Press Conference 19 September 2000

  1. Visit of President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea to Japan
  2. Recent visits by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano to the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumania, and the Slovak Republic
  3. Recent visit to Japan of Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Roosevelt Douglas of the Commonwealth of Dominica
  4. Announcement on the 25th anniversary of independence of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea
  5. Japan-Iran Arms Control and Disarmament Talks
  6. Talks with the People's Republic of China on the establishment of a framework for mutual prior notification of marine survey activities
  7. Announcement on an invitation program for youth from the South Asian Region
  8. Dispatch of a mission on anti-piracy to Southeast Asian nations
  9. Question on the reaction of the Government of Japan to court action pursued by so-called comfort women
  10. Question on Japan-Iran consultations
  11. Question on the reaction of the Government of Japan to developments in the hostage situation in the Philippines
  12. Question on interest by Japan in the shinkansen project in the People's Republic of China
  13. Question on comments by former Defense Minister Kyuma regarding sanctions against the Republic of Iraq

  1. Visit of President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea to Japan

    Press Secretary Ryuichiro Yamazaki: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Today I have several announcements at the outset. I would first like to give you some more details on the visit of President Kim Dae Jung of the Republic of Korea and his wife to Japan, from 22 September until 24 September.

    President Kim Dae Jung and Mrs. Kim will arrive on the morning of 22 September. President Kim Dae Jung will have tea with important figures from the art and cultural fields of both Japan and the Republic of Korea and later dine with Korean business and industry leaders and their Japanese counterparts. That afternoon Mrs. Kim will have some time to visit various places in Tokyo.

    On Saturday 23 September, President Kim Dae Jung and his wife will move to Atami and there Governor Yoshinobu Ishikawa of Shizuoka Prefecture and Mayor Ichio Kawaguchi of Atami City will pay their respective courtesy calls. During the afternoon of that same day, a Japan-Republic of Korea summit meeting between Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and President Kim Dae Jung will take place, followed by a joint press conference. Later that evening the Prime Minister and Mrs. Mori will host a dinner for the President and Mrs. Kim. That afternoon Mrs. Kim will visit various places in Atami City.

    On the morning of Sunday 24 September, Prime Minister Mori will host a small informal breakfast for President Kim Dae Jung during which they will continue their conversation. After taking a walk nearby, around lunchtime, President Kim Dae Jung and Mrs. Kim and their party will leave from Haneda Airport.

    Related Information (Visit to Japan of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Korea, Kim Dae Jung)
  2. Recent visits by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano to the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumania, and the Slovak Republic

    Mr. Yamazaki: My second announcement concerns recent visits by State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Katsuhito Asano to the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumania, and the Slovak Republic, between 6 September and 14 September.

    On 11 September State Secretary Asano stopped over in Dusseldorf, where he delivered a keynote address at the Japan-Germany Economic Conference, which was the final event of the Cultural Events Year of Japan in Germany.

    The visits to the three aforementioned countries, which are all important for Japan, were very productive. A common factor in all three countries is that we highly value their respective efforts in democratization and reform. The Government of Japan would like to expand our bilateral relations with these countries and help them in their nation-building.

    With regard to Rumania and Bulgaria, we note the fact that these two countries are helping in the stabilization efforts in the post-Kosovo era in the Southeast European region. In relation to their nation-building, various yen-loan projects--for instance in the case of Rumania, its modernization plans in the railway field, or in Bulgaria the project for building a subway in Sofia--were discussed, as well as rendering grants in the cultural field for some projects in these two countries.

    In relation to Slovakia, State Secretary Asano happens to be the President of the Japan-Slovakia Parliamentary League and he has had a long involvement in expanding relations between Japan and Slovakia. State Secretary Asano asked the Slovakian side for their cooperation in ensuring the success of the upcoming visit of Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako to Slovakia from 4 October. The State Secretary also noted various encouraging signs of expanding relations between our two countries. As far as the visit by Princess Sayako is concerned, Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda of the Slovak Republic replied that it was a great honor for his country, and that the people there looked forward to welcoming Her Imperial Highness Princess Sayako when she visits Slovakia in early October.

    Other topics discussed included the importance of United Nations Security Council reform and the results of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit. State Secretary Asano touched upon these and other subjects as he met with the leaders of these three countries: Prime Minister Mugur Isarescu of Romania, Prime Minister Dzurinda of the Slovak Republic, and Vice President Todor Kavaldzhiev and Deputy Prime Minister Petur Zhotev of Bulgaria, and other leaders.

