host a conference aimed at confidence-building between the Israelis and the Palestinians to work on both parties and countries concerned to make efforts towards peace, and to further strengthen assistance to the Palestinians.
(Issues concerning North Korea)
Issues concerning North Korea are one of the most important diplomatic issues that Japan faces. In relations with North Korea, Japan will continue to aim, based on the Pyongyang Declaration, towards a comprehensive solution of the outstanding issues, including the abductions and security issues encompassing the nuclear and missile issues. Towards this end, Japan will firmly maintain its close coordination and cooperation with the United States of America and the Republic of Korea and cooperate with countries concerned such as the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation. Through dialogue at the Six-Party talks and on other occasions, Japan will strongly urge North Korea to dismantle all its nuclear development programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Japan will also continue to make utmost efforts towards a complete solution of the abduction issue at the earliest possible date, taking into consideration the wishes of the victims and their families.
The "fight against terrorism" continues to be a grave challenge, and Japan is also seriously engaged on this front. Terrorism is spreading globally and is becoming nondiscriminatory, as was seen in the terrorist attacks against the UN Headquarters and the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iraq as well as against the Consulate-General of the United Kingdom in Istanbul. In order to contain terrorist activity, it is vital to promote cooperation among various countries in a wide range of areas such as information exchange, immigration control and anti-terrorist financing. Japan will continue to be involved in the fight against terrorism of its own initiative in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, and will also make efforts in gathering and analyzing terrorist-related information in cooperation with the countries concerned. Furthermore, in order to bolster the prevention of illegal immigration, Japan aims to introduce in FY2005 passports that use authentication technology to verify the passport holder based on biometric identifiers. I will continue to do my best to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals abroad and tighten security in overseas diplomatic missions, and I intend to strengthen assistance aimed at improving the capacity of developing countries, including the countries of Southeast Asia, to respond to terrorism.
Given the immeasurable threat that would result when the threat of terrorism were coupled with weapons of mass destruction, an important task is to prevent the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction and missiles by the countries of concern and terrorists. Japan will call on various countries to accede to the disarmament- and non-proliferation-related treaties, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and to fully implement the obligations under these treaties. At the same time, Japan will endeavor to strengthen international frameworks to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles. Moreover, Japan intends to actively participate in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and contribute further in boosting the nonproliferation efforts in the Asian region.
While Iran's nuclear issue is an important issue concerning the nuclear non-proliferation system, positive developments have been witnessed, such as the signing of the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by Iran. When I visited Iran at the beginning of January 2004, I welcomed such developments and called on Iran to continue to faithfully implement the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors. At the same time, I expressed to the Iranian side that Japan was prepared to maintain and develop the traditionally friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries. In response to the earthquake that recently occurred in Iran, Japan has provided humanitarian assistance, including the dispatch of an international emergency assistance team and the transport of relief supplies by C-130 transport aircrafts of the SDF.
The decision by Libya to abandon its development programs of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, and to allow immediate inspections by international organizations is a great step forward for the peace and security of the international community. Japan highly appreciates the diplomatic efforts of the countries concerned in the process of this achievement. Japan strongly hopes that the countries suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction, including North Korea, will follow Libya's example.
As seen in the recent adoption of a new constitution by the Constitutional Loya Jirga, the resolve and efforts of the international community to assist the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to prevent it from returning to a base for terrorist activity have steadily borne fruit. In addition to providing assistance such as primary road rehabilitation and building schools, Japan is playing a leading role in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants, and intends to continue such endeavors in the future.
In order for the international community to cooperate in its efforts to tackle issues including the reconstruction of Iraq and the fight against terrorism, it is necessary for the United Nations to play a greater role. At present, deliberations on strengthening the function of the UN are conducted at the high-level panel under the initiative of the UN Secretary-General, and there is a growing momentum to pursue UN reform. I have also established a wise-men group and have asked the group to hold deliberations. Based on these results, I would like to make efforts for these endeavors to lead to the realization of a meeting of heads of states and governments on UN reform in 2005, which Japan has proposed, and to yield substantial outcomes in terms of UN reform. When the reform of the Security Council is realized as a result of such endeavors, Japan is willing to assume greater responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council. In this context, it is important first and foremost for Japan to win a seat in the election of non-permanent membership this autumn and play an active role as a non-permanent member in 2005-2006, and I intend to devote myself to this end. Moreover, I will strive to realize a more balanced scale of assessments of the UN and increase the number of Japanese nationals working in international organizations.
(Realization of an affluent world and prosperous Japan)
Stability and sustainable development of the world economy is indispensable for the realization of a prosperous Japan. Japan will actively work towards the early conclusion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations round so as to maintain and strengthen the multilateral free trade system, and aim for results that work to the benefit of Japan. At the same time, Japan will promote bilateral and regional economic partnership as a means of complementing the multilateral free trade system. For the immediate term, Japan will set forward negotiations for an agreement with the Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Thailand, Republic of the Philippines and Malaysia to strengthen the bilateral economic partnerships respectively with a view to seeking the economic development of the entire region of East Asia including Japan, while devoting efforts towards the early conclusion of continuing negotiations for an agreement with Mexico.
