Press Conference 1 November 2005

  1. 5th Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Economic Directors-General Consultations
  2. Visit to Japan by President Ali Abdullah Saleh of the Republic of Yemen
  3. Japan-Hungary Cooperation Forum
  4. Assistance for "Support for Community Empowerment through Training and Food-for-Work to School Infrastructure in Afghanistan"
  5. Assistance for "Support to the Livelihood Rehabilitation for Conflict Affected People Engaged in Agriculture in North and East Sri-Lanka"
  6. Assistance for "Cassava multiplication, distribution and enhanced coordination of agricultural emergency operations in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda"
  7. Non-project grant aid to the Republic of Rwanda
  8. Postponement of dispatch of Japan's election observers for the United Republic of Tanzania's presidential and parliamentary elections
  9. Questions concerning upcoming plans of newly-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs ASO Taro
  10. Questions concerning the course of foreign policy and diplomacy under Foreign Minister ASO

  1. 5th Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Economic Directors-General Consultations

    Assistant Press Secretary Akira Chiba: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming to today's press conference. Today is the first day of the new month, and it also happens to be the birthday of Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty was born today, and she is 31 years old.

    Today I would like to give some announcements before taking questions. The first announcement concerns the 5th Japan-China-Republic of Korea (ROK) Economic Directors-General Consultations. The 5th Japan-China-ROK Economic Directors-General Consultations will take place tomorrow 2 November in Beijing, People's Republic of China, at the Novotel Peace Hotel. The consultations will be attended on the Japanese side by Director-General Kaoru Ishikawa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and on the ROK side by Director-General for Trade Kim Dong Soo of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the ROK. China will be represented by Deputy Director-General of the Trade Relations Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce Zhang Shaogang of China, as the Director-General position of this bureau is vacant at the moment.

    The three Directors-General will discuss matters such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and similar tasks of the world economy based upon the Action-Strategy on Trilateral Cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK which was agreed upon by the leaders of the three countries in Vientiane last November. They will discuss measures to realize this action-strategy, as well as exchange information concerning Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that are undertaken by the three countries.

    Related Information (Japan-China Relations)
    Related Information (Japan-ROK Relations)

  2. Visit to Japan by President Ali Abdullah Saleh of the Republic of Yemen

    Mr. Chiba: The next announcement concerns the Republic of Yemen. The visit to Japan by President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. President Saleh, accompanied by a suite, will pay a visit to Japan from 6 to 8 November at the invitation of the Government of Japan. During his stay he will pay a state call on his Majesty the Emperor of Japan. President Saleh will also have talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. This will be President Saleh's first visit to Japan since March 1999 when he came on an official working visit. The Government of Japan sincerely welcomes the visit, which will further strengthen the friendly relations existing between Japan and Yemen.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  3. Japan-Hungary Cooperation Forum

    Mr. Chiba: The third concerns Japan's cooperation with the Republic of Hungary. The Japan-Hungary Cooperation Forum will be held tomorrow as well in Budapest. This is the first of such meetings, and the forum will be attended by specialists in fields such as politics, security, economics, culture, science and technology and so on from both sides. This forum is based on the agreement obtained October last year between the leaders of the two countries. They will have annual discussions, and after three sets of such discussions they will present recommendations to the leaders of both countries.

    Related Information (Japan-Hungary Relations)

  4. Assistance for "Support for Community Empowerment through Training and Food-for-Work to School Infrastructure in Afghanistan"

    Mr. Chiba: The next is a series of announcements concerning the Trust Fund for Human Security. For your information, the Trust Fund for Human Security was established in the United Nations Secretariat in March 1999 at the initiative of the Government of Japan. Since then, total contributions have reached approximately 29 billion yen (US$256 million). The Trust Fund has supported projects from more than 130 UN agencies, each one addressing various threats to human life, livelihood, and dignity, from the perspective of human security.

    Here are the three new projects concerning the Human Security Fund. The first one is assistance for "Support for Community Empowerment through Training and Food-for-Work to School Infrastructure in Afghanistan." On 31 October, the Government of Japan and the UN decided to extend assistance totaling US$2.7 million through the Trust Fund for Human Security to a project entitled "Support for Community Empowerment through Training and Food-for-Work to School Infrastructure in Afghanistan" that will be implemented by the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

    This project aims at encouraging communities in Kandahar, Nangahar, and Faryab provinces to participate in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of school classrooms, offices, water and sanitation facilities, and teachers' houses in order to enhance access to adequate and quality primary education facilities. Also, the school assets created by the project will be maintained through the local school maintenance committees, through which members of communities will receive training in building technology and business management.

    This project is expected to increase access to primary education for children in Afghanistan and, in turn, contribute to the reconstruction of the country.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  5. Assistance for "Support to the Livelihood Rehabilitation for Conflict Affected People Engaged in Agriculture in North and East Sri-Lanka"

    Mr. Chiba: The next project concerning human security is assistance to the "Support to the Livelihood Rehabilitation for Conflict Affected People Engaged in Agriculture in North and East Sri-Lanka." On 31 October, the Government of Japan and the UN decided to extend assistance totaling US$1.3 million through the Trust Fund for Human Security to the project "Support to the Livelihood Rehabilitation for Conflict Affected People Engaged in Agriculture in North and East Sri-Lanka." This will be implemented through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN.