    Related Information (Japan-Europe Relations)
  3. Recent visit to Japan of Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Roosevelt Douglas of the Commonwealth of Dominica

    Mr. Yamazaki: Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Roosevelt Douglas of the Commonwealth of Dominica visited Japan from 10 September to 14 September.

    On 12 September Prime Minister Douglas had a meeting with Prime Minister Mori. The gist of the meeting was as follows. Prime Minister Mori noted with pleasure that in early November the first Japan-Caribbean ministerial-level meeting will be held in Japan, and he looked forward to seeing Prime Minister Douglas participate in that meeting in his capacity as Foreign Minister. Prime Minister Douglas said that he certainly would come again to Japan to participate in the meeting and further stated that he looked forward to further bilateral assistance from Japan as Dominica endeavors in its nation-building.

    Prime Minister Mori noted that Japan enjoys very good cooperative relations in marine and fishing areas, but there is still room for further cooperation elsewhere, such as strengthening the economic infrastructure of Dominica, and that the two countries should explore other possibilities together. The subject of information technology (IT) was also mentioned, and Prime Minister Mori told Prime Minister Douglas that he hoped to invite young leaders in the IT field from the various Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to Japan.

    Related Information (Japan-Commonwealth of Dominica Relations)
  4. Announcement on the 25th anniversary of independence of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

    Mr. Yamazaki: The Independent State of Papua New Guinea is celebrating its 25th anniversary of independence. A ceremony to commemorate this anniversary was held on 15 September at Port Moresby. Mr. Kosuke Ito, Member of the Lower House of Parliament, was sent to this auspicious occasion as a special envoy to represent the Government of Japan.

    The Government of Japan has maintained very good relations with Papua New Guinea ever since it gained independence in 1975. Among the Pacific island states, Papua New Guinea is the number-one recipient of official development assistance (ODA) from Japan, and it was against this background that Mr. Ito was dispatched.

    Related Information (Japan-Papua New Guinea Relations)
  5. Japan-Iran Arms Control and Disarmament Talks

    Mr. Yamazaki: The first official Japan-Iran Arms Control and Disarmament Talks were held on 12 September here in Tokyo at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The Japanese team was represented by Ambassador Norio Hattori, Director-General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, while the Iranian team was headed by Ambassador Mohammad-Reza Alborzi, Director-General of the Department of Political International Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The two governments exchanged their views on such issues as nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, missiles, chemical and biological weapons, and conventional weapons. The meeting was productive in deepening mutual understanding, and both governments agreed to continue talks on a regular basis in the future.

    Related Information (Japan-Iran Relations)
  6. Talks with the People's Republic of China on the establishment of a framework for mutual prior notification of marine survey activities

    Mr. Yamazaki: On 15 September talks between Japan and the People's Republic of China were held in Beijing on establishing a framework for mutual prior notification of any marine survey activities in the waters around our two countries. These talks were held in the context of the dispatch in recent months of marine survey ships by the Chinese Government to waters around Japan, including in our view, the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    The purpose of these talks was to establish this framework for mutual prior notification so that we are able to know beforehand what our respective maritime survey ships will be doing. Among the points discussed were which maritime areas would be involved, and what the actual contents and timing of such notification would be.

    At this meeting, which was held at Deputy Director-General level between the two Foreign Ministries, the following points were agreed upon: (1) that the two governments will establish and agree upon such a framework for mutual prior notification with the assumption that it will not have any effect on our basic positions vis-a-vis how to establish the borders of our EEZs; (2) that the purpose of the endeavor is to promote mutual trust; (3) work on establishing this framework will be accelerated.

    We hope to have another meeting as soon as possible in order to establish such a framework. There will be another chance to discuss this issue when our two countries consult on the Law of the Sea and the EEZ issue later this month. In the meantime we will continue to exchange views through diplomatic channels with a view to promptly establishing this framework.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  7. Announcement on an invitation program for youth from the South Asian Region

    Mr. Yamazaki: My next announcement concerns an invitation program to invite youth from the seven countries of the South Asian Region: the Republic of India, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, People's Republic of Bangladesh, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Kingdom of Nepal, Kingdom of Bhutan, and the Republic of Maldives. A total of 43 youths from these seven countries arrived on Japan on 12 September and will stay until 26 September.

