Press Conference 24 June 2003

  1. Upcoming summit talks between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Republic of Indonesia
  2. Questions concerning Prime Minister Koizumi's summit talks with President Megawati
  3. Question concerning Senkaku Islands
  4. Questions concerning Iranian nuclear situation
  5. Questions concerning current situation in Iraq

  1. Upcoming summit talks between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Republic of Indonesia

    Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima: Good afternoon, thank you very much for coming to this briefing. Today I have one piece of information to share with you.

    It is about the visit to Japan by President Megawati Soekarnoputri of the Republic of Indonesia.

    President Megawati arrived in Tokyo on Sunday. Today from 17:30 onward, she will have summit talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Prime Minister's Official Residence. Then, she will attend the signing ceremony of the agreement on the cooperation to combat illegal logging and trade in illegally logged timber and wood products between Japan and Indonesia.

    This document will be signed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi and Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

    Related Information (Visit to Japan of Her Excellency Dr. Megawati Soekarnoputri, President of the Republic of Indonesia, and Mr. Taufik Kiemas)
  2. Questions concerning Prime Minister Koizumi's summit talks with President Megawati

    Q: Regarding your announcement, can you give us a little bit more detail about what the agreement is about and how the two countries can cooperate?

    Mr. Takashima: This document is intended to promote environmental protection in terms of the protection of the tropical forest in Indonesia. In order to achieve that goal, the Governments of Japan and Indonesia have agreed that we should take a further step to stop illegal logging by exchanging information between our two countries on the trade of log and timber products, and also help each other, especially through assistance from Japan to Indonesia, to strengthen the legal framework to prohibit illegal logging and the trade of illegally logged timber and wood products.

    In addition to that, Japan would assist in the training scheme of the officials and those who are involved in the enforcement of monitoring and policing of illegal logging in Indonesia. We hope that through this kind of activities, as I have said, the tropical forest will be preserved and protected from illegal logging activities and would contribute to maintaining a better environment.

    Q: Is there any amount that has been decided on in terms of assistance from Japan to Indonesia?

    Mr. Takashima: At this time, although the meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Megawati is scheduled in about three hours from now, I do not expect there to be any sort of announcement on any detailed agreement on assistance from Japan to Indonesia in addition to existing ones. Rather, this meeting will be focused on the exchange of views and exchange of some ideas for a concrete action plan.

    The main theme of this meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Megawati can be divided into three parts. The main thrust of the discussion will be firstly, promotion of the reform process and to attain prosperity through various existing assistance from Japan. One of the main targets of this part of the discussions will be to achieve the smooth graduation of Indonesia from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program which was established at the time of the financial crisis in that country.

    Secondly, the talks will focus on the cooperation on the realization of a stable Asia. That means that, jointly, Japan and Indonesia will cooperate with each other to promote peace and stability in Asia, and this part of the discussions will certainly touch upon the situation in Aceh. Prime Minister Koizumi is expected to express Japan's strong wish to see that the Aceh issue will be resolved through dialogue, and also that the human sufferings and violation of human rights in Aceh will be minimized. He is expected to urge President Megawati to make utmost efforts to bring about a peaceful solution of the issues in Aceh, while of course expressing the Japanese basic view that we respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Indonesia.

    Thirdly, the talks between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Megawati will touch upon the cooperation for future development. This means that the two leaders would discuss further effort to promote activities for the Japan-ASEAN Exchange programs. Through these kinds of events, the relations between Japan and Indonesia as well as between Japan and countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be further promoted. At the same time, under this theme of future cooperation, Japan and Indonesia would be agreeing on cooperation on tourism to increase the number of tourist exchange between our two countries. Furthermore, Japan would ask for Indonesia's cooperation for the successful holding of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III), which is scheduled to be held in Tokyo in September.

    So those are the outlines of the meeting between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Megawati, but since the meeting is going to be held shortly, there might very well be further developments to the discussions.

    Q: Can I just make sure, is the joint statement going to be held at the Prime Minister's Official Residence?

    Mr. Takashima: Yes.

    Q: What time will that be about?

    Mr. Takashima: The summit talks will start from 17:30.

    Q: Following up on some of your points there, you said that Prime Minister Koizumi will strongly urge that the Aceh issues are resolved through dialogue. Will he therefore be urging that Indonesian military operations in Aceh are suspended?

    Mr. Takashima: I do not expect that Prime Minister Koizumi will go into details of the things happening in Aceh, but he will touch upon them in general terms. However, he would also express sort of regret and disappointment that the Aceh talks held in Tokyo could not achieve the peace through dialogue. He would offer Japan's good office to resolve this issue if the Government of Indonesia so desires.

    Q: Will the two leaders be talking in any sense, even in the most general sense, about a future free trade agreement (FTA)?

    Mr. Takashima: It is something that remains to be seen, but I expect that they will discuss a kind of preliminary exploration of the possibility of what we call an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between our two countries. If it so develops, this issue will be included in the joint statement, which will be issued after the meeting.

    Q: Will they be touching upon North Korea?

    Mr. Takashima: I expect that Prime Minister Koizumi will raise that issue, especially the North Korea nuclear development program and the abduction cases because those two are the main concern of the Government of Japan at the moment. Moreover, these issues were brought up during the course of the discussions at the ASEAN Meeting held in Phnom Penh last week. Therefore, I expect that Prime Minister Koizumi will raise these issues again with President Megawati and ask for her cooperation to resolve these two issues diplomatically and peacefully. Since Indonesia has diplomatic relations with North Korea, we strongly hope that Indonesia will utilize their channels to convey the Japanese wish as I described.