    This project aims at supporting former internally displaced people (IDP) as well as other vulnerable groups in the Sri Lankan communities in Ampara, Batticaloa, Kilinochchi, and Trincomalee to reestablish their former livelihood in farming. The major activities are as follows:

    • Strengthening farmers' organizations and implementing empowerment projects for women;
    • Improving physical production infrastructure, including the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities, and its management;
    • Increasing crop productivity through technique and knowledge transfer;
    • Promoting income generating activities including small-scale livestock, inland fisheries, agro-forestry, and agro-processing.

    This project is expected to contribute to rehabilitating the livelihood of IPD returnee families as well as other vulnerable group in Sri Lanka, the success of which may favorably affect the on-going peace process.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  6. Assistance for "Cassava multiplication, distribution and enhanced coordination of agricultural emergency operations in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda"

    Mr. Chiba: The third one is assistance for the "Cassava multiplication, distribution and enhanced coordination of agricultural emergency operations in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda." On the same date, 31 October, the Government of Japan and UN decided to provide US$932,000 through the Trust Fund for Human Security to the "Cassava multiplication, distribution and enhanced coordination of agricultural emergency operations in Rwenzori region of Western Uganda." This will also be implemented through the FAO.

    This project aims at empowering former IDPs in the conflict-affected region of Rwenzori in western Uganda by extending agriculture technologies and inputs for multiplying cassava production. The major activities are as follows:

    • Assisting local communities in increasing cassava gardens and multiplying cassava production;
    • Extending training in improved cassava production technologies to farmers and relevant local institutions;
    • Creating business opportunities and cash incomes among the participating communities by improving trade in cassava.

    This project is expected to contribute to rehabilitating the livelihood of IDPs in Uganda, as well as to enhance coordination of agricultural rehabilitation in the region.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  7. Non-project grant aid to the Republic of Rwanda

    Mr. Chiba: This last one was for the Republic of Uganda, and there is another project for Africa. This is a non-project grant aid to the Republic of Rwanda. The Government of Japan decided to provide US$3.7 million worth of grant aid to Rwanda, and the exchange of notes was done in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, between Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ichiro Aisawa and Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation Rosemary Museminali of Rwanda. This is a non-project type grant aid aiming to alleviate the situation of poverty in Rwanda. This is done as part of aid toward Africa which was placed by Prime Minister Koizumi last April during the Asia-Africa Summit in the Republic of Indonesia.

    Related Information (Japan-Rwanda Relations)

  8. Postponement of dispatch of Japan's election observers for the United Republic of Tanzania's presidential and parliamentary elections

    Mr. Chiba: Another affair concerning Africa is the postponement of Japanese election observers for the United Republic of Tanzania's presidential and parliamentary elections. The Government of Japan announced before that it will dispatch an election observer team to Tanzania, however, the national election committee of Tanzania has announced that the elections will be postponed until 18 December. Accordingly, the dispatch of our election observers team will also be postponed.

    Related Information (Press Release)

  9. Questions concerning upcoming plans of newly-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro ASO

    Q: Besides Hello Kitty we have the birth of a new Minister for Foreign Affairs. Can you give any details on his recent travels, what are his plans, what is he going to do?

    Mr. Chiba: Yes, as you have pointed out we now have a new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro ASO, who was sworn in last night. As to where he will be traveling, we still have to coordinate within the government, but as to the diplomatic schedule there is a ministerial meeting on the WTO matters scheduled later in December, and of course before that we will have APEC in Pussan, and APEC also has a foreign ministerial meeting. In Malaysia we are going to have the East-Asian Summit, and of course the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)+3, which also involves the foreign ministers of the region. These are the major diplomatic events that will take place this year. As I have said, it is still not decided whether Foreign Minister ASO will attend these meetings, we still have to coordinate these, but we are looking forward to that.

    Q: The same about his plans, what are his plans?

    Mr. Chiba: In terms of his individual, bilateral visits, we still do not have a complete idea on this. But as you can imagine there are many bilateral issues of importance to Japan and we are hoping that the new foreign minister can visit as many countries as possible.

  10. Questions concerning the course of foreign policy and diplomacy under Foreign Minister ASO

    Q: Are you expecting major changes in Japan's foreign policy after the appointment of Foreign Minister ASO?

    Mr. Chiba: Well, policy is carried out not only by the Foreign Minister alone, but also by the entire cabinet under the leadership of Prime Minister Koizumi. The Prime Minister has not changed, and he will continue to lead this government. Of course, Foreign Minister ASO has his own career and his own ideas, but we have yet to decide what sort of style he will employ during his tenure.

    Q: Foreign Minister ASO has been widely portrayed in the media as having a hawkish position, so in this sense could his appointment worsen ties with Asian neighbors such as China, North Korea, and the Republic of Singapore? How do you see his appointment affecting Asian diplomacy?

    Mr. Chiba: I think it is premature to say that his appointment will worsen ties with our Asian friends because he has not done anything yet. As far as foreign affairs are concerned, he does not have much exposure to foreign matters within the government, he was Director of the Foreign Affairs Division of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), but his views as Foreign Minister are yet to be announced.


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