    This program is part of our youth and cultural exchange with the region so that we can further deepen our mutual understanding, and that these youths can go back to their respective countries with a much better appreciation of Japan in general, Japan's industry, culture, and its people. The participants will have a chance to homestay in Kyoto, exchange views with Japanese youth, as well as participate in volunteer activities in Fukuoka. They will have plenty of chance to get acquainted with Japanese history, culture, and geography during their two-week stay.

    Related Information (Japan-Asia Relations)
  8. Dispatch of a mission on anti-piracy to Southeast Asian nations

    Mr. Yanmazaki: A mission on anti-piracy will be dispatched from 19 September to 26 September to the Republic of the Philippines, Malaysia, the Republic of Singapore, and the Republic of Indonesia. The mission will be led by Deputy Director-General Jun Yokota of the Asian Affairs Bureau and is a follow-up to the April Tokyo meeting of the International Anti-Piracy Conference.

    The survey team is composed of about 15 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Safety Agency, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The team will carry out consultations with the respective governments of these countries on measures for further cooperation and on what mutual assistance is possible in order to cope with this issue of how to counter piracy in the region. Those are all the announcements I wished to make and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Related Information (Piracy)
  9. Question on the reaction of the Government of Japan to court action pursued by so-called comfort women

    Q: I would like to know Japan's reaction regarding the court case filed by 15 Asian women that served as so-called comfort women during the war. They sued filed a suit in a US federal court. Do you have anything to say on this?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I am aware of this matter through press reports, but as we have yet to obtain what the facts are, I will refrain from making any comments.

    Related Information (Women's Issues)
  10. Question on Japan-Iran consultations

    Q: Concerning the Japan-Iran consultations, could you please give more details on that?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I do not have anything to add as I have given the press guidelines that we agreed to give with the Iranian side.

    Of course, in the wider context, we are certainly looking forward to President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan, the dates of which are still being finalized so I cannot yet give you the definite dates. In this important arms control and disarmament area we look forward to continuing these talks.

    I myself had the great pleasure to welcome my counterpart, H.E. Dr. Hamid-Reza Assefi, the spokesperson from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We compared notes on our respective jobs and the tasks that we face. We hope that an exchange of journalists between our two countries can be further promoted. We also agreed to do our best to ensure the success of President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan.

    Q: Do you have plans to discuss the same issue with other countries in the Middle East?

    Mr. Yamazaki: I am not sure with which countries we have bilateral disarmament talks per se. However, the intention with the Iranian Government was that we saw it as mutually beneficial to hold these talks. I will have to check with the regional bureau to see what talks we do have with other countries in that region.

    Related Information (Japan-Iran Relations)
  11. Question on the reaction of the Government of Japan to developments in the hostage situation in the Philippines

    Q: What is the Japanese reaction to the announcement of the Government of the Philippines to raid the site where the hostages are being held?

    Mr. Yamazaki: It is not for me to comment directly on the actions of the Government of the Philippines. We know of the incident through reports in the press and we are now trying to confirm the facts. We cannot make any further comments until we verify what the facts are.

    The Government of Japan denounces any kind of terrorism, in whatever form and wherever it may occur. As the Chair of the G8 we have been very adamant about this, and in our political statements during the G8 you will note that we restated this position.

    Related Information (Japan-Philippines Relations)
  12. Question on interest by Japan in the shinkansen project in the People's Republic of China

    Q: Do you have any information about Japan's interest in the shinkansen project in China? I understand that Japanese leaders have expressed interest in Japanese companies entering the bidding process by the Chinese government.

    Mr. Yamazaki: I do not have nay information at this time It has not been reported recently, I am aware of it, but I have to check what the private sector thinks about it

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
  13. Question on comments by former Defense Minister Kyuma regarding sanctions against the Republic of Iraq

    Q: I read some reports that former Defense Agency official Fumio Kyuma is visiting Iraq with a parliamentary delegation, and he mentioned that sanctions against Iraq should be lifted now, according to the report. I think it was an Iraqi news agency report. Does that mean that Japan is taking the position that sanctions should be lifted now?

    Mr. Yamazkai: I am aware of Fumio Kyuma and his delegation visiting Baghdad, but I will have to check on what reports have come in. Thank you very much.

    Related Information (Japan-Iraq Relations)

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