Assistance for poverty reduction and sustainable growth of developing countries is important for the development of the international community as a whole. Japan will continue with its development assistance to Asia as a matter of course, and also to Africa, given the success of the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III). Japan has also been providing assistance for the consolidation of peace and nation-building in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the international community is facing diversified threats, such as infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and increasingly complex international organized crime. The realization of the concept of "human security" which consists of protection by the nation and strengthening the capabilities of each individual is important to deal with these threats. Given such a reality, Japan reviewed its Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter [PDF] in August 2003, placing the perspective of human security as one of the basic polices and included peace building as a priority area.
Global warming is a serious threat and we do not have a moment to lose. Japan, aiming for an early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, will further work for the early ratification of the Protocol by the Russian Federation and other nations that have yet to join. Moreover, Japan will thoroughly prepare for, and conduct public relations activities on the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan, to be held next year, as an endeavor to present the blueprint for a new industrial society that coexists harmoniously with nature.
Cultural diversity and exchange between various cultures are essential to build an affluent world. Japan will continue to make efforts for the preservation of cultural heritage in developing countries as well as the promotion of culture itself and dialogue among civilizations. Furthermore, transmitting the values and attractions of Japan overseas as well as inviting intellects and talents from overseas to Japan will not only facilitate mutual understanding but will also help to revitalize Japan's society. I will expend further efforts in this regard.
(Strengthening relations with major countries and regions)
The Japan-US alliance, with Japan-US security arrangements at its core, is vital for securing the peace and prosperity of Japan. With the year 2004 marking the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Amity between the US and Japan, Japan will further strengthen Japan-US relations, the linchpin of Japan's diplomatic policy. Based on the concept of "Japan-US alliance in the global context," Japan and the United States will cooperate to address the various issues facing the international community. With regard to the various issues of US Forces stationed in Japan, Japan will continue its utmost efforts to reduce the burden on the people of Okinawa, such as the steady implementation of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) Final Report, including the relocation and return of Futenma Air Station.
The Republic of Korea shares the same basic values with Japan and is an extremely important neighboring country, both politically and economically. Japan will continue to develop its bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea to a further and higher level through implementation of measures incorporated in the Japan-Republic of Korea Summit Joint Statement announced in June 2003 which includes flights between Haneda Airport and Kimpo Airport that have already started and the Japan-Republic of Korea FTA negotiations.
Japan-China relations are one of its most important bilateral relationships and Japan will further deepen the mutual understanding and trust between the people of Japan and China. Moreover, Japan will closely consult and promote cooperation with China on regional issues such as those of North Korea. In addition, Japan will continue to deepen cooperative relations on global issues including environmental issues.
At the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan Commemorative Summit, the leaders agreed to strengthen a partnership that will "act together, advance together," and adopted the "Tokyo Declaration for the Dynamic and Enduring Japan-ASEAN Partnership in the New Millennium" [PDF] and the "Japan-ASEAN Plan of Action" [PDF] which will become the guidelines for future Japan-ASEAN relations. Japan, based on these guidelines, will further develop concrete cooperation with ASEAN and contribute to the establishment of an East Asian community with Japan-ASEAN relations as its core. Furthermore, Japan will strengthen its relations with Southwest Asia where developments towards peace and stability have recently been witnessed at the historical summit meeting between India and Pakistan where agreement was reached to initiate dialogue.
With regard to Europe, Japan will further construct close cooperative relations in a wide range of areas with the European Union (EU), which is increasing its presence in the international arena. In relations with Russia, I am planning to visit Russia in the first half of this year and thoroughly discuss the issues on the conclusion of a peace treaty with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of the Russian Federation. While developing Japan-Russia relations as a whole through the realization of the "Japan-Russia Action Plan," the Japanese government will continue its persistent negotiations in order to solve the issue of the attribution of the four Northern Islands and thereby conclude a peace treaty with Russia.
I have so far stated the basic orientation of Japan's diplomatic policy. All countries in the international community are cooperating to counter constantly emerging new issues. As one of the major members of the international community, Japan needs to participate in these efforts on its own initiative, given that the safety and prosperity of Japan lies in a world that is peaceful and stable. Greater diplomatic efforts than ever before are necessary to achieve such peace and stability. With such an awareness, as part of ongoing reforms, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will undertake organizational reform in the summer of 2004: it will further enhance implementation structures for diplomatic policy by strengthening the policy coordination function of the Foreign Policy Bureau and reorganizing and expanding the Intelligence and Analysis Bureau to the Intelligence and Analysis Service in order to improve information gathering and analytical capabilities. Furthermore, the Consular and Migration Affairs Department will be reorganized into the Consular Bureau in order to adequately ensure the safety of Japanese nationals overseas. In addition, as a part of the Government of Japan, the Ministry will ensure its accountability to the people of Japan and strive to achieve the understanding and support of the people.
In this regard, I humbly ask for the support and cooperation of the people of Japan and the members of the Diet.
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