    Q: What about the subject of terrorism? Will that come up?

    Mr. Takashima: Terrorism is another major concern not only for Japan and Indonesia but other countries as well. As far as terrorism is concerned, they will discuss it thoroughly and I am expecting to have some sort of joint announcement of cooperation between our two countries to combat international terrorism after this meeting.

    Q: What time do you think we might see those?

    Mr. Takashima: The meeting will last about one hour followed by the signing ceremony on the anti-illegal logging document. After that will be the release of a joint statement.

    Q: So probably around seven o'clock?

    Mr. Takashima: Probably, yes.

    Q: Is there going to be a joint press conference?

    Mr. Takashima: I do not think so. There will be an announcement and the Prime Minister is hosting a dinner immediately after the meeting and signing ceremony, so there will not be time for a press conference.

    Q: So press will not be able to attend that except for the photo sessions and such?

    Mr. Takashima: There will be a briefing by officials.

    Q: For foreign or Japanese press?

    Mr. Takashima: There will be a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for members of the Kasumi Club. If you are interested in attending it, please let the International Press Division know. Please note that it will be conducted only in Japanese.

    Related Information ("ASEAN-Japan Exchange Year 2003")
    Related Information (Japan-North Korea Relations)
  3. Question concerning Senkaku Islands

    Q: Yesterday, there was an attempt by protestors or some group from China and Hong Kong to land on the Senkaku Islands using a small fishing vessel, I believe. What is your reaction to this?

    Mr. Takashima: My understanding is that that vessel did not reach the Islands themselves and nobody got onshore. However, it did violate Japanese territorial waters and we do believe that this is a clear violation. Therefore, the Japanese Coast Guard took appropriate action to send them out of Japanese territorial waters. At the same time, we seek cooperation from the authorities in the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region because this kind of thing should not happen.

    Q: According to a press report, this incident occurred with the knowledge and permission of the Chinese Government itself. Can you comment on this?

    Mr. Takashima: We do not have any comment on the question whether this incident happened under the auspices of the Chinese authorities. I can only say that this was a clear violation of Japanese territorial waters and we would not like to see this kind of incident happen again. For this, we seek the cooperation from the authorities in Hong Kong and China.

    Related Information (Basic View on Senkaku 1972)
  4. Questions concerning Iranian nuclear situation

    Q: I read the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Iran's nuclear program. Do you have any update on your position regarding this issue?

    Mr. Takashima: We are urging the Government of Iran to abide by all its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). At the same time, we are encouraging them to sign and ratify the additional document on the NPT, which would allow the IAEA to conduct spontaneous, non-scheduled inspections on the nuclear sites in Iran. So this is the basic stance of the Government of Japan and I do not have anything to add to that.

    Q: It seems that this is following up American policy against the so-called axis of evil that started with Iraq, then North Korea and now Iran. It sounds like Japan is following the same countries. Does that mean that you are restricting your anti-nuclear policies to the countries that are targeted by the United States?

    Mr. Takashima: The International Atomic Energy Agency recently issued a report identifying Iran as a nation which at least has performed some sort of matter of concern in terms of agreement between the IAEA member or signing countries. Therefore, as a member of the IAEA and of the NPT arrangement, we urge Iran to comply with all the commitments that they have made with those international schemes and to sign and ratify an additional protocol. That is the basic stance of the Government of Japan and is based upon the report of the IAEA.

    Q: Is it in the interest of the Government of Japan to ask the nuclear countries to do something about their nuclear arsenals?

    Mr. Takashima: Every year we propose and get approval from the United Nations General Assembly of a non-nuclear resolution and we urge all countries in the world to abolish their nuclear arsenals in order to make this Earth safer and a better place to live.

    Related Information (Statement by the Press Secretary/Director-General for Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the Chairwoman's Summing-up Statement of the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting Concerning the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement )
  5. Questions concerning current situation in Iraq

    Q: There is some mission from the Government of Japan in Iraq now. Do you an update on their activities there?

    Mr. Takashima: There are Japanese delegations as well as officials in Iraq doing some surveys on the situation in Iraq in conjunction with the debate at the Diet on the so-called Iraqi new law. They are monitoring the situation especially in terms of security in the streets, and in towns and rural areas. In addition, they are doing some research and study on the necessity of Japanese assistance.

    Q: What is the Japanese basic position toward the American current occupation of Iraq?

    Mr. Takashima: We understand that they are doing their utmost effort to stabilize the situation in Iraq and are conducting additional activities to find the weapons of mass destruction in the country. We hope that they are successful in both those endeavors.

    Q: There were some reports about attacks against the American forces there. Are you aware of this and does that affect your policy of sending Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to that region?

    Mr. Takashima: According to the report we received from our embassy in Baghdad and also from the survey teams, the security situation in Iraq has been improved greatly during the last few weeks. According to those reports, there have been some spontaneous incidents of shooting or exchange of fire between American forces and unknown groups. These incidents are the major concern of the American and British forces and of those who are involved in humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for the people of Iraq. We hope that this situation will be improved by the efforts of not only the coalition forces but also through those of the international community.

    Related Information (The Issue of Iraq